Radical ESSEX




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Current Past




‘The Cradle of British Modernism? Essex Architecture, the Interwar Years and Post-war Legacy’ with Catherine Croft, Elizabeth Darling, Alan Powers and Ellen Thorogood

Can Essex claim to be the ‘birthplace’ of Modernist architecture in Britain? If so, what evidence is there to suggest this and what roles have building projects such as Silver End and Bata, East Tilbury played in this wider narrative? The aim of this session is to discuss the somewhat overlooked architectural history of Essex in relation to both the International Style prevalent during the interwar years and architectural developments of the postwar period. The session will explore how architectural developments from the continent and the United States influenced Britain’s architectural projects, forming a trajectory between local contexts and international trends.

In this discussion, Catherine Croft, Elizabeth Darling, Alan Powers and Ellen Thorogood touch upon architect Wells Coates and his involvement with EKCO, the British radio company based in Southend-on-Sea; the worker villages of Silver End and Bata, East Tilbury as well as architect Raymond Erith and his work in the village of Dedham. Significant Modernist buildings such as the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club at Burnham-on-Crouch, Britain’s contribution to MoMA’s International Exhibition of Modern Architecture in 1932, will further bring Essex’s significance within British Modernist architecture to the fore.

The ESSEX Architecture Weekend talks programme is curated by Warren Harper and Stephanie Sutton. A subtitled version will be available soon.

Silver End Village Hall, Silver End, Witham, CM8 3RQ
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Radical Essex is a project re-examining the county in relation to radicalism in thought, lifestyle, politics and architecture. A programme of events will take place across Essex throughout 2016 and 2017, shedding light on the vibrant, pioneering thinking of the late 19th and 20th centuries. The project will celebrate the crucial role Essex has played in the history of British Modernism and its utopian ideologies under the themes ‘The Modernist County’ and ‘Arcadia for All’.

The Radical Essex site is designed by Fraser Muggeridge studio and Alex Rich, developed by Twelve.

Radical Essex is led by Focal Point Gallery in collaboration with Visit Essex and Firstsite. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England it forms part of the country wide Cultural Destinations programme, a partnership with VisitEngland, supporting arts organisations to work with the tourism sector to deliver projects that maximise the impact culture has on local economies.

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If you are a business or arts organisation interested to be involved in the project or learn more information, please contact us here

We gratefully acknowledge the support of our project partners: