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New House, Hampstead: contemporary 1939 take on traditional materials

Valeria Carullo

A sad story lies behind New House in Hampstead, one of the last built works of Samuel & Harding, former members of Tecton, whose partnership ended with the Second World War

Credit: Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Collections

New House
Hampstead, London, 1939

New House in Hampstead, completed in 1939, was one of the last few realised projects of the partnership Samuel & Harding, and one of those that marked a departure from the modernist ‘white box’ to propose a contemporary take on the use of traditional materials such as brickwork. Contrasting with the simplicity of the north elevation, whose main characteristic is the glass brick wall that gives both light and privacy to the living room, the south facade has ample fenestration, opening up the house to the garden which can be reached via a staircase from the first-floor balcony.

Godfrey Samuel (1904-1982) and Val Harding (1905-1940), both previously members of Tecton, had been in partnership since 1936. When war broke out in September 1939 Samuel was given a job at the War Office while Harding was soon in active service; sent to the front, he was killed in action in May 1940. Samuel, who had by then closed the practice, was deeply affected by the death of his partner. After the war he became Secretary of the Royal Fine Art Commission.