SPAN in the News

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50 years of New Ash Green - ‘Time it was and what a time it Was! ’

An audio-visual history of New Ash Green during the 1960s and 1970s.


A mere four months after the release of The Beatles ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club AVBand’ in 1967, New Ash Green was officially launched at an event organised by Span attended by architect of the Village-Eric Lyons and guest speaker-Sir Keith Joseph. To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of this historic occasion Patrick Ellard-Span expert, New Ash Green historian and long-term resident will premiere an audio-visual history of the Village placing a focus upon the 1960s and 1970s. Positioning New Ash Green within the wider context of sport, politics, film, television and fashion of the period, this audio-visual narrative will firstly look at the original design and concept behind New Ash Green-Span’s ‘Latter 20th Century Village in Kent’. Patrick’s account will then trace the emergence of the early community in New Ash Green and reference many of its organisations, clubs and societies that were formed by residents during the 60s and 70s.

As a means of unlocking the memories, a combination of images (many never seen before) will be accompanied by music from the charts, television shows and film soundtracks from the 60s and 70s. Forming a celebration of community life, if you lived in the Village during this period- you could be one of the stars of the show! As an ‘immersive’ experience, ‘Time it was and what a time it Was!’ will allow you to relive the sight and sounds of the 60s and 70s as we board the New Ash Green time machine and travel back to an era of excitement, optimism, community, friendship, amazing fashions and music, incredible village days on the Minnis, countless morris men, ‘Dancing in the Street’ parties and those long hot summers that never seemed to end!

“Having been some days in preparation, a splendid time is guaranteed for all” as somebody once said! see pdf.

Neighbourhoods by Sam Hickman.

To help celebrate 50 years of New Ash Green local artist Sam Hickman has created a papercut typography version of the New Ash Green Neighbourhood plan. Giclee prints taken from the original papercut sized 30 x 30cm are available to buy at £40 each Email Sam

The Telegraph - Property May 2015

Span housing features in the Telegraphs Weekend property page. See pdf

BBC 2 Great Interior Design Challenge - Ashstead Surrey - March 2014

Architectural historian Tom Dyckhoff discovers the history of these unique Span Developments homes and the architect behind the utopian vision of his estate, as judges Sophie and Daniel decide who has the winning design. Read More

Concretopia - Faber & Faber - 2014

Span Kent researcher and author Patrick Ellard’s childhood is featured in a chapter of John Gindrods book published by Faber & Faber in 2014. You can find out more about the book by visiting John’s fascinating blog site Dirty Modern Scoundrel or by buying the book!

Eric Lyons & Span: RIBA Book & Exhibition 2006

This first ever exhibition on the ground-breaking work of Eric Lyons and Span celebrates the achievement of Eric Lyons in the design of buildings and in their integration with their surroundings.

Publicly recognised by many awards and also within his profession by his election as President of the RIBA 1975-77, the exhibition and accompanying full-colour book, based on original drawings, models and photographs, will be a showcase for Lyons’s working life of nearly fifty years.

In a period of expanding house building the event will be a timely evaluation of a past example relevant to today’s housing needs.

The accompanying full-colour publication is for all those interested in later 20th century architecture, interior design and gardens.

Get your copy of the book >>

Original Architect of New Ash Green dies - March 15 2007

Born in Orpington, Kent in 1928, Ivor joined Eric Lyons and Partners in 1955 after completing his training in both architecture and landscape design. Historian Neil Bingham neatly describes Ivor's role in the practice in the recently published book 'Eric Lyons and Span'‚ Ivor Cunningham not only became the principle landscape specialist in the firm, but closest to Lyons of all his working colleagues. They came to share an office where they were often to be found working together hunched over the same drawing board, their ideas flowing fast, playing off each other, running their 6B or charcoal pencils across the board in tandem, knowing intuitively where the line would end'. Working in this manner Ivor and Eric produced a basic plan for New Ash Green in 1962.

After planning permission had been received in 1964, Ivor and Eric designed New Ash Green's early neighbourhoods and the first phases of both the Shopping Centre and School. Underpinning Ivor's approach was his belief in the 'total landscape concept'‚ where a thoughtful consideration of the relationship between the buildings and open spaces would facilitate a more interesting and diverse environment. In 1963 Ivor was promoted to partner in the practice, becoming senior partner after the death of Eric Lyons in 1980.

I first met Ivor in the Summer of 1997 when I went to interview him for a book I was hoping to write about the work of Eric Lyons and Span. By chance Ivor had embarked on a similar project a few years earlier. We later discovered there was a third party, Barbara Simms who was also looking to produce a book on Span. It seemed sensible to pool our resources and later recruit other leading historians and architects to work on a more ambitious project which would result in a book and related exhibition.

It was during this period that I really got to know Ivor. I was not only impressed by the breadth of his knowledge but the zest and unflagging enthusiasm he brought to the project. The result was a rather splendid book published in November 2006 (in which I wrote the chapter on New Ash Green). The exhibition proved to be amongst the best attended to be held at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London and due to popular demand the exhibition was actually extended into February, 2007! As an architectural publication, the book has proved to be a best seller. In terms of hard back sales it is only behind Harry Potter in the Village Bookshop!

The church in East Molesey was full for Ivor's funeral service on the 26th of March. During the speeches I learnt that Ivor's father had died when he was only three and how consequently Eric Lyons had almost become a father figure to him. It was recalled how Ivor, who only lived ten minutes walk away from the Lyons studio, would often return after his evening meal to continue working into the small hours. After the service I spoke with one of Eric Lyon's sons who believed that it was Ivor's determination to see the book and exhibition through to completion that kept him going during the last months of his life.

The success of the book and exhibition are testament not only to popularity of the work of Eric Lyons and Span amongst the architectural profession and general public, but also testament to the significant contribution of Ivor Cunningham.

New Ash Green in Grand Designs Magazine - 2005

Grand Designs magazine featured Span in their march 2005 issue. Over 20 pages that covered a history of span housing and properties in Blackheath and Parklese they also featured our bungalow in New Ash Green you can read all about us by downloading the pdf below:

The Grand Designs (pdf 1.5 MB)

Exhibition at Margaret Howell 2005

Designer Margaret Howell hosted a exhibition on Span architecture in conjunction with London Open House at her store in London. The exhibition opened on 15th September 2005 at Margaret Howell, 34 Wigmore Street, London W1U 2RS

The Guardian - Let’s move to New Ash Green - Nov 2004

Architectural historian Tom Dykoff (also of BBC2’s the Cuture Show and The Great Interior Design Challenge) visited New Ash Green for the Guardains popular property column! Read more on the Guardian website.

Span website links

Templemere Lovely site with lots of information on the community and history

Westfield Ashtead Great site with extensive photo archive of constuction

Weymede Residents Association A mixture of Span history and local news for residents of this large estate in Brooklands.

Fieldend Informative site. Fieldend celebrated its 50th birthday in 2010.

Marsham Lodge is one of only two Span estates in Buckinghamshire.

The Priory Blackheath Website for the residents of the Priory

Tim Crocker Photographer Wonderful images from the photographer of the Eric Lyons & Span book

Friend of New Ash Green Village Centre Website for a group of New Ash Green residents who have an interest in the past history of the centre and also its future development.

Midcentury modern design: The Guide to Modern Retro