Trevor Dannatt: St Mary’s Grove — Stone Head & Slab

Adrian Dannatt

A carved stone head by Theo Crosby, given as a moving-in gift back in the mid-fifties and much weathered ever since, amongst the bosky foothills of the front steps. For aesthetic law insists that ‘outdoor’ sculpture must be shown as such and allowed to return to nature, obeying its original intention; maybe not a ‘necessary’ Monument but one which serves as a hidden marker of the entrance to the house and the era of my parents’ arrival.

The strong slab announcing the stairs, over which contemporary fetishists of ‘Brutalism’—a term my father refused to ever accept—might well fantasise. Suffice to say that right after this distinctive block was laid down, Victor Pasmore came to dinner, having in that very same year (1955) been appointed Consulting Director of Architectural Design for Peterlee, and he continued to visit, to tread these steps, until his Apollo Pavilion was finally completed in 1969.

This is the third part of Adrian Dannatt’s series of reflections on his family home, frequently remodelled and extended over 45 years from 1955, by his father, the architect Trevor Dannatt. Read the introduction to the series, here.