Luggers Hall, Broadway

Luggers Hall (formerly Luggershill)

Luggers Hall, Springfield Lane, was built in 1911 for the Broadway Colony artist and landscape designer Alfred Parsons (1847-1920). Parsons chose Scottish architect Andrew Noble Prentice FRIBA, to design the house for him. Prentice was well know for his work in and around Broadway having designed several prominent buildings and extensions. These amongst others include; a music room at Court Farm House (c1899), Orchard Farmhouse (c1905), Willersey House (1907), Barn House (1908), Buckland Manor (1910), Abbot’s Grange (1911) and later the Lifford Memorial Hall in 1915.

A close friendship between Parsons and the American artist Francis Davis ‘Frank’ Millet began when Parsons, Millet and the painter, Edwin Austin Abbey RA, lived together at 54 Bedford Gardens, London. The Broadway connection was cemented by regular visits from Mary Anderson de Navarro of Court Farm, a famous actress at the time. In the mid 1880s, Millet and Parsons moved to Broadway and Millet rented Farnham House, overlooking the green in the heart of the village. In 1896 Parsons designed the gardens at Court Farm and he also designed the gardens for Mr & Mrs Rees Price at Bannits, Church Street.

Around 1904 Alfred Parsons purchased the land on which Luggershill was built from his close friend Millet, who by then had moved to Russell House. Andrew Prentice having been appointed to design the house departed from his usual architectural detailing which has been compared to the Arts and Craft style of Lutyens, with tall chimneys, mullioned windows, traditional construction and handcrafted details. Luggershill is often quoted as being an Arts and Craft building but it is not. There is very little influence from this movement which was by the early 1900s coming to an end. The style of Luggershill is confusing, it is more Neo-Classical with Georgian all bar windows letting in plenty of light (as would be expected for a working artist).

The influence of Prentice on the house, however, is evident with its preponderance of tall chimneys and use of his typical staircase design which appears in several of his earlier buildings. Consistent with the area the Prentice chose local Cotswold stone from Guiting Power and a local natural stone on the roof. The design layout is simple using a ‘Z’ shape plan incorporating a large painters studio lit by a substantial north light window, together with sitting room, dining room, kitchen with scullery, and service rooms on the northern side. Although the design does not have the romanic details of many of the houses in the area it does enjoy a delightfully light interior with a near perfect floor plan for raising a family even today.

Parsons was successful both as an artist and landscape designer. He included in Luggers Hill a servants’ flat on the second floor with its own entrance and staircase. The original servants’ call system is still in place with bell pushes in all the principal rooms. Externally, Parsons created at Luggershill several small gardens incorporating a number of his well know design features. The original nut walk created from hazelnut trees and the curved stone colonnade across from the house on the same central axis are still in tact. The walled vegetable garden has gone and now contains a central fountain and rose garden. The parterre garden has also been re-configured in more recent times and the influence of Parsons’ favourite colours in the garden exist to this day with a preponderance of pinks, blues and yellows.

Restrictive covenants imposed by Parsons in the house deeds remove the rights to extend the house and Luggershill remains little altered since it was first built in 1911.