by Chris Moxey
For several years I’ve been visiting Beachlands, on the Sussex coast, and photographing its tiny houses. Though I’m happy when I get a good shot it was never about the creative side of photography for me but more about recording the architecture and attempting to encapsulate the feelings I had when I was there. It’s a strange place; it feels homely and yet has a desolate side. Some days you can wander around for hours without seeing a soul.
The most notable of these are the group of tiny ‘oyster bungalows’ – said to be of Swedish design – and a delightful antithesis to the brick-built terraces of the city where I’ve spent most of my adult life. I fell for their charms immediately.
Built in the 1930s by builders Martin and Saunders, Beachlands was a well-planned estate, cleverly laid out and providing pleasant vistas of the surrounding area and seclusion for those that wanted it. All had lovely large windows allowing the light to flow in. Moderately priced, they offered a home by the seaside.
The intervention of war meant that building was curtailed for some time but this recommenced in 1953 when 290 more properties were built. They were so popular that most were sold before building had even commenced. Some of the designs were considered suitable only for weekend and holiday retreats – yet today many of these are permanent homes.
On the theme of HOME, Winter 2011