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Elisabeth Benjamin's design for a house, Buckinghamshire, 1936

Elisabeth Benjamins design for a house Buckinghamshire 1936

East Wall, a Modernist house inspired by St George and the Dragon, was designed by a female architect whose career was cut short.

East Wall, also known as the St George & Dragon House, was an early example of reinforced concrete in domestic architecture. The Dragon is the bare curved brick wall that snakes through the middle of the house with St George the white concrete containing it.

The house was built for Arnold Osorio, a paint manufacturer. The architect, Elisabeth Benjamin, described the project as ‘the ideal job’ and Osorio as a wonderful client, who gave her free rein telling her ‘I’ve seen your other work and I like it and I know it will be a better thing if I don’t interfere.’

Benjamin studied at the Architectural Association in the 1920s. Her architectural career was cut short by motherhood and the Second World War, although she continued to do design work for St Austell Brewery and work for friends.

Image: Drawing showing plans, sections and elevations for East Wall (St George & Dragon House), Hedgerley Lane, Gerrard's Cross, Buckinghamshire, England, 1936; image from RIBApix (number RIBA69017)
Architect: Elisabeth Benjamin (1908-1999) and Godfrey Herbert Samuel (1904-1982)
Credit: RIBA Collections

Article by Cathy Wilson, RIBA
22 April 2016

Discover more

This is just one of over four million items in our world-class architectural collections at the RIBA Library – it's open to everyone and access is free. Visit the library to explore our collections of books, periodicals, drawings, photographs and models:

  1. Book
    Powers, A., 2005.
    'Modern: The Modern Movement in Britain'
    London: Merrell
    Shelved at 72.036.6(41/42) // POW [Reference]
  2. Book
    Walker, L. ed., 1984.
    'Women Architects: Their Work'
    London: Sorella Press
    Shelved at 72-055.2(41/42)(064) // WOM [Reference]
  3. Book
    Yorke, F. R. S., 1937.
    'The Modern House in England'
    London: Architectural Press
    Shelved at 728.036.6(42) // YOR [Special Collection]
  4. Drawings
    Collection of design and working drawings by Elisabeth Benjamin (1908-1999) for East Wall, 1936
    Call/Ref. no. BENJAMIN [PA909/8(1-8): Located at the V&A]

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