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Thatched Roofs

1089 of 1157 nominations


Thatched Roofs

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Thatched Roofs

Henry James thought the thatched roof represented “unmitigated England”, which we take to have been a compliment, evoking as it does the archetypal rural scene of straw-covered cottages clustered about the village duckpond. Thatch is the oldest form of roofing to have been practised in the British Isles, and once looked in danger of dying out. A thatching revival is under way, however, with new thatched houses being built, as well as the old ones – the majority of which are listed buildings – needing to be maintained. Long straw, combed wheat reed and water reed are the three materials still in use today. It’s the first of these that gives the much-loved shaggy look, like a building that is overdue a haircut. Probably what we find most attractive about thatching is that it makes for a softer, more mouldable form of roofing, giving half-timbered cottages the length and breadth of the country that indisputably cuddly look. Meanwhile, in the big city, awareness of its fire hazard potential is such that, when planning approval was given for the thatched roof on Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, it was the first such roof to be permitted in London since the Great Fire of 1666.


Your comments

Peculiarly English and instantly evocative of the English countryside

Michael Parsons

Universally recognised image of typical English country/village life.
Zbig Odulinski

Sadly England does not own the copyright to thatched cottages, go to Denmark, where there are hundreds of them, including the pretty village of Sletten just north of Copenhagen where almost every house has a thatched roof. Also Mexico has thatched roofs everywhere, known as Palapas.

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My nomination is the garden shed.