‘Period property in sought-after area’: 2,500 years of Digging and building at St George’s Hill

Alessandro Zambelli*

*Corresponding author for this work

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In 2011, on a peri-urban plot in Surrey in the UK, a then newly built house, Ravenridge, was put on sale for £14,750,000. Above the house, whose architecture was described by the Mail on Sunday as ‘an unthreatening kind of bloated Georgian’, and inaccessible to outsiders since the gating of St. George's Hill on which it stands, hulk the eroded ramparts of an Iron Age hillfort. Ravenridge also happens to occupy part of the likely site of the first ‘Digger’ community established in 1649 by a group of local men and women led by Gerard Winstanley and William Everard on what was then the common land of Walton-on-Thames. Co-present on the Hill, three ostensibly unlike dwelling types — the visible yet inaccessible gated mansion, the ruined and hidden hillfort, and the only guessed-at squatter's hut — ‘stand’, spatially united, but uncoupled in time. The temporal slippage of this gated landscape of architectural co-presence — between the ruin and the commons, and between the Iron Age and the ‘age of surveillance’ — offers an opportunity for and provides a reflection of an elusive yet critical notion of architectural ‘commons’. A commons which, at its heart, is nothing less than a manifestation of spatial justice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-30
JournalThe Journal of Architecture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2023


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