Dial House, Essex

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Dial House is a farm cottage situated in south-west Essex, England. The house is located in the countryside of Epping Forest in Ongar Great Park, an area covering five-by-three kilometers. Dial House is an intentional community and the home of the anarcho-punk band Crass.


Dial House was built in the sixteenth century. Oliver Rackham describes Ongar Great Park as possibly having been the "prototype deer park", mentioned in an "Anglo-Saxon will of 1045".[1]

Dial House in summer

During the Victorian era, Dial House was the home of the writer Primrose McConnell, tenant farmer and author of The Agricultural Notebook (1883), recognized as a standard reference work for the European farming industry.

Since 1967, Dial House has been an anarchist-pacifist open house, the base of operations for a number of cultural, artistic, and political projects ranging from avant-garde jazz events to helping found the Free Festival Movement.

The vegetable garden

Perhaps the best-known manifestation of the public face of Dial House was the anarcho-punk band Crass. Following the DIY punk ethic, Crass combined the use of song, film, sound collage, and graphics to launch a critical polemic against mainstream culture which is built on foundations of war, religion, and consumerism.

Crass retired from the public eye in 1984. The band members soon came into conflict with developers who wanted to urbanise the last remaining green belt around London. This struggle came to a head when Crass co-founders Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher bought the Dial House at auction, a decision that left them £100,000 in debt but secured a future for the community at Dial House.


  1. ^ Rackham, Oliver; Woodlands, Collins, 2006, ISBN 0-00-720244-X

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Coordinates: 51°42′44″N 0°11′21″E / 51.7122°N 0.1893°E / 51.7122; 0.1893