Dial House, Essex
Dial House is a farm cottage situated in south-west Essex, England that has been a self-sustaining anarcho-pacifist open house since 1967. The house is located in the countryside of Epping Forest in Ongar Great Park. It has been used as a base for a number of cultural, artistic, and political projects ranging from avant-garde jazz events to helping found the free festival movement.
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 a mainstream which they considered to be built on foundations of war, religion, and consumerism.
Dial House, a large rambling farm cottage, was built in the 16th century. Oliver Rackham describes Ongar Great Park as possibly having been the "prototype deer park", mentioned in an "Anglo-Saxon will of 1045". During the Victorian era, Dial House was the home of the writer Primrose McConnell, a tenant farmer and the author of The Agricultural Notebook (1883), which is recognised as a standard reference work for the European farming industry. By 1967 Dial House stood derelict, its acre of garden a bramble-smothered wilderness. Dial House is Grade II listed on the National Heritage List for England.
In 1967, former drummer of Crass Penny Rimbaud began using Dial House as an open space, removing doors and inviting friends to stay in the cottage. Rimbaud moved into the house with Gee Vaucher and established the open-house policy that continues as of May 2023[update]. Dial House became the site of organizing for the anarchist movement, including the Stonehenge Free Festival.
- ^ "The story of ex-punks trying to save their rural cottage | The Guardian | guardian.co.uk". www.theguardian.com. Retrieved 29 May 2023.
- ^ Rackham, Oliver; Woodlands, Collins, 2006, ISBN 0-00-720244-X
- ^ Historic England, "Dial House (1306769)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 9 May 2017
- ^ Sword, Harry (1 June 2016). "Essex Has a Much More Radical History Than You'd Think". Vice. Retrieved 29 May 2023.
- ^ "Crass' Penny Rimbaud is still resisting the grip of authority". Crack Magazine. Retrieved 29 May 2023.