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“Trying hard to love it”
Review of High Cross House - CLOSED

High Cross House
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Owner description: Built for William Curry, headmaster of Dartington Hall School, this Modernist gem was commissioned by Leonard Elmhirst and designed by William Lescaze in 1932. The house still evokes the ‘serenity, clarity and a kind of openness’ described by Curry. High Cross is one of Britain’s most celebrated Modern residences, and we are presenting it to the public under our management, working in partnership with the owners of High Cross House, the Dartington Hall Trust until 29 December 2013 when we will be closing the doors of High Cross House to visitors and subsequently ending the lease with the Dartington Hall Trust.In March 2012, we agreed to manage High Cross House as a Trust property on a ten year lease; this included a two-year ‘break-clause’. We took on the house with its indigenous furniture only; the living and dining rooms shown in their original state but the rest of the house as an exhibition area for local artists.Despite hugely raising the profile of High Cross House, visitor figures continue to be below target and therefore are not generating enough income to make it financially sustainable. Experience has shown us that ‘new’ properties normally have high visitor numbers in their opening year due to significant levels of publicity and Member curiosity and drop significantly in subsequent years.Gary Calland, General Manager for the National Trust English Riviera properties said: ‘Although of course we are disappointed at having to take this decision, over 21,000 people came and visited High Cross House in 2012, that’s something we should be proud of. As a charity we must ensure that we do all we can to protect the many properties, coast and countryside we already own and care for’.Vaughan Lindsay Chief Executive of The Dartington Hall Trust said: ’As a Trust we are keen to give the public access to our Estate. Our gardens, in particular, attract many people to explore and experience their beauty. And we wanted to see if opening up High Cross House in partnership with the National Trust could also be successful. Unfortunately, the house has not attracted as many people as had been hoped for and the National Trust have decided they don’t want to continue with the arrangement. We will now be looking at alternative ways we can share this remarkable modernist building.
Reviewed February 16, 2013

I prefer my architecture old to modern but I wanted to see if High Cross could change my mind. I liked the building but I hated the art work. It was a mess, and some just wasn't very good. The building needs to be de-cluttered from it and shown off in all its glory. Furnish how it was and explain more about the architecture and the story. A volunteer told us about the servants' quarter - it was fascinating and something could be made of this piece of social history. Progressive school but still reflecting old values. If you are a NT member it's good value but I wouldn't have paid 'real' money to go in. Cafe was lovely though - and as I say I did like the house. But most of the rooms looked like a store room for clutter.

Thank vicky w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NTEnglishRiviera, Marketing and Communications Officer at High Cross House, responded to this reviewResponded March 18, 2013

Thank you for your review - glad to see that you liked the building. We have been displaying the house as a home for contemporary art - but this is very much part of an ongoing project; we welcome feedback, and will be using it to shape the way the house is presented in the future. At the moment the exhibitions in the house change every three months, so it looks very different now from when you visited.

Do come back and see us again, and I'll pass on your thoughts to the team about furnishing and telling the house's story.

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Reviews (27)
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18 - 22 of 27 reviews

Reviewed November 27, 2012

Very interesting to understand the design of a modern building. Great to see something a bit different in the NT collection.

Thank Triumph5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NTEnglishRiviera, Marketing and Communications Officer at High Cross House, responded to this reviewResponded November 29, 2012

Fantastic that you felt High Cross to be a nice change! Thank you for your feedback.

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Reviewed October 20, 2012

A welcome new direction for the NT into modern buildings of distinctive design. The artwork changes and this is very much a work in progress: but it is the building itself which is the star of the show!

3  Thank TheOmerGiramondo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NTEnglishRiviera, Marketing and Communications Officer at High Cross House, responded to this reviewResponded November 29, 2012

Glad to see you enjoyed your visit to High Cross House. The Modernist house is the star of the show, you're right, it's very special. Hope you visit again soon, new exhibitions will be in place from January.

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Reviewed October 7, 2012

Pleased to discover this newly opened period house through this listing on Tripadvisor. And I agree with most of the preceding comments. I daresay a good deal of the original furniture and furnishings were made for the house. Assembling a fresh collection must be difficult and expensive. As to the apparent incongruous selection of art, I take the point but the house was obviously intended to show off then modern pictures etc and again until more finely tuned acquisitions can be made, the present policy seems to work reasonably well. As my friends said as we looked around, the house looks very much as though it may have been a location for an episode or two of the ITV Poirot series. Should have checked.

3  Thank Jannerbloke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NTEnglishRiviera, Marketing and Communications Officer at High Cross House, responded to this reviewResponded November 29, 2012

Glad to hear that you are pleased to have discovered us. High Cross House is very much an evolving project, so do come back and see us againI don't believe that the house was ever used in Poirot filming - but it would be perfect for it! Thank you for your feedback.

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Reviewed September 3, 2012

Whilst I applaud NT for bringing in different types of buildings and I enjoyed some of the artwork displayed (Dick Bixby and Get Clobbered), it would be really good if they had more furniture of the 30's in the rooms to enhance the feeling of that time.

4  Thank ANN K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NTEnglishRiviera, Marketing and Visitor Experience Intern at High Cross House, responded to this reviewResponded September 24, 2012

Thank you and good to hear that you enjoyed some of the art work by Dick Bixby and Get Clobbered. We appreciate your comments for some more period furniture, please do come and visit us again soon.

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