The Lawn Road Flats: Spies, Writers and Artists

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The Lawn Road Flats: Spies, Writers and Artists

Format:  Hardcover,

271 pages

Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Inc

Publish Date: Mar 2014

ISBN-13: 9781843837831

ISBN-10: 1843837838

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The following content was provided by the publisher.
The Isokon building, Lawn Road Flats, in Belsize Park on Hampstead's lower slopes, is a remarkable building. The first modernist building in Britain to use reinforced concrete and architecture, its construction demanded new building techniques. But the building was as remarkable for those who took up residence there as for the application of revolutionary building techniques. There were 32 Flats in all, and they became a haunt of some of the most prominent Soviet agents working against Britain in the 1930s and 40s, among them Arnold Deutsch, the controller of the group of Cambridge spies who came to be known as the "Magnificent Five" after the Western movie The Magnificent Seven; the photographer Edith Tudor-Hart; and Melita Norwood, the longest-serving Soviet spy in British espionage history. However, it wasn't only spies who were attracted to the Lawn Road Flats, the Bauhaus exiles Walter Gropius, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Marcel Breuer; the pre-historian Gordon Vere Childe; and the poet (and Bletchley Park intelligence officer) Charles Brasch all made their way there. A number of British artists, sculptors and writers were also drawn to the Flats, among them the sculptor and painter Henry Moore; the novelist Nicholas Monsarrat; and the crime writer Agatha Christie, who wrote her only spy novel N or M? in the Flats. The Isokon building boasted its own restaurant and dining club, where many of the Flats' most famous residents rubbed shoulders with some of the most dangerous communist spies ever to operate in Britain. Agatha Christie often said that she invented her characters from what she observed going on around her. With the Kuczynskis - probably the most successful family of spies in the history of espionage - in residence, she would have had plenty of material. DAVID BURKE is a historian of intelligence and international relations and author of The Spy Who Came In From the Co-op: Melita Norwood and the Ending of Cold War Espionage/ (The Boydell Press, 2009).

Specifications

Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Inc
Publish Date: Mar 2014
ISBN-13: 9781843837831
ISBN-10: 1843837838
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 271
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.85
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.25 x 9.25 x 1.0

Book description

The Isokon building, Lawn Road Flats, in Belsize Park on Hampstead's lower slopes, is a remarkable building. The first modernist building in Britain to use reinforced concrete and architecture, its construction demanded new building techniques. But the building was as remarkable for those who took up residence there as for the application of revolutionary building techniques. There were 32 Flats in all, and they became a haunt of some of the most prominent Soviet agents working against Britain in the 1930s and 40s, among them Arnold Deutsch, the controller of the group of Cambridge spies who came to be known as the "Magnificent Five" after the Western movie The Magnificent Seven; the photographer Edith Tudor-Hart; and Melita Norwood, the longest-serving Soviet spy in British espionage history.

However, it wasn't only spies who were attracted to the Lawn Road Flats, the Bauhaus exiles Walter Gropius, László Moholy-Nagy and Marcel Breuer; the pre-historian Gordon Vere Childe; and the poet (and Bletchley Park intelligence officer). Charles Brasch all made their way there. A number of British artists, sculptors and writers were also drawn to the Flats, among them the sculptor and painter Henry Moore; the novelist Nicholas Monsarrat; and the crime writer Agatha Christie, who wrote her only spy novel N or M? in the Flats.

The Isokon building boasted its own restaurant and dining club, where many of the Flats' most famous residents rubbed shoulders with some of the most dangerous communist spies ever to operate in Britain. Agatha Christie often said that she invented her characters from what she observed going on around her. With the Kuczynskis - probably the most successful family of spies in the history of espionage - in residence, she would have had plenty of material.

DAVID BURKEis a historian of intelligence and international relations and author of The Spy Who Came In From the Co-op: Melita Norwood and the Ending of Cold War Espionage/ (The Boydell Press, 2009).

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