This is a traditional thatch-roofed English house. It and it’s craft are disappearing unfortunately.
A few nights ago, the director of the Summer School brought us to have dinner at her friends house in Orwell, a village in Cambridge I think. We at in the lawn around the camp fire. It was a very nice house and a huge, huge garden that had its chicken coop, edible garden, pool, a croquet section among other things. All humble in size but spacious overall. The owner an architect and his wife an interior designer. They maintain the garden themselves with occasional help from friends.
Next to that house is the one you see in the picture. I spoke to my host about his neighbours’ house.
The roof is made of straw, and sometimes other materials. It is expensive to make as nowadays, as there’s a lesser supply of straw and an erratic demand. Secondly, in the summer where some burning may take place roofs like these are in high risk of catching fire. Thirdly, and also a result of the previous point, housing insurance is very high much so that some people sell their homes as they begin to not be able to afford insurance cost.
Furthermore, due to the recession, craftsmen and builders left the industry, thus making building buildings even more expensive, let alone one with thatched roof. When people leave the industry, they are reluctant to return fearing the risks. This means that the craft and knowledge of making such roofs begin to disappear. In the 1920s there was a revival for arts and crafts where some people started making homes with thatched roofs but that was that.
Note: mismanagement of economy / recession, do not just cause loss of jobs but also of knowledge, craft and history.
In Malaysia, despite the growing number of educated people, we still build homes using designs and materials that make it necessary for us to install air-conditioning units despite available traditional designs that leverage on cross breezes and manage heat flow effortlessly. We celebrate more oil palm fields for the economy using technological farming methods, not realizing that removing rainforest trees degrades the soils causing floods and increasing the temperatures.
What we ought to realize is how sometimes modern technology can be harmful and comes not just at a cost, but a loss – that goes unnoticed. So you have a scenario with an outcome you know you don’t like, but you continue feeding the disease unknowingly of the link. In this context we observe it on buildings. At times it takes place with other aspects of our lives such as history, culture, tradition, literature, religion, family etc
Having fear is not the solution. Perhaps best for us to manage excitement at the scientific developments mankind achieves and understand that many things in life are inter-connected and interdependent. It often begins with the self.
*Also see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thatching