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House In The Clouds

This club is famous for… The House in the Clouds

Standing tall and watching the approach shots from players at Thorpeness, The House in the Clouds is one of golf's most distinctive landmarks...
 

St Andrews has the Swilcan Bridge, Turnberry has its iconic lighthouse and, if you take a trip to Thorpeness, you’ll see the Suffolk course has its own “curious and dramatic spectator which watches over our fairways”.

The House in the Clouds.

Crafted by the legendary Open Champion and architect, James Braid, Thorpeness is one of the best coastal heathland courses in Britain.

Gorse, pine and silver birch all blend with the heather to form a wonderful championship layout that has staged major amateur and professional events.

And, as you finish, you will play the 18th overlooked by one of the holiday village’s most distinctive landmarks.

The House in the Clouds is described as “one of the country’s most famous follies”.

Built by Braithwaite Engineering Company of London in 1923, it was constructed as a water tower to supply the newly created Thorpeness Village.

Potentially an eyesore on the skyline, the tank was disguised as a house by Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie with architect F Forbes Glennie and works manager H G Keep.

Mimicking the mock-Tudor and Jacobean properties in Thorpeness, it appeared to be a cottage floating above the trees and 70ft above the ground.

The property was merely the top part of the building, which housed the water tank, but it was what could be seen from miles around.

With a capacity of 50,000 gallons it pumped water from the Aldringham Mill and originally housed 7 bedrooms and 2 reception rooms.

Its height, what made it famous, was also its weakness during wartime. It was hit by gunfire from nearby anti-aircraft guns chasing a low-flying V1 bomb in 1943. Miraculously, although extensive damage was caused, the sleeping occupants were unhurt.

In 1979, the tank was removed and the building was fully converted into a house. It was declared Grade II Listed in 1995.

It is believed to have gained its mystical name from Mrs Malcolm Mason, who wrote children’s books and is said to be for whom the house was designed.

These days it watches over the approaches of golfers enjoying a course set in an outstanding area of natural beauty. It’s well worth a visit.

Click here for the full ‘This Club Is Famous For’ archive

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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