Noted as a property of “special interest”, Bayford Lodge, once the home and studio of Frank Hampson, the co-creator of Eagle comic’s Dan Dare and Ladybird Books artist, is up for sale once again – for just under £1.5 million.
We’re told the Lodge, located in Epsom, Surrey, has been extensively modernised in recent years. A white plaque notes the building’s comic connections.
Initially, Frank Hampson’s team worked on Dan Dare in a converted Southport bakery before moving to Epsom in August 1950, and to the purpose-built studio complex in Bayford Lodge in 1954. (Eagle creator Marcus Morris had also moved to the town, several months ahead of Frank). Hampson’s family lived on the first floor, while work on Dan Dare proceeded at almost every hour of the day on the ground floor. Hampson was a meticulous perfectionist in his work, who spent hours creating scenarios for Dan Dare, regularly working 20 hour days to meet pressing weekly deadlines.
“An entire ceiling was removed from one room so that one of the team, Joan Porter, could take photos from the required perspective angles,” note the LadybirdFlyAwayHome site. “The work rate became even more intense, and Hampson would often stay on alone in the studio throughout the night, sustained by coffee and ‘Rennies’, in an effort to meet impossible deadlines – and his own impossibly high demands upon himself. Under this pressure, his health began to suffer, but life in the studio went on.”
A centrespread cutaway of the Lodge by Graham Bleathman featured in Issue 16 of the Dan Dare-inspired magazine Spaceship Away.
The property, which has a guide price of £1,425,000, is described by propety agent Hamptons as “an impressive detached residence, the property provides very spacious and beautifully presented accommodation, boldly combining art deco and contemporary styles.
“The ground floor is part open plan and offers a superb flow between rooms, yet with a natural divide between formal and informal living areas, and with the kitchen forming the natural hub. The existing family room is fully fitted with state of the art cinema equipment and sound system, perfect for relaxation with the family. On the first floor a spacious, double aspect landing leads to the four double bedrooms; the master bedroom has a spacious en-suite bathroom (originally another bedroom), and there are two further beautifully fitted bathrooms.