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Cheery Egg
A Lutyens masterpiece in the heart of Berkshire.


Reading Location Tour 14: The Cheery Egg

Once the Garibaldi-Dumpty residence, the mock-tudor splendour of this Edward Lutyens townhouse cannot be understated. Built in 1938 and representing a departure from his usual work, Lutyens in this house embodied everything that was great or nearly great in the mock-tudor revolution. Ignoring contemporary thought and expectations, Lutyens designed not only the house, fittings and furniture but several mock-tudor people to live inside it.

Powered initially by kerosene but later electrified, the Mock-Tudor family were astonishingly complicated automatons with an impressive array of human-like functions, the most highly developed of which was self-preservation, and led to the Mock-Tudors taking a butcher's boy hostage and barricading themselves in the house. A protracted siege developed with the result that the robotic family were granted citizen and ownership rights. The butcher's boy was released unharmed and the Mock-Tudors took up residence. Sadly, due to long-held prejudices against the manner in which their robotic neighbours were riveted rather than welded, the neighbourhood remained relentlessly sniffy. The Mock-Tudors joined the best country clubs and were seen at all the right parties but to no avail; after a particularly bad snubbing at a polo match they decided enough was enough. They sold up and moved to Woodley, where they are now gainfully employed as crash test dummies.


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