Friday 12 May 2023

Tyneham House


Tyneham House - 10" coloured marble vinyl 

Reverse board sleeve and booklet + download code.

 £20.99 +p&p

Read Bob Fischers Interview with the artists behind Tyneham House HERE


Back in 2011 when I was tentatively looking for a second release for my fledging record label, I stumbled upon a mysterious MySpace page by a group called ‘Tyneham House’, the page was decorated with artwork by Rena Gardiner (who was unknown to me at that time) and the music was an other worldly mix of field recordings, Mellotron and acoustic guitar. It turned out that Tyneham was promised to Glen Johnson’s Second Language label, so I offered to do the artwork, and in January 2012 the two labels co-released it on tape and CD in a cardboard box with a handmade booklet of my illustrations. In 2016 Clay Pipe reissued it on 10” vinyl, in an edition of just 300, which has since become sort after. The new 2023 pressing is on blue and transparent marbled vinyl, with reverse board cover and inner sleeve, and the booklet of illustrations has been given a complete redesign. Frances Castle 2023

The pastoral, wistful yet ineffably disquieting music of Tyneham House is made by artists who wish to remain anonymous here, save for their eponymous title. The musicians are happy, however, to let it be known that these recordings have been around for some years (many of them complied from old cassettes) and that they take inspiration from the 1960s/’70s/’80s work of the Children’s Film Foundation – a body who really ought to have made a film about this mysterious West Country curio. At least now we have its endlessly poignant soundtrack.

The small village of Tyneham, on the beautiful Isle of Purbeck, in Dorset, was once a thriving little community – that is until the British Government requisitioned it for training manoeuvres and other ‘strategic purposes’ in the run up to WWII. This was supposed to be a temporary measure, but the area remained in military possession long after hostilities had ceased, causing distress among former inhabitants, many of whom were farmed out to prefabs in nearby Wareham and Swanage.

Tyneham was characterised by its red telephone box, a tiny parade of shops – Post Office Row – and a grand country pile which stood about half a mile away from the village: Tyneham House. The army removed the building’s oak panelling and ornate decorative details and promptly set about using it for target practice. So great was the shame expressed locally about the damage inflicted upon one of Dorset’s grandest houses that the powers that be decided to grow a copse around the remains of the structure to give the impression that it was no longer there. Despite this, a substantial part of the structure remains intact, including its Saxon hall.

Land access around Tyneham was opened up in the 1970s, but admission to the house remains strictly verboten. Those who’ve been found around the premises, especially anyone wielding a camera, have felt the full weight of military trespass law. Tyneham today is regarded as a nature reserve by some – as a national embarrassment by others. It’s still a political hot potato, in Dorset at least.



 A  2nd edition of the Tyneham House Swallows Risograph print will also be available. Printed by Duplikat Press in East London.