The history behind Suffolk Pink houses
Anybody that knows Suffolk as well as I do, will know the area is renowned for its pretty pink-washed houses and cottages – ‘Suffolk Pink’. Properties here can range from pretty cottages to moated halls and boutique hotels, and with the colour embedded deep within Suffolk’s history, it is of no surprise that so many buildings are painted this way.
So, what is the history behind Suffolk Pink?
According to research, it was the dyers of Suffolk who first stumbled upon the idea of Suffolk Pink.
Suffolk Pink dates back to the 14th century, where these pink shades were formed by adding natural substances to traditional limewash. For example, adding in elderberries, which release a beautiful carmine red. Other methods included mixing pig/ox blood with buttermilk which was then painted onto a house. Blackthorn or sloe juice was sometimes added too, to produce a redder pink.
What’s the connection with apples?
You may also recognise the term Suffolk Pink in reference to a variety of apple, which as you will have guessed, was first discovered here too.
Sometimes there are rules about who can paint their house pink.
Suffolk Pink walls are not for all, however. You can’t necessarily buy a property in Suffolk and paint it pink – if it’s listed or in a conservation you could fall foul of the local planners, English Heritage and your neighbours. Even though you will notice that the pink colours are never quite the same, there are only a select number of shades of pink that are permitted in some areas. These include shell-pink, rose-pink, geranium and raspberry.
There have been stories over the years of property owners causing upset by not painting with sympathetic, heritage colours. For example, a home-owner in Lavenham a few years ago was forced to paint her picturesque Grade 1 listed cottage – worth one million pounds – Suffolk Pink, to make it match a neighbouring property. The council said it wanted all of the cottages on that particular part of the road to be the same colour because they used to be a part of a single building 300 years earlier.
And back in 2013, the famous chef Marco Pierre White decided to repaint his 15th century hotel, The Angel, also in Lavenham, a shade of pink that was not the traditional Suffolk Pink. He had to repaint that too.
We get good PR for pretty homes for sale
Suffolk villagers are extremely proud of their pink heritage. So when Fenn Wright’s PR team told me the Daily Telegraph were writing about Suffolk Pink homes for sale, I knew we would have plenty of properties to share with the journalist. Luckily for Fenn Wright, and of course the home-owners, two of the Suffolk Pink properties we have for sale were included in the article, getting national coverage for our clients which was very pleasing.