16. Dorich House Museum

Dorich House is the former studio home of the sculptor Dora Gordine and her husband the Hon. Richard Hare, a scholar of Russian art and literature. Now Grade II listed, the building was completed in 1936, to Gordine’s design, and is an exceptional example of a modern studio house created by and for a female artist.

Dorich House would become an unlikely nucleus of Kingston rave culture, following the occupation of the House by squatters and ravers when owner Dora Gordine passed away in 1991.

Left temporarily uninhabited whilst plans were made for it to be acquired by Kingston University, the building was quickly co-opted to provide a local venue for the town’s growing ‘rave’ scene. In the late 1980s and 1990s, electronic and techno music emerged as an alternative to overly commercialised pop, often finding its expression in underground clubs and abandoned, industrial spaces. 

The stately, artists’ residence of Dorich House, with its lush interiors and collection of artworks and curiosities would have made for an extremely novel rave experience, particularly to those ‘under the influence’. Not surprisingly, the illegal occupation was met with contempt from the neighbours, who were significantly concerned about house prices falling due to the regular presence of tents and bonfires.

This colourful history, and the legacy it has left for contemporary rave culture has been explored in depth by the The Museum, as well as Kingston University MA Museum and Gallery Studies students, under the guidance of Dr Helen Wickstead. You can learn more about The Squatter Years: Recovering Dorich House Museum Recent Past, including hearing oral history testimony from some people who attended the raves, on the Museum’s website as well as on our online AMP Heritage Trail.

Visit the Dorich House website.

View through the Dorich House moon doors after the squatters left, 1993. © Dorich House Museum. Photo: Isobel Porter.
Still from an online exhibition by Kingston University MA Museum and Gallery Studies student Eleanor Carter-Esdale

AMP Kingston:
Art, Music, Pop Fashion

The AMP Kingston Heritage Trail explores and celebrates Kingston’s rich music heritage from the 1960’s to the present day at key sites across the town.

Find out more and explore the map of venues.

Continue the heritage trail