The pink houses of Suffolk

Living History

The pink houses of Suffolk

Suffolk is known for its attractive villages, with appealingly wonky old houses - many of which are painted various shades of 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.

This distinctive characteristic is now jealously guarded, and some homeowners have fallen foul of local councils through "incorrect" use of pink, or use of a pink deemed to be the wrong shade. 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.

In 2013, famous chef Marco Pierre White had his 15th century hotel, The Angel, in Lavenham, decorated a shade of pink that was not traditional Suffolk Pink. He was required by local authorities to repaint.

Further reading

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