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Priory Yurt

Yurts are among one of the oldest nomadic structures, and although originally designed to withstand the sub-zero temperatures of Mongolia, adapt well to our climate and life-styles. Their dome shape embodies an architectural archetype that strikes deep into the heart and soul of the visitor or yurt dweller.

Date

2008

Side access, 82 Priory Gardens N6 5QS

Sat 1pm-5pm/Sun 10am-5pm.

Highgate

43, 134, 263

  • Free parking

PRIORY YURT The nearest yurt in the world to an underground Yurts Yurts come from Central Asia, specifically anywhere from Iran heading north-east to Turkmenistan, Afganistan and to Uzbekistan. They can also be found on the Western plains of China, Mongolia and Russia. The people who owned and lived in them were sheep-herding nomads who moved location frequently. This was due to the feeding needs of their livestock and the seasonal changes which affected their families. Some groups used the Yurt as an all year round dwelling, whereas others pack the Yurt away in the winter months. The term ‘Yurt’ comes from the Russian word ‘Yurta’. The Mongolian name is ‘Ger’ meaning dwelling. Framework A Yurt is classed as a ‘frame tent’ or ‘trellis tent’. These names pertain to the structural framework and to the trellis which provides shape and strength. Most UK yurt makers make their structural components with sawn timber from the ash tree, but some use coppiced poles. Covering Historically yurts were covered in felt, a thick textile made from sheep’s wool. Most European yurt makers use coated canvas for their outer covering and felted wool, sandwiched between an inner cotton layer and outer canvas layer for rain protection. Why choose a Yurt? I am interested in small living spaces, have always loved tents and have the immense privilege to live next to woods, in London. I was intrigued by a yurt’s simplicity, portability yet solidity, immensely varied and different uses and liked the idea of circumventing planning laws. As I am useless at DIY, I wanted something very simple that I could really engage with _ whether it is chopping wood for the wood-burning stove, hanging a picture or shelf without using nails; above all, having a space that can change constantly and be used and enjoyed. Initially, it was at the far end of the garden adjacent to the woods but we then moved it to its present position, felting the inside. Sometimes, the yurt is covered in red and purple fleece blankets with rugs everywhere; at present it is more austere. Sometimes we sleep in it and have great children’s parties, watch a movie, sit quietly, have a dinner or build a giant train set in it. Google ‘yurt’ and you will find many yurt makers in this country _ a whole community working with one of the oldest, simplest and most beautiful structures ever designed. Katherine Klinger