TERENCE GEORGE ELSON - 19th July 1935 - 10th Nov 2019
Terence, or Terry as he was known to some, was the eldest child of Joseph and Olive Elson. Joseph was a carpenter who worked in the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, which provided Terence with his first taste of construction and design, both of which fascinated him.
After completing his O-Level GCE’s in 1951, Terence managed to secure an Articled Pupil position at Clifford Culpin & Partners. As he was just 16 years old, his father had to sign the indenture papers, and he started work for only the cost of his study and fare to London, plus a small amount of luncheon vouchers! So with his father’s financial support, Terence worked for Culpin’s during the day and studied at night school, first at the Woolwich Polytechnic, and at 18 gained a place at the Regent Street Polytechnic, now known as Westminster University. Sadly Terence’s father passed away when he was 19, but Culpin’s offered to pay him a small salary, which with financial support from his mother, and eldest sister, Maureen, allowed him to continue his Articles.
Terence did so well in his Part 1 exams in 1956, that he was awarded a Major County Scholarship. This allowed him to study full time for his Part 2, but still with some support from his family. After completing Part 2 in 1959, Terrence found employment with Denys Lasdun, and achieved his Diploma in Architecture in 1961, whilst enjoying his work in the exciting company that Lasdun was developing.
By 1966 Terence had decided that he wanted to study Town Planning, and with the construction industry experiencing something of a downturn, he accepted a job at Westminster City Council as an Architect, with the proviso that they would pay for him to study for a Diploma in Town Planning. Terence duly attended the Polytechnic of Central London, studying part time. For his final thesis he reviewed play spaces in Local Authority housing - his two young daughters appearing in the photographs he used to illustrate his thesis. Terence worked at Westminster for 18 years, seeing many changes to the Council and its policies during that time. He often attended planning committee meetings and was passionate about design quality. He was one of the early Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects, and also became a member of the Royal Society of Arts.
In 1985 he was offered the role of Controller of Architecture at the City of London Corporation. Terence was fascinated by the City and its history, and took every opportunity to enjoy his short time there. When the City decided to merge the roles of Controller of Architecture and Controller of Planning, Terence decided not to apply and instead took up a long-standing offer from one of his old colleagues to work back in private practice at John R Harris & Partners. Here he worked as a Consultant Architect and Planner on an amazing array of projects, from the refurbishment of the Dorchester Hotel to rebuilding Strangeways Prison after the rioting there. He left Harris’s in 1992 due to illness, and having been diagnosed with colon cancer, underwent major surgery and chemotherapy. In typical Terence-style he fought his way back to good health, and enjoyed a long and interesting retirement. He never lost his love of learning, and was a passionate reader and firm believer in the circular nature of life, never throwing away anything he thought might come in useful or inspire future generations.
After becoming ill and admitted to hospital in the autumn of 2019, Terrence was sadly diagnosed with leukaemia and passed away soon afterwards. He is survived, by his wife, Yvonne, their three children, Laura, Helen and Ian, and seven grandchildren, who all miss him, but know it will be many years before they get through all the books, information and writing he left behind for the generations to follow.
JOHN MICHAEL WELBANK MBE - 2nd August 1930 - 15th September 2020
Past Master Michael Welbank MBE passed away peacefully at home on 15th September after suffering a stroke at the end of July, just before his 90th birthday.
Michael, always known by his middle name, grew up in Highgate and attended Highgate School. He went on to study architecture at UCL, and after qualifying held positions in private practice, and both local and central government, before joining Shankland Cox, where he was to become a director. He later became a director of the consultancy firm, Entec UK. During his career he was involved in a wide range of development, planning, environmental and conservation projects both in the UK and abroad.
Michael was admitted a Freeman of the Company in 1985, and became a Liveryman in January 1988, joining the Court eight months later. He was a Churchill Trust Fellow in 1989 and also a Visiting Professor at Oxford Brookes University. He was elected President of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 1992, and was Master of the WCCA in 1994.
Sadly, Michael’s wife, Alison, passed away in 2002. He subsequenty moved from South Hill Park, Hampstead, the family home for 40 years, to Belsize Avenue, and began to immerse himself in local government, becoming a Common Councilman of the City of London in 2005. As befitting his early experience of cross country runs across the Heath during his school days, he was involved in the running of Hampstead Heath for ten years, and during that time, with great aplomb, oversaw the controversial “Dams Project”. He subsequently chaired the Hampstead Heath Management Committee of the City of London Corporation for three years, stepping down in 2012 to chair the City of London Corporation’s Planning & Transportation Committee, where he oversaw the development of the Smithfield’s Market site
Resulting from his role at the City of London Corporation, he was appointed to the Museum of London’s board of governors in 2007.
In 2013 Michael was awarded an MBE for services to Local government and the North West London community. Typically, in receiving the award he stated: “It is a recognition of the very great contribution that the City of London Corporation makes to London, and to all its open spaces.” So not about the pivotal part he personally played in making things happen!
Michael was elected as the Chief Commoner in the City of London Corporation for the year 2016, which was indeed a very great honour, and a position he relished and filled with great distinction. As Chief Commoner he promoted the aims, values and responsibilities of the City of London Corporation.
Michael was always a generous host, and he was very generous to the WCCA donating a range of specially commissioned badges of office to a selection of Company officers.
Michael had so many talents - during his life he was both an accomplished architect, town planner and latterly a very wise mediator. He was also a talented water colourist. He will be sorely missed by so many people he touched in such a long and distinguished career serving the London community.
Michael is survived by his children, Katherine, Julian and William.
RICHARD ARGYLL BEASTALL - 11th March 1961 - 5th August 2020
Liveryman Richard Beastall sadly passed away on 5th August 2020 after a long battle with cancer.
Born in Matlock, Derbyshire, Richard had a calling for architecture from a very early age. It seems there were many family influences at work, and several friends in the property sector. “I only ever wanted to be an architect. Even from the age of six, although I didn’t know what it meant then!”
Richard studied architecture at Nottingham University, doing his year out at Nottingham County Council, and gaining his Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1985. He joined TP Bennett directly afterwards, quickly becoming an associate and then a partner.
Richard’s enthusiasm for collaborating with end-users led him to start TP Bennett’s highly successful interiors division in 1997, bringing specialist expertise together in one unit. He strongly believed in blending the skills of the team and developing the career paths of those he worked with. He was a great advocate of being approachable to his younger colleagues, and believed in strong collaboration between the project team and the client. When Richard set up TP Bennett’s interiors division, he started with a team of 15. Under his leadership, the division grew into the largest interiors team in the UK.
Richard’s skill in blending architecture and interiors to create inspiring places, particularly for large-scale office headquarters, led him to design many high profile, award-winning projects over the last 20 years, designing significant headquarters projects for Goldman Sachs, Lovells, The Guardian, PwC, Schroders, and Spotify.
He spoke regularly at conferences on the future of the workplace, and served on the British Council for Offices Board of Management for fourteen years. He was member of the City Property Association, the City Architecture Forum, and a supporter of the Outward Bound Trust. He was admitted as a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects in 2015, and became a Liveryman the following year.
Richard had a real zest for life and travel, and was passionately engaged by the people he met through his career and socially. His indomitable optimism and boundless positivity made him a loved and respected pillar of the architectural and interior design world.
He is survived by his husband, Martyn, his parents and three sisters, and leaves a huge void in the property and design community. Richard will be missed by all who knew him.
PETER LUSCOMBE - 7th July 1935 - 12th June 2020
Past Master Peter Luscombe sadly passed away at Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone, on 12th June, after suffering a major heart attack. He was one of the founder members of the Company, and was Master in 1991-92. His sudden death was a huge shock to his friends - sadly, he leaves no close family.
Peter’s creative ability was apparent very early on in life - he is remembered by his life-long friend, David Rickard, as being an avid builder of model houses in balsa wood when they were young boys. Following his secondary education at Sutton High School in Plymouth, Peter embarked on a career in Architecture, and became “articled” to a local practice. This was a slow route to qualifying as an Architect, but quite common in the 1950’s. As was the custom, articled pupils were not paid in those days, so a good degree of dedication was required to see the training through. Hand in hand with his architectural training, Peter was also now refining his skills in water colour painting.
After seeing his pupilage through, Peter took a post with the Building and Works Department at Devonport Dockyard, where he made his mark designing two multi- storied office buildings at Mount Wise, Devonport, overlooking the Hamoaze at the mouth of the River Tamar, near to the Scot Memorial. But after a while working in Devonport, his passion for Victorian architecture and aspirations to involve himself more in conservation work led him to move to the bright lights of London, where he joined the well-known firm of Ley Colbeck, Chartered Architects, rising through the ranks in the 1980’s to become a partner.
Several of the leading lights from Ley Colbeck merged with the Halpern Partnership in 1992, Peter amongst them. He brought to Halpern his particular expertise in conservation projects - the great understanding he had of delicate design issues. Peter contributed to many City office development during the 1990’s before retiring from Halperns (now Formation Architects) in 2000, and is remembered by former work colleagues for his thorough knowledge of classical Architecture, and great skill in formulating graceful solutions to complicated architectural problems. With his particular artistic flair, he was well known for presenting projects using perspectives in water-colour, his favourite medium.
Peter’s concern for the City’s historic fabric led him to serve on the Conservation Area Advisory Committee, which he joined in March 2005, and later the City Heritage Society, becoming Chairman in 2014. He greatly enjoyed both positions, still held at the time of his death.
Peter was greatly admired, held in very high esteem by his CAAC & CHS colleagues, and will be sadly missed by his many friends.
PETER LUSCOMBE - An Appreciation by David Cole-Adams, Clerk Emeritus
It is with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Peter Luscombe recently. Peter was one of the founder members of the Company of Chartered Architects and, by virtue of the fact that he was also a member of the Painter-Stainers’ Company, and had considerable experience of working on buildings in the Square Mile, quickly found himself elected to the Court of the fledgling company in 1986. He was elected as Master for the year 1991-92 and remained on the court until 1999.
His year as Master was marked particularly by the Company’s first participation in the Lord Mayor’s Show as part of a joint entry with the Constructors’ Company whose master had become a good friend through their mutual involvement as architect and contractor in a couple of City projects. Peter brought his artistic talents to bear in designing the float under the strap line – “Two Sides of the One Coin” and producing the necessary art work. His year also saw the erection of the WCCA shield in Guildhall and the first Company carol service at St Mary-le-Bow (where Peter served as a Church Warden). It is likely that Peter fired the first shot in the search for a permanent home for the Company in the City. This had been a requirement of the Company Ordinances and a Hall Committee was established in his year.
Peter was born in Plymouth and undertook his architectural education in that city. This took to form of an ‘articled pupilage’ with a small local practice operating out of a ‘dingy upstairs office’ in the city. Little can be established about his early working experience, though old friends advise that he headed for London as soon as was practical, and was soon to be found working with the well-established practice Ley Colbeck and Partners alongside Alan Luke, who was among the founding fathers of the WCCA. His workload involved him in a good amount of conservation work. He remained with the practice until it was merged into the Halpern Partnership Ltd serving them as a consultant for a few years.
His professional life led him to his involvement with the City. He joined the Painter-Stainers’ Company in 1983 and served as Chairman of their Fine Art Society for several years and latterly Deputy Chairman. He was very involved with his painting (watercolours were his preferred medium) and a number of Past Masters will recall being invited to Painters’ Hall for a reception at their annual art exhibition which always featured a number of his works and frequently, in my experience, featured Peter sitting on a stool in the middle of the exhibition working away as the ‘artist in residence’. He joined the WCCA shortly after, and it is of interest to note that it is his signature that adorns the Livery Certificates of those members of the Company who were admitted to the Livery en mass shortly after the grant of Livery was bestowed by the Court of Aldermen.
Also, on the art front, Peter was a member of the Society of Marine Artists and other art societies, and frequently displayed his works in their exhibitions – most notably at the Mall Galleries each year. His work was well regarded.
It was probably as a direct result of his involvement with conservation projects that Peter developed his interest in the historic buildings of the City, serving on the Conservation Area Advisory Committee whose officers advise that they ‘will miss him as his contributions were always perceptive and lucid’. He became involved in the refurbishment of the Bishopsgate Institute before being introduced to the City Heritage Society. He took over the chairmanship of the Society founded by Douglas Woodward CBE in succession to Anne Thomas and Desmond Fitzpatrick – he held the post until the current year when he was looking forward to passing on the role to Dorian Crone. He took a very active part in formulating opinions of the proposed new City buildings which came before the Society for comment, and was forthright and fair in his commentary on the proposals.
His other interests revolved around the various churches with which he was involved. He was, for many years, a Church Warden at St Mary-le-Bow and was a Parish Clerk of one of the former churches which came under the umbrella of St Mary-le-Bow. His particular parish was that of St Faith Under St Paul’s. A curious parish, the early building dating from pre-11th century was ‘physically removed’ in 1256 to allow for the eastern extension of St Paul’s’. The congregation (comprising mainly the printers gathered around the Paternoster area) continued to meet in the crypt of the gothic cathedral until the Great Fire. The parish, in the form of Peter, continued to be recognised when a toast might be proposed to St Faith Under St Paul’s at formal gatherings of the Parish Clerk’s Company.
Peter was a thoroughly nice man to know and to travel with – he was good company. He joined one of the study trips which I organised to the eastern seaboard of the United States – it was, I think I recall him telling me, the first time he had been abroad. He was a keen and not uncritical observer of style and detail. Like some others on the trip he was surprised to find himself less than impressed by some of the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings we visited. He was generous with his help and advice - literally a week before his untimely death, I had a couple of long conversations with him aimed at trying to identify some of the early winners of the Company’s New City Architecture Awards, which were initially run in conjunction with the City Heritage Society. He patiently carried out the necessary research and came up with the answers I was seeking from what had been hard to locate records. He then proceeded to give me his individual critique of some of the more prominent of those winning buildings and their more recent successors. All very entertaining, and in many cases, spot-on!
JOHN PANKHURST GRIFFITHS - 27th SEPTEMBER 1930 - 13th APRIL 2020
Freeman John Griffiths sadly passed away at St Michael’s Hospice in East Sussex on Easter Monday, 13th April.
His grandfather had a building firm, and after the Second World War, undertook war damage repair work. This was to spark John’s early interest in building conservation work.
After qualifying as an Architect, he worked in Nigeria for the international architect Maxwell Fry, before returning to the UK to become Staff Architect for Granada Television. He was Founder Director of the Manchester Building Centre, and also the Manchester Design Centre, the latter affiliated to the Design Centre in London. For these endeavours he was named ‘Man of the Year’ by the Architects’ Journal.
John joined the Civil Service as Head of Technical Information for the Ministry of Public Building & Works, now DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. He was responsible for government building exhibitions, films and the preparation of HMSO leaflets on good building practice. Seeing a need for more public involvement, he set up the Building Conservation Trust, which established a permanent exhibition in Hampton Court Palace, where the public could access practical building conservation advice.
Amenity and civic matters were always an active concern of John’s, becoming a Trustee of the Surrey Historic Buildings Trust, and then the Clerk to the Tylers & Bricklayers Company for a period, before becoming Clerk of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects in 1995, the year that David Cole-Adams was Master. John held the post for five years, modernising many Company procedures during his tenure as Clerk, to bring us firmly into the 21st century.
Upon retiring from practice, he and his wife, Helen, moved to Rye in Sussex, a place he had known well since boyhood. He was invited to join the committee of the Rye Conservation Society, and became its Chairman in 2011, stepping down from the Chair only two years ago to become the Society’s President. John cared passionately about local conservation matters, and as Chairman of the Rye Society, had forged links with other nearby amenity societies to give the members at Rye valuable insights into conservation issues experienced, and fought hard for, in other historic towns in the South East of England.
John adored Rye, its old buildings, cobbled streets and its setting - a love which is vividly illustrated in his book ‘A Look at the Buildings of Rye’, which also highlighted his skill as a photographer.
John is survived by his wife, Helen, two sons, Matthew & Jonathan, and daughter, Jay, a well-published author.
JOHN GRIFFITHS - An Appreciation by David Cole-Adams, Clerk Emeritus
My first task following my installation as Master in September 1995 was the gowning of the new Clerk, John Griffiths. John’s appointment came in the wake of the retirement of Len Groome OBE earlier that year, and a period of interregnum during which clerking duties were undertaken by Stuart Murphy. John’s arrival was a blessing in so many ways. His training and work as an Architect meant that he had an immediate understanding of the culture of the profession, and the fact that he was a Freeman of many years standing and, indeed, a sometime clerk of the Tylers and Bricklayers’ Company, meant that he understood the culture of the livery movement and the City.
His arrival was timely also in that he had style, and actually liked working with computers -
a welcome change as his predecessor’s documents were produced on a ‘steam-driven’ Remington typewriter, whose only ribbon should have been pensioned off some decades earlier, and which didn’t seem to have a facility for creating margins! John quickly got the Company organised, produced our first Members’ Handbook, and an organised database, and produced a Court Handbook, a copy of which was presented to each new Assistant.
His experience of organising exhibitions and displays stood him in good stead when it came to making arrangements for events, and he was excellent at disseminating information. He had a wicked sense of humour which manifested itself in all manner of ways - quite often unexpectedly. I recall when I first visited John and Helen’s house in East Molesey in the run up to taking over the Clerkship at the end of his term of office, being greeted by a lady in full Victorian afternoon dress who was seated at an upright piano. It turned out that the piano was capable of playing itself, and the lady was an exhibition model!
John’s advice to me when I became Clerk was that, somewhere there was a book entitled “101 Ways to Mess up a Clerk’s Life”. He had not been able to source the book to pass on to me, but advised that most of the ways “to mess up a Clerk’s life” related to the collection of quarterage and other monies - all too true! He also, as a bit of a wind-up I think, passed on to me amongst his computer files, a database in which he had recorded the seating preferences of Company members and guests at formal dinners etc. When I looked into this there were columns for those who wished to sit next to their wives/husbands, those who wanted to sit opposite their wife/husband, those who wanted to sit next to someone else’s wife/husband, and those who would rather that their partners were seated either in a different room, or at an entirely different function! Don’t even ask about his ways of recording dietary requirements.
It was a great pleasure to know and to work with John - we communicated fairly often and he was always good company.
When he retired as Clerk, he and Helen made a generous donation to the Company to use as the Trustees saw fit. We have many reasons to be grateful to them both.
Freeman Russ Craig
2nd July 1935 - 16th December 2019
Freeman Russ Craig sadly passed away at the Isabel Hospice, in Welwyn Garden City, on 16th December. He became a Freeman in the early 1990’s, by which time his wife, Carol, had already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and this prevented him taking full advantage of membership of the Company. A close friend of Past Master, Dr Mervyn Miller, for many years, Russ attended the annual banquet in 2013 during Mervyn’s year as Master.
Born in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, Russ was educated at Liverpool University School of Architecture, where he also took a postgraduate diploma in Civic Design.
Russ had a distinguished career as a local government Architect, including the Greater London Council, and Hertfordshire County Council Planning Department, where he was recruited to the newly formed Design Section. He dealt with design and heritage applications across the North & East of the county, and for many years was convenor of the Architects’ Advisory Panel. Russ took over the devolved BEAMS organisation, which provided heritage & design advice to the Hertfordshire District Councils created in 1974. He notably oversaw the restoration of Place House, Ware, one of the most outstanding mediaeval timber-framed buildings in the county, for the Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust.
Many organisations across Hertfordshire and RIBA Eastern Region, will have been enriched by Russ’s generosity of time, and unstinting help over many years. He will be sorely missed.
MICHAEL PETER WEST, MCD, BArch (L'pool), FRTPI, RIBA, FRSA
21 June 1939 – 13 November 2019
Post qualification at Liverpool University Michael took up appointments in private practice in the offices of Eric Lyons, Shankland Cox & Partners and Sir Hugh Wilson before a period in central and local government with appointments to principal posts with the Greater London Council and the City of Westminster. He then successively was Deputy Director of Planning to the Government of Bermuda and Director of the Central London Planning Conference, followed by six years as Borough Planner of the London Borough of Southwark.
In 1981 he returned to private practice with Twigg Brown & Partners, founding Twigg Brown West planning consultancy which, in 1992 was incorporated as West & Partners (in conjunction with Chris Francis and subsequently joined by Peter Long) a town planning and architectural practice. Michael made numerous expert witness appearances at public inquiries combining his town planning expertise with detailed experience of listed buildings and historic townscape also advising national and international clients on commercial, manufacturing, residential and public works projects.
A founding member of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects Michael was proud to be elected to serve as Master for 2001 – 2002, and directly afterwards to hold the office of Chairman of the Trustees of the Company’s Charitable Trust Fund for 15 years.
JOHN WHEATLEY - 30 AUGUST 30 – 18 AUGUST 2019
John Wheatley was one of the earliest members of the WCCA, attended the inaugural meeting at which the fledgling company was launched. His membership number was 10, he joined the Court within a year of its establishment and, following the grant of Livery in 1988, he quickly rose to be Master in 1990 being the first to do so who did not have connections with the City or another livery company. He died in a nursing home at the end of August after a period of increasing frailty.
John was a Director of the major commercial practice Covell Matthews Wheatley (formerly the Covell Matthews Partnership) who were one if the first practices to be listed on the London Stock Exchange when this became possible in 1987. He was responsible for a number of significant projects not just in the City but also in Reading and Cambridge. He would have been amused to know that, in recent years, his most notable building - the blue glass office headquarters building for Samuel Montagu Bank on a site adjacent the original Billingsgate Fish Market on Upper Thames Street- is to be found featured on a post card on sale in the RIBA bookshop. Other major projects included several business parks in the UK, Sony UK's headquarters at Brooklands, Weybridge and British Aerospace's headquarters on Farnborough Airfield.
The floated practice did not flourish and John retired to carry out modest developments on his own account on the south coast. He also made time to indulge his great love for modern classical music – a subject on which he was most knowledgeable to the extent that he was the guest on an episode of Private Passions on BBC3 and gave numerous talks. He was particularly interested in the relationship between music and architecture and the natural environment.
He was, by all accounts a good cricketer playing at just below county level in his native Essex and he was very good company in any social setting. John’s wife Pam died in 2009 and John is survived by their two children.