Arnold was awarded the SPAB Scholarship in 1982 with Paul Bedford and Tim Buxbaum.
Arnold’s love for old buildings may have been in the blood: his aunt and uncle had both worked in the field, his uncle in the old Ministry of Works, predecessor to English Heritage/Historic England. Also, as a boy during his daily train journey to school at City of London, he noticed the destruction of warehousing in the inner London docks and remembered ‘the air rich with spices’. Arnold also told of his father handing him an Architect’s Journal which he’d picked up by chance, found on his seat on the evening commute back to their Surrey home, and which just happened to be a special building conservation issue. Whichever it was, Arnold said that by the age of 12 he knew what he wanted to do in life. Prior to the scholarship, he was at Cambridge University where, at that time, the general antagonism towards conservation made him all the more determined to pursue a career in caring for old buildings.
Following the scholarship, Arnold worked in Edinburgh for the New Town Conservation Centre, and subsequently for Bath City Council as a conservation officer. He was then for over two decades historic buildings architect for English Heritage in the south-west region. After leaving EH, Arnold set up his own practice – he said later he wished he’d done this years before – based in his Rivers Street home in Bath – with projects often involving careful repair and sensitively crafted new design work. He also worked on a part-time basis with the architect, Chris Smart, and for Andrew Townsend Architects.
As a consequence of Arnold’s time on the SPAB Scholarship, he became a lifelong supporter and ally of the Society; as Matthew Slocombe (Director of SPAB) said, Arnold really ‘got the message’ about the primary importance, interest and beauty of building fabric as handed down to us and, flowing from that, the philosophy of conservative repair.
In his work for English Heritage, Arnold’s benign and thoughtful approach influenced, often profoundly, the work carried out to a huge number of important and more humble old buildings, especially in the south west. Not least of these was Prior Park mansion, where a disastrous fire in 1991 was followed by four years of painstaking reconstruction with Arnold by turns guiding, steering and cajoling loss adjusters, project architects, contractors and the many crafts people involved.
His interests and understanding outside the world of building conservation were wide and varied. He was fascinated by design – conspicuously modern design – demonstrated by his active membership of the C20th Society and his collections – of mid-C20th artist prints, architect-designed watches, cameras and brightly colourful scarves.
A committed socialist of the Fabian sort, Arnold recognised talent & encouraged other professionals & craftspeople alike to produce their best work. His power of analytical observation was acute and minute. His eye for detail is illustrated in an unforgettable incident when he called the specialist decorators back to re-paint the Dining Room in his Rivers Street house, this time with the brush-strokes going the right way.
2020 Scholarship The 2020 SPAB Scholarship fell victim to the Covid-19 Lockdown and was postponed a week prior to the three scholars embarking. The 2020 Scholars are:
Amy Redman – Architect
Libby Watts – Architect
Lucy Newport – Structural Engineer
2020 Scholars Fundraising We are delighted that the three Scholars are undertaking a fundraising walk on behalf of the DST through the Lake district, beginning on the 2nd September. 116km and 16 church visits over 4 days.
You can follow their efforts and sketches on their Instagram.
We also very much hope that you may be able to support them with their target and find further details via their fundraising page on JustGiving.
The Pandemic has had far reaching effects for all of us, our friends and our loved ones. For the three scholars, this came as a further blow after leaving the security of their employment and accommodation ready for nine months on the road. In order to be able to offer support to the Scholars and to ensure (that financially at least) they are able to undertake a SPAB Scholarship in 2021, the DST has set up a fund specifically in response to the Covid impacts on the 2020 Scholarship.
It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of our friend and fellow Scholar Janet Locke. With thanks to Hannah Reynolds, we offer the following words in tribute and further details below.
In an interview conducted in 2016 Janet noted that her interest in architecture, and in particular historic buildings, had been sparked by an Elizabethan hunting lodge close to her childhood home. She recalled also having seen the architectural drawings when her parents built their own home in 1938. In the late 1940’s Janet went on to study at Bartlett School of Architecture, where she was one of 5 women in a 60 strong cohort. Here, in culmination of her 5 year architecture degree, Janet’s final thesis indulged her passion for historic buildings and lead her to cycle around Essex investigating vernacular architecture and pargetting.
Janet recalled having seen the SPAB Lethaby Scholarship programme advertised and, thinking “it might be interesting”. Having been founded in 1930, the SPAB Scholarship resumed in 1950, after a brief interlude during the War. Janet (then Furney) was one of five young architects to undertake the Scholarship in that year and one of the first two females to be admitted. Her contemporaries were Donald Insall, Pamela Cunnington, Cecil Searle and Peter Locke, whom she would later marry.
It was Monica Dance who first introduced Janet to Peter in the upstairs room at 55 Great Ormond Street, and was later accused of running the SPAB as a matrimonial agency. Monica became Godmother to their son, Christopher.
Janet recalled her second meeting with Peter involving them mixing lime mortar together at a church visit, the visits always being very hands-on. With a bursary of just £60, the scholars were self proclaimed ‘LHU’s’, “Lethabite Hard Up”. Left to their own devices to arrive at the correct venue, as instructed by brief telephone call or telegram, the Scholars used public transport or often bicycles, but were sometimes given lifts by visiting architects.
Janet and Peter’s relationship blossomed during their time as Scholars and they were married in 1952. Those that knew Janet and Peter recall how they were devoted to one another, providing balance, yet sparking each other’s enthusiasm and interests.
Following the Scholarship, Janet worked as an architect until their two children were born. This included work for both David Nye and David Martin, who had been 1930’s SPAB Scholars. Despite not continuing to pursue a career in architecture, Janet continued to utilise her knowledge, interest and passion for historic buildings.
Between 1986 and 2008 Janet was a major contributor to the work of the Richmond Society in protecting and enhancing the character and amenity of Richmond, where Janet and Peter then lived. This included serving on the Executive Committee and sitting on the Conservation, Development and Planning sub-committee from 1986 to 2008. Across these years, Janet led the society’s important work in monitoring and commenting on development proposals. This involved the careful scrutiny and consideration of many hundreds of planning applications each year and drafting and submitting representations in collaboration with committee colleagues.
At the formation of the Dance Scholarship Trust in 1989 Janet was eager to be involved, to assist in supporting the scholarship and to enable continued contact among Scholars. Janet was a DST committee member for some years before taking on the role of Chairman, a role in which she was gracious and considerate yet astute and efficient, with a sharp focused attention to detail. For many years to follow Janet enjoyed attending the Scholars annual gatherings, where her warmth and enthusiasm formed a bridge between Scholars new and old. Janet continued to be of great benefit to the Trust, offering good advice and often asking searching questions to ensure all was considered and correct.
Janet continued to have excursions, with Peter until his death in 2012, and with friends in recent years, to Scholarship gatherings, historic buildings or exhibitions of interest. Janet continued the scholarly tradition of making these sometimes mighty journeys by public transport.
Peter had joined Donald in practice in 1958, where he continued to work as a key figure until his retirement in 1995. During this time Janet was always an important part of the practices working family, she is remembered fondly by Donald and many of Peter’s colleagues as such good company and much loved. Janet will be missed by all who knew her. We will remain forever grateful for and miss her great warmth, welcoming smile and unfailing passion for historic buildings and their correct treatment.
The funeral will take place on Tuesday 9th June at 3:30pm. While attendance is restricted, Janet’s family intend to organise a full celebration of her life when circumstances allow. Details for sending flowers, donations to the chosen charity (SPAB) and details on how to observe the service online via webcast can be found from the following link:
We sincerely hope that you, your loved ones and your livelihoods are keeping as well as possible under the current circumstances. To offer some anticipation beyond the lockdown, we also write to ask that you ‘Save the date’ for this years DST AGM and Gathering. The AGM will be held on the afternoon of Saturday 12th September 2020 in Bristol. We will of course monitor restrictions on events as the coming months unfold, but we remain optimistic and will continue to develop the Agenda and visits – details of which will follow, along with booking information. Please spread word to other members that you know, who we may have missed, or cannot be contact via email.
We greatly look forward to gathering with all of you then, but in the meantime, please keep well.
West Sussex and The South Downs National Park: Saturday 7th September 2019
We are delighted to announce details of this year’s Gathering of Scholars and Annual General Meeting of the Trust, to be held in and around the South Downs National Park on Saturday 7th September 2019. The AGM is set for 4pm at The Parish Church of St Mary & St Gabriel, South Harting, GU31 5QQ.
Please review the agenda and itinerary on our Events Page
SPAB Lethaby Scholars 2016, Tríona Byrne, Declan Cahill and Gethin Harvey are putting the sketchbooks down to complete the expedition on two wheels. Accompanied by Conor Meehan (Scholar 2013), and hopefully other past Scholars and friends, the team will be undertake a 377km fundraising cycle from the grave of John Ruskin at St. Andrew’s Church, Coniston to the grave of William Morris at St. George’s Church, Kelmscott, from 19th April to 21st April 2019.
The Team would be extremely grateful for any sponsorship that you may be able to offer and know that all of this will go towards the Trusts goal of supporting two bursaries on the scholarship in the future. Please visit their Just Giving Page to Sponsor them.
Keep up to date with the journey as it progressing on twitter @SPAB1877
We’re delighted to announce that this year’s Scholars’ Gathering and Annual General Meeting of the Trust will be held in The Lake District on Saturday 22nd September 2018. The AGM will be held on a vintage bus from the Cambrian Coach Company, leaving Kendal at 11am. Other visits and evening meal final details are to to be confirmed, Watch this space for more details.
The Lake District is a beautiful area of England that is steeped in history and has recently been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. More information on this years gathering can be found at the Events page.
We are delighted to announce details of this year’s Gathering of Scholars and Annual General Meeting of the Trust, to be held in and around Gloucestershire on Saturday 23rd September 2017.
Join us at Stanley Pontlarge, the home of the late Sonia Rolt, on Saturday morning, where many Scholars have formed fond memories. We then move a few miles north for a light lunch and a talk at St Mary’s Church, Little Washbourne which is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. We wind up the day with an afternoon tour, AGM and dinner at the sumptuous Stanway House, where a free camping field has been offered to any interested parties; with many thanks to Lord Wemyss.
Scholars should have received all documents via email, if you have not please do contact us. Alternatively all necessary information can be downloaded via the links on the ‘Gatherings’ page.