Friday, 9 December 2011

Merry Christmas 2011


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Big Blogger Bug / Big Bugger Blog / Bug Bigger Blog ...

A few people have reported problems opening the posts and pages of this blog.

The WCCA blog has recently been up-dated to use Google's new - 27 Sept 2011!Dynamic template that upgrades and improves the former 'traditional' Blogspot/Wordpress type graphic user interface.

Read the article on the link page of the WCCA blog about the Dynamic system, which only came available in late Sept 2011. The new system, still a bit buggy, uses recent software improvements, and so requires the use of up-to-date software.  If on PC, this would mean MS Windows 7 as OS, and MS Internet Explorer 9 as browser.  
There do not seem to be problems on Mac that have been reported so far.

We recommend, in order
1) Update your PC browser to the current IE 9 (if you can afford it!).
2) OR download Google's own browser, Chrome for PC, and use that - it is better anyhow! And costs nothing.
3) OR even Mozilla Firefox 6. This browser also costs nothing!
4) Perhaps run the latest version of MS Windows (7), although it works well enough on XP and Windows Vista in our experiments!

Please use the comments system below to add you own perspective on these problems.  We can then pass on advice as to what to do to improve matters.

HOT NEWS on 16.12, 6 Dec 2011:
We have been able to simulate the freezing & crashing as described by one or two liverymen on an old PC using Internet Explorer 8.  We encourage using the Chrome browser, which worked on the same old-ish weak-ish machine, while IE8 did not!  It was a bit slow, but...

Google reports that on 7/12/2011 the WCCA site was being accessed using the following browsers in proportion...
On that day there were in all 304 page views.
Below, the chart shows  the proportion of Operating Systems being used...

1) Tom B has complained that the 'post' dates do not have years as well as date and month - Google will no doubt revise this  in due course.  While back posts are easier to find now, few will actually want to search by date prior to a year.  If one did want to find something specific, one would use the search facility in the top bar, which seems to work very effectively.

2) While this blog works fine on i-phones and i-pod touches, showing a special hand-held interface, on a normal computer screen, the top black bar with its lateral 10 'buttons' is only visible if the screen width achieves a certain size (900 pixels?).  On very narrow screens this bar's buttons may be invisible, but a drop-down menu with the same buttons appears top left instead.  We recommend making the screen width as large as practicable.

3) Blog readers will not be able to see the WCCA blog if the JavaScript option is turned off, or if their browser (like some mobile browsers) don’t have this option switched on. 

WCCA blogmaster

Friday, 2 December 2011

Yet more books for your Christmas season reading

I knew it was a mistake to start down the road of promotion of books produced by members of the Company but it is a pleasure to know that we have among our number so many authors.

James Stevens Curl has three offerings (the covers of which are shown alongside):

Freemasonry & the Enlightenment: Architecture, Symbols, and Influences  - this is a new edition to the original based of further research and available in hardback at £45.00 + packing and postage from Historical Publications Ltd, 32 Ellington Street, London N7 8PL.

 First published in 1993, Georgian Architecture in the British Isles 1714 - 1830 this is a fully revised and newly illustrated guide to the architecture of the British Isles during the reigns of the first four Georges. This is available from English Heritage Publishing Sales, Central Books.99 Wallis Road, London E9 5LN. Email: Price is £45.00 inclusive of a 10% discount and packing and postage.

Also from the Historical Publications stable is Spas, Wells, & Pleasure-Gardens of London. These facilities attracted London Society at all levels from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The book ranges from the simple medicinal wells such as those at Sydenham, to celebrated spas such as Bagnigge, Islington, Saddler's, and Beulah. It then proceeds to the many Tea- and Pleasure-Gardens, small and large, that provided entertainment and relaxation distanced from the insalubrious London air.

The book is available at £25.00 per copy + £4.00 for packing and postage.

And from Stephen Games comes his recently published book Pevsner - the Early Life; Germany and Art.

For two generations, Nikolaus Pevsner was the godfather of modern British architecture. He was a historian, but unlike many historians today, he believed that the modern world should have its day in the sun, and not be forced unnecessarily to defer to the past. This put him at odds with the conservation culture that he helped to create, and there were times, as co-chairman of the Victorian Society, when he had to absent himself from a vote, for fear of going head to head with other members. Where did Pevsner develop this passionate and complex commitment to the new? The British have always taken it for granted that Pevsner was a modern, along with a lot of other assumptions about this honorary Englishman. Now, for the first time, Stephen Games has gone back to look closely at Pevsner’s origins, not as an Englishman, or a modern, or a specialist in architecture, but as a German, a conservative and an art historian. In the first volume of his new biography, Games looks at the tensions that shaped Pevsner’s early life, at the influence of his neurotic mother and the social pressures he encountered as a schoolboy during the First World War, and at the role that art history played in the troubled German psyche in the 1920s and 30s. Based on extensive interviews in Europe and years of research in Pevsner massive archive in California, Games presents a picture of Pevsner’s early life that will overturn many of the comfortable notions we have had about him. “Pevsner – The Early Life: Germany and Art”. Now out in paperback and available from AMAZON

And from even further afield

En route as it were to the TeamBuild Competition the Master, accompanied by his Lady, Past Masters Alan Downing and Roger France and by Stephen Wagstaffe Pictured here), attended the annual Dinner of the York Guild of Building held in the splendid medieval environs of Merchant Taylors' Hall. 

The Hall, along with that of the Merchant Adventurers of York, give a fair idea of what many of London's Halls might have been like had not fire and war rearranged the environment.

It is a real privilege for the Company to be invited to participate in this occasion on an annual basis and the Master looks forward to welcoming his opposite number to our Livery Banquet in March.

from somewhere wel north of Watford

One of the more technically challenging tasks that falls to the lot of a Master is that of participating in the annual TeamBuild Competition which aims to promote understanding and co-operation between young professionals in the construction industry. Nine six person multi-disciplinary teams were put together by a range of practices and organizations and given a weekend to persuade the judges they they are deserving of the prizes on offer. 

As the Company regularly donates one of the major prizes - that for Procurement Strategy - the Master gets to be one of the judges. Other prizes are given for the best overall performance, Excellence in Presenattion Techniques and, this year, for the Most Innovative Use of Materials.

Teambuild 2011 challenged teams to plan, design and deliver a world-leading eco-town development. The Exemplar phase of NW Bicester, developed by a consortium led by P3Eco, was granted detailed planning permission in August. This fascinating project provided the basis for a series of taxing scenarios at all stages of the construction process, watched and scored by eminent Judges from all fields across the construction industry. Eight teams, representing 22 top construction companies, made it through to the hotly-contested finals, and impressed throughout with their professionalism, and dedication.

The overall winners were Greenprint - a team from BDP's London Office while the WCCA Prize was won by Concordia - a team from the Homes and Communities Agency who are pictured above with the Master..

Never let it be said that the Master's lot is just about eating and drinking. This event was, he reported, 'hard work and as just about as stimulating as anything I have experienced since I was a student'.

Friday, 18 November 2011

After the Silent Ceremony, the Noisy One

The Master, supported by his Upper and Renter Wardens and Student member Michael Bailey took part in the Lord Mayor's Show on Saturday 12 November. As is customary for the Company they were part of a gathering  of Modern Livery Companies who formed up in a more or less orderly  formation behind a vintage auto bus. They managed a brief appearance on the televised  cover of the event but only the most eagle eyed observer would have been able to spot them among the crowd. 

The Company's duty photographer - Past Master Alan Downing (watching the procession from adjacent Guildhall Yard)  was able to get a couple of images - one is shown here recording Michael Bailey (cunningly showing the Company banner to those following), the Master and Jaki Howes (cunningly trying to snuff out the Chartered Accountsnts' banner). The Upper Warden, Mervyn Miller, may have been taking a breather on the bus at this stage - possibly conducting the band.

They were favoured with reasonable weather and joined with their marching colleagues to receive a welcome glass of something containing bubbles (courtesy of the Master Mariners' Company) and a lunch bag kindly sponsored by a local sandwich emporium. This was enjoyed on the HQS Wellington while the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs enjoyed the hospitality of the judges at the Royal Courts of Justice prior to commencing the return journey to Mansion House.

Again, the protesters camped outside St Paul's Cathedral had little effect on the proceedings and, hopefully, enjoyed the show and the early evening fireworks display.

A moment of silence

The transfer of power from the incumbent Lord Mayor to his elected successor traditionally takes place at The Silent Ceremony which is held in Guildhall on the afternoon before the Lord Mayor's Show - on 11 November this year. The Master and his lady and the Clerk attended to witness what is a most dignified and stirring event. It is not strictly true to say that the whole proceedings are conducted in silence as the incoming Lord Mayor does have to make his declaration. Apart from that, the only sound is the reassuring clinking of the City Marshall's spurs as he leads the procession to and from the dais. The remaining proceedings - involving much making of reverences, removing and donning of hats, the transferring of Sceptres, Seals of Office, Maces, Purses, Collars of Office etc - are carried out in extreme silence..

Happily all present - many a fair distance from the scene of all this activity - were given an order of proceedings to enable them to keep up with the activities.

It is not clear why Stephen Fry had a seat at the front but, as surely as he is on the telly most evenings of the week, he was there and in the thick of things later in Guildhall Yard before the mayoral motorcade moved off to the Mansion House. You can't keep a good man down.

In these difficult times, the City Civic

Almost unaffected by the presence of the tent dwellers outside the Cathedral (pictured below), the annual Festival of Remembrance in St Paul's Churchyard took place on Monday 7 November. The tangible effect of the anti-capitalist protesters (who, it is understood, moved some tents to clear the way for access for those taking part in the ceremony) was that access to the Crypt for the pre-service tea and bacon and sausage butties and receipt of a welcome and marching orders from the President of the Royal British Legion needed to be directed through the north door of the Cathedral. 

Once assembled in the appointed area, a Regimental Sergeant Major from the Scots Guards took on the formidable task of getting the assembled Masters, Prime Wardens and Upper Bailiff  of the Livery Companies into strict numerical order. It is doubted, as they were, corralled, placed in their positions and told to stay put and be quiet, if they had been treated in quite this way for many years. The RSM got a good natured round of applause on completion of his task and was seen to smirk! He was probably not used to being applauded.
The service followed its usual course, the crosses were planted by Masters etc as well as by representatives of the city civic and a range of other participants. There was no protest from the protesters and you would have been able to hear a pin drop during the two minute silence and the playing of the Last Post.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Book - early for Christmas

With the very recent publication of 'A Passion to Build', Liveryman Peter Murray has added to the impressive armoury of talents those of a novelist.

The book, available from the book shop at the building centre in Store street, as an E book or down loadable onto your Kindle is illustrated here and Peter suggests that you might like to purchase copies for your friends and families with a view to spotting the role models for the characters portrayed.

To quote from the back cover:

'A Passion to Build follows the meteoric careers and tangled love lives of two leading architects and their iconic designs for a major international athletics event - the EuroGames' which is to take place in the fading northern city of Frampton-on- Tees. Fampton's energetic and scheming Mayor believes the investment and legacy of the Games will restore some vitality to the once booming economy of the area.

The design teams struggle to create great buildings and have to fend off critics like the conservationist Duke of Frampton who would prefer to see the stadia designed in the traditional style.

The lives of the architects unravel as they compete to design the best building and to win the much-vaunted Frazer Prize. Their struggle reaches a dramatic climax at the spectacular opening ceremony of the EuroGames watched by millions around the world'.

The Blog Master will welcome authoritative reviews of this book.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


10 November 2011

The WCCA blog has been reconfigured using the system's Dynamic option.

This allows the back pages to be seen and accessed in a way that is practical and easy.
Use the buttons along the dark-grey bar at the top to access other aspects or connect with the 
WCCA 'static' web-site. On this site is found general information on the Company, that does not change very much over time.
Use the search facility on the top right to sieve the WCCA blog's data for any topic you choose.


Wednesday, 9 November 2011



Tuesday, 8 November 2011

On being received by the Master and getting brownie points for CPD

The Master's Reception was held in McMorran and Whitby's celebrated 1963-66 Wood Street Police Station in the City of London and was attended by over 40 members of the Company and guests. The 'modernist' building with distinct stylistic references to the work of Louis Khan was not, it is understood, much loved in the City when it was completed but found itself listed in relatively short time. It was a strange visit taking the form of a talk on police firearms and body protection, a visit to the Police Museum (a facility in need of some expansion space) and an inspection of the stable block from which most of the horses were absent - presumably on active service or rehearsing their roles in the forthcoming Lord Mayor's Show. There was also a talk on the interesting if ever so sordid exploits of Jack the Ripper.

The cultural content took a turn for the better with a couple of short talks from Mark Whitby - the engineer son of one of the original architects and Edward Dennison - an architectural historian McMorran grandson and author of a recent book on the practice. These gave an interesting insight into the relations between client (The City Corporation) and the architects - particularly in respect of the later addition of the tower block.

On completion of the visit the group repaired to the nearby City Pipe wine bar for drinks, food and further chat. The Master expressed his gratitude to Mark Whitby and Edward Dennison for their contributions. He also thanked stdent member Alex Scott-Whitby (son of Mark) for arranging for them both to be present.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Newsletter Issue 25 - Sept 2011

September 11 Newsletter

And more Company winners

The very same Daily Telegraph British Housing Awards presentations also brought glad tidings for Liveryman James Burrell of Burrell Associates  whose Bronze House in Swabridgeworth, Hertfordshire was selected as the Large House of the Year

The citation noted that 'this highly distinctive building has several claims to originality. It's the first bronze-clad house in the UK; planning permission was gained via a public review; and one of the two wings is set at an angle to capture the movement of the sunduring the day ..........The bronze cladding which wil graduallty develop a deep brown atina as it weathers , complies with the planning requirement for a colour palatte sympathetic to nearby houses while creating something dramatically different'.

A third member of the Company, Justin Bere won a Commendation in the Best Small House Category of the Awards for his Camden Passivhaus (pictured below complete, it is hoped, with a Totota Prius!

Justin Bere's office has enjoyed considerable success over the past few months both with the Camden Passivhaus and with The Larch House in Ebbw Vale which was the winner of the innovation Category , Cionstructing Excellence Wales Awards and in the Sustainability Category of the RICS Wales Awards - one of the most respected awards of its kind in the UK Construction industry.

Additionally they are short listed for Environmental Excelence in the BD Architect of the Year Awards and for a number of other Awards where results are to be announce shortly. Watch this space.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Success for King père et fils

The announcement last evening of the results of the Daily Telegraph British Homes Awards brought glad tdings for the Immediate Past Master Edward King and his son Liveryman Alex King. For Edward the result offers both satisfaction and a distraction to take his mind off the adjustment to his lifestyle on standing down after a full and busy year as Master while, for Alex, it offers (alongside equal satisfaction) the real prospect of future commissions resulting from the win.

Below is a copy of the press release put out following the presentation.

230911 Santiago Townhouse Press Release

Monday, 19 September 2011

...our students meet up one evening...

Dr .Mervyn Miller and the company clerk, David Cole-Adams.

The reception for WCCA 'mentors' and their students, at Gibberd on 30 August 2011, was attended by a baker's dozen. The tube and other circumstances conspired to prevent more people being there. Dr Mervyn Miller gave a very informative presentation on the work of Oscar Niemeyer. Born 1907 and still working! It was fascinating to see the innovative forms that Niemeyer created in concrete, particularly in Brazilia. Most of the illustrations were from photographs taken by Mervyn during the Company's visit to Brazil in 2007, and included WCCA members in company with Niemeyer himself. 

Our host at Gibberd, Richard Biggins, gave a presentation on the work of the practice's founding partner, Frederick Gibberd (1908 -1984). It was enlightening to see the similarities and complete contrasts of almost exactly contemporary designers. 

I think we shall have to persuade Mervyn and Richard to do a repeat performance....

Bread, cheese and wine was provided by Rosemary Curry and Jaki Howes.

WCCA Students, Jennifer White & Linda Hagberg with WCCA 'mentors'.

Friday, 16 September 2011

More from Armourers' Hall

Monday September 12 saw the installation of Michael Wilkey (pictured left) as the Master for the coming year. He will be supported by Dr Mervyn Miller, Mrs Jaki Howes and Canon Dr Geoffrey Purves as Upper, Renter and Junior Warden respectively. Roger France, Master in 2009-10 , became Deputy Master. Nigel Thomson, having spent 7 years on the Court post his Masterdhip was elected asnan Honorary Assistant. Barry Munday and Anne Markey were elected and installed as Assistants while David Falla and James Walker become Assistants Emeritus.

At the lunch which followed the Court, the toast to the Guests was proposed by the Master and responded to by the newly installed President of the RIBA - Angela Brady (below right) who took the opportunity to set out her aims and aspirations for the two years she has in the post. The Master thanked her and wished her well as she sets out on a jouirney in what will be a difficult time for the architectural profession.

Valerie King, the wife of Immediate Past Master Edward of that Ilk, presented the 'Consort's' Badge to her successor (as 'Mistress' rather than wife to the IPM!), Susan Wilkey.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Installation Court and luncheon at Armourer's Hall - 12 September 2011

Two new liverymen; Philip Cooper and Ann Skippers
The new Master; Michael Wilkey
The new Upper Warden; Mervyn Miller
The new Renter Warden; Jaki Howes
The 2011 Master addresses the throng (and Angela Brady, the President elect of the RIBA)
The new squad in action...

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside (or near to it)

For what was a final hurrah the Master decided on an outing to what was, for him, almost home territory - a visit to Chichester on 26th and 27th of August. A modest sized party - those able to tear themselves away from the pleasures of their families and late summer holidays on the bank holiday weekend were rewarded with a real treat.

Visits included a meeting in the Council House with the Mayor - Cllr Tony French and a session there with local historian Alan Green.

Next up was a visit to the Pallant House Gallery - - which houses the legacy of Walter Hussey - Dean of Chichester who left a superb collection of modern British Art to the City on the condition that it would be housed in the early 18th century Grade 1 listed house. It has has been added to by other benefactors including architect Sir Colin St John Wilson. The building was extended in 2006 by Kentish and Long in association with Colin St John Wilson.

The group had a talk about the building from MJ Long and those willing to forego lunch took in the current exhibition of the works of Frida Khako and Diego Rivera.

There was an afternoon tour of the Cathedral and grounds (including those of the Bishop's Palace) led by the chief guide to the Cathedral.


Dinner was taken together.

The following day started with a tour of the historic St Mary's Hospital Almshouses in St Martin's Square led by architect Richard Meynal. The tour also included the the new buildings of the complex.

The remainder of the day was spent on a tour via West Dean College with its gardens to Singleton to look at Ted Cullinan's Gridshell Building and the other buildings which make up the Weald and Downland Museum..

Sated with culture, the members of the party were then delivered back to Chichester to make their own way back home or the the Festival Theatre.

Thanks are due to the Master for all his careful arrangements and to Tom Ball for the use of his photographs.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Election Court Dinner and the Joys of Giving

The Company's Annual Election Court Dinner followed the annual Service which was led by the Honorary Chaplain - the Rev Canon David Parrott and held in Hawksmoor's only City Church - St Mary Woolnoth. We had been driven from our customary home (and David's Church) - St Lawrence Jewry - by a Jazz concert scheduled for the same time in Guildhall Yard.

The dinner is the occasion on which the Company seems to give things away. Among our guests were four crew members from the RNLI Tower Lifeboat Station - Coxswain William Ellwood and crew members Sue Body, Paul Tattam and Richard Abbot. 

See here is William Ellwood receiving a donation from the Company to assist in the work of the RNLI.

Additionally, this is the occasion on which the Company's award to the person or organization which does most to raise the profile of the Architects Benevolent Society. This year's winner was Dawson Stelfox MBE who is one of those people for whom exercise and adventures are a way of life. He has climbed Mt Everest and, in order to raise funds for the ABS, has climbed practically there is to climb in Northern Ireland where his practice - Consarc is based. 

Dawson is pictured here receiving the award from the Master Edward King. This splendid trophy was painted by eminent architect (and ABS President) Dr Ken Shuttleworth.Close views of both front and back of the plate are shown below.

While presenting the Award, the Master also presented a cheque to the ABS Secretary - Keith Robinson (below)- assist the organization in the invaluable work they do for those in need on behalf of the profession.

The final presentation of the evening was made to Richard Brindley who accepted, on behalf of the RIBA, a contribution from the Company to the Institute's Student Hardship Fund.


The principal guest was the Richard Summers - the current President of the Royal Town Planning Institute. In responding to the toast to the guests, Richard spoke about the issues facing both his own institute and the RIBA in connection with the forthcoming Localism Bill.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

A new Liverymen, three new Freeman, and a new Student...and the 'Shard'

At the Election Court held in a meeting room at Guildhall, the meeting received several new members.  In a simple ceremony they were each welcomed into the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects of the City of London.
Liveryman Christopher Philip Johnson
Freemen; Messrs. Hopkins, Ioannou and Brooker
Freeman Peter Andrew Hopkins
Freeman Stella Ioannou
Freeman Grant Brooker
Student Member Jennifer White with Mentor Peter Muray

5 July 2011 - from the 'Wobbly Bridge'.
How well the famous Italian has come to understand the scale of London's mediaeval buildings...

Sunday, 3 July 2011

The WCCA Part I and Part II drawing prizes, 2011

Robert Ware, a RCA student,  won the WCCA Part II Drawing Prize 2011 with the drawing below:

Adam Shapland won the WCCA Part I Drawing Prize 2011 with the drawing below:
click on the images to see the drawings a bit bigger

Here are some of the 'runners up'

Part II: Henrietta Griffiths of Westminster
Part I: Ryan Roberts of London Met

Part II: Robert Grover of London Met

Seaton Delaval floor layout. Shapur Keshvari of Kingston.