Wednesday, 24 December 2014

100 Buildings, 100 Years: Views of British Architecture Since 1914

11th Oct 2014 - 1st Feb 2015

Organised in conjunction with the Twentieth Century Society, this exhibition showcases the extraordinary and often surprising variety of the last hundred years of British architecture.   The Society’s supporters have selected one building for each year since 1914.   

Three of the exhibits could be said to have a connection with the Progress Estate.   First, and most obviously, is the entry for 1915 – a house in Well Hall Road.   ‘Well Hall Estate’ was the Progress Estate’s original name.   Although the architect is described as Frank Baines it was, strictly speaking, HM Office of Works where he was the Principal Architect.

The second connection results from the by-now knighted Sir Frank Baines, when he asked Sir Edward Lutyens to design a monument commemorating those who had died on active service during the Great War.   Lutyens sketched it 1 whilst at dinner with his close friend Lady Sackville .   She added the annotation:

The catafalky as it will appear in Whitehall if Lord Curzon finally agrees to it.

Sir F. Baines of the Office or Works asked Mcned to design it for them, as they were quite at a loss to know what to do.

‘Catafalky’ is a phonetic spelling of the French word catafalque, a raised bier, box or platform used to support a coffin during a memorial service.   In due course it was decided to call the monument the Cenotaph, derived from the Greek κενοτάφιον.   The first syllable, kenos means ‘empty’ and the second, taphos, ‘tomb’.

McNed was Lady Sackville’s pet name for Lutyens and the nickname by which he was universally known.   In return, she was known as MacSack 2.   

The third connection is the entry for Sainsbury’s Eco-store, the superstore off the Blackwell Tunnel approach road near the Greenwich Dome, if only because many of we residents will shop there occasionally. 

For further information or to visit the exhibition, please see -

1 The sketch is in the possession of the Imperial War Museum and was photographed at the exhibition We Will Remember Them: London’s Great War Memorials, The Quadriga Gallery, Wellington Arch, London, 16th July to 30th November, 2014.   
2 Tim Skelton and Gerald Glidd, Lutyens and the Great War, Francis Lincoln Ltd, London 2008, p45.

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