Beside every great architect... Felicity Morgan

Saturday 4 April 2015

John Morgan September 19th, 1923 - March 31st, 2015

John Morgan, soldier, architect, husband to Felicity and father to David, Adrian, Miranda and Nichola, grandfather and great grandfather, died on the afternoon of 31st March, peacefully, at home, with Felicity and his family nearby, all of whom had assembled in good time to say goodbye and sit with him for a while. 

There is no pretending he had not been in distress and pain for some days prior, breathing with great difficulty, virtually sightless and with little or no hearing, but the presence of his family must have been a comfort. 

Indeed his final hours were calm, as if he knew what he wanted (as always). Furthermore he was drawing  plausible, but by then totally impossible schemes for the further "modification" of Durlston Wall right up until a few days before he died, to the consternation and frustration of those close to him!

There will be a private cremation and details of donations to John's chosen forces charities will be published alongside a short obituary in the Swanage newspaper and a notice in the The Daily Telegraph.

Sunday 18 January 2015

Old Friends

John Morgan cannot be said to be in the best of health these days. The old soldier is suffering from a number of the usual complaints that come with age, including painful ankles, a legacy of an old war wound (he jumped into a swimming pool which happened to be empty at the time and had to go on parade next day). These things catch up with you.

I am sure that both he and Felicity would be delighted to get in contact with any old friends reading this, although John's hearing is also not as good as it used to be. I SAID "YOUR HEARING FATHER IS NOT AS GOOD AS IT SHOULD BE."


Mother is in perhaps better shape physically, although they both need constant care, provided by an excellent Polish woman who is now beating them both at scrabble.

Give them a bell sometime. They would love to hear from you.

Friday 5 October 2012

A Post war Architect Remembers John D Morgan ARIBA

After spending five years in the army with the 1st King's Dragoon gUARDS, and five years at the Bartlett School of Architecture on a government grant, I got married to Felicity, while at university, and we lived in a bed-sit in Charterhouse Square. While at UCL I was asked to design a house in Woodford for a fellow officer who had decided to get married. Incidentally, after the war there were many restrictions including obtaining licence to build, size of house, amount of timber etc. Although I got all the approvals to design and build the house, they did not get married.

After graduating in 1951 there was little work for architects apart from work on war-damaged buildings. After a short spell with Seely & Paget in Cloth Fair when I worked on repairing part of the old Charterhouse, which had been badly damaged in the Blitz, I moved to the offices of Guy Morgan (no relation) in Eaton Square. He managed to practice contrary to the Rules of the Estate behind lace curtains, and we propped up our drawing boards on top of the billiard table in case we were visited by a building inspector.

Charterhouse Square
I was given a free hand in designing buildings on bomb damaged sites for his clients including one on the comer of Piccadilly and Half Moon Street for Charles Williams, a surveyor and property developer.

On the birth of my second son, Adrian, I found it financially difficult to survive on £600 a year. Although Guy Morgan made future promises to increase my salary, I decided to quit. I walked back along the Embankment to Charterhouse Square, wondering how to break the news to Felicity.

While working at Eaton Square, I had managed to design a house for Mrs. Goody near Petworth and a house in Epping Forest. Unfortunately, a few days after leaving Eaton Square, the client told me that she had decided not to build.

I set up my drawing board on the old desk in the sitting room at Flat 115 as we had taken over my father's flat as he was posted to Germany to be the Chairman of the Council of Voluntary Welfare Workers. Somehow, I was lucky in building a house for Sir Arthur and Lady Saunders and also a house at Oxted and another smaller house in Oxshot.

Sometime after I set up my board, I received a call from my landlord's secretary which I thought might be due to not paying the rent, however, it appeared that she asked me downstairs to meet Mr. Rees-Reynolds to have breakfast with him. Unbeknownst to me, he had met Charles Williams and heard that I had designed his building in Piccadilly. As a result, after doing one or two small jobs for him, he asked me to help another architect who he was employing to redevelop a bomb damaged site in Broadwick Street. I got on well with Norman Aylwin and redeveloped the building.

When I got the job to rebuild Lambs Conduit Street I felt that I needed assistance. By this time Rees-Reynolds had rented me a small flat at the back of Charterhouse building. I managed to persuade David Branch to leave his senior post with Seely & Paget to join me at the princely wage of £700 per year. The tiny kitchen was turned into a secretary's office for our temp and the bathroom to house the drawings and files etc. We also employed Felicity to do some one-fingered typing, make the tea and clean the office.

Rees-Reynolds asked me to look at another damaged building in Lambs Conduit Street. He suggested I use a well-known structural engineer, WV Zinn. Having rebuilt the building we had a stone-laying ceremony where the engraved stone should have been well and truly laid but while we were enjoying our lunch it was probably knocked by some one and I suspect the coins had been removed!

My cousin, Eileen Andrews, and her husband Charles, who I had hardly ever met, contacted me out of the blue as they had bought a bomb-damaged building and garden in Audley Square, Mayfair. They wanted a mews house on the garden site facing Red Lion Yard. Having built it, I fell out with my cousin over the colour of the paint in the dining room. However, soon afterwards, she sold the house to Huntingdon Hertford, an American millionaire who owned most of the shopping centres across America but only came over to London occasionally. He was once headline news in the London papers for locking up his mistress in the mews house.

Kenneth Rees-Reynolds then introduced me to Sidney Corob who was a young developer hoping to make his fortune. I designed two office buildings for him in Old Street but had difficulty in getting my fees. However all was well in the end.

While I was at university I had decided to join the Inns of Court Regiment in Chancery Lane as I had seen an armoured car driving down High Holborn with an officer wearing a bowler hat in the turret, an umbrella in one hand and a microphone in the other. At that time we kept our armoured cars in Greys Inn Square, which had been badly bombed. We had fun driving them around the city and West End at weekends and down to Bisley for training.

Life became too hectic in our flat with two boisterous children so I managed to get a room on the fourth floor of a building in Conduit Street next door to a fellow architect, Stephen Garrett. However, after a short time with little work I returned to Charterhouse Square when David Branch joined me and we got a small flat, which we turned, into an office. I then took on ‘Shady’ Lane, an ex-submariner and quantity surveyor as I thought I could keep him fully occupied dealing with the war-damage commission. Unfortunately, this work never really materialized although he kept us in fits of laughter. He left us eventually to set up his own firm.

To be continued...

Part 2

With David Branch now aboard and ex-submariner 'Shady' Lane as quantity surveyor, albeit briefly, the practice looks for new business...

 Harold Waterman was recommended by Sidney Corob to be the engineer on the two office buildings in Old Street. At the same time he recommended me to Mr. Shane, a developer cum solicitor who I first met on a site at Wray Park, Reigate which he wanted to develop for 18 houses. We produced a layout for the site and designed and built three of the houses, the remainder he sold off separately. He was a very difficult client to satisfy but somehow David Branch managed to deal with him. We won a tender competition for a shopping development on the outskirts of Cheltenham and then later another in Plymstock when Dick Ashendon was the director of Kirk & Kirk who were the builders. On a return trip by train from a site meeting at Plymstock I suggested to David that he might like to be a partner. We agreed there and then to a split of 60-40% on a hopeful profit. From that day onwards to the end of the partnership some twenty-five years later we never discussed finance or even a Partnership Agreement.

We had by now moved to a vacant floor in a new building in Great New Street behind Fleet Street occupied by Westminster Press. By this time we were not only employing a very glamorous secretary-cum-receptionist (who couldn't type very well!) but also a staff, which included David Roberts, who had recently joined us, two Polish architects, and a total staff of twelve. We were still cramped in our flat in Charterhouse Square with two rapidly growing young sons.

One evening, we were invited to dinner with a fellow KDG, Christopher Bostock, who had become my accountant and looked after the books. We were impressed by their house only to be told that they rented it from Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust at £130 per annum. I asked how we could get on the bandwagon and sure enough a few weeks later we were offered a house in Thornton Way which had been requisitioned during the war and was in a bad state of repair. However the Trust agreed at their own expense all the repairs to the 3-bedroomed house and we were given a cheque of £50 for the redecoration. We paid a princely sum of £120 per year. It was a joy to have a house designed by Lutyens with a drawing room, dining room and kitchen with attached garage and garden on all three sides. However there was little or no heating but it was magic after a year when we could finally afford to carpet it.

Harold Waterman who had been the structural engineer on the buildings in Old Street had met a senior member of Roussel Laboratories who had their offices in the Harrow Road. Unfortunately his acquaintance had been sacked and Harold was not welcome. However I was asked to attend a meeting with the pharmaceutical company and met Gordon Davidson who was their company secretary. Although the company desperately needed larger and better premises they were hampered by the Government's policy of moving factories to the North of England. I spent many weeks with their works manager travelling to the north of England in vain.

In the meantime a sister company, UCLAF, sent off a team led by an ex French submariner commander to find and build a factory for making silicon chips. However, because of the importance of this new venture to the Government, we received all the necessary permits on a bleak site in south London. Having got the brief, we met the clients only to find that our first solution was not what they wanted so we borrowed a drawing board and, and three hours later, we reconvened the meeting and design was approved by the clients. Somehow JT Luton had chosen to build the complicated factory with a mass of transformers to produce the high energy required to make the silicon chips. The work was completed in less than nine months, having started the work before we had received building approval.

One day Mr. Luton rang for an appointment although we had finished the UCLAF factory. He suggested he might help us by introducing us to the works manager of Yardley in Stratford East as they were proposing to build a soap-making department and thought we might be interested.

I met Mr. Keegan and, one day while I was in his office, the managing director Mr. Rodney Gardner came into the office and we were introduced. He then took us both in his Bentley to look at a site he had seen that might be suitable to build a new factory. Nothing came of this as they were unable to get the all-important Industrial Development Certificate and, once more, they were directed to the north of England. However, a few weeks later, when I was at the Inns of Court for a drill evening, I met a colleague who was a member of a family property company. He told me that his company owned a large site near Aylesbury, which had an IDC, which was not required. At my next meeting with Rodney Gardner I mentioned this piece of news. After consulting their company solicitor they bought the land for £500,000 and used it as a bargaining point to persuade the Ministry to swap it for an IDC in Basildon which had always been their preferred location for their East End workforce.

Tom Copeland was my Squadron Leader in the Inns of Court and also Secretary to Joseph Sandle Builders Merchants. He asked me to prepare drawings to improve his office and yard in Waterloo Road adjacent to the Station. Unfortunately, nothing came of it as the whole site was sold to the Union Jack Services Club. Joseph Sandle was amalgamated with Perkins to become Sandle Perkins and we were employed to build their offices in Aylesford in Kent. My fees for this work were paid in kind i.e. timber and doors, which went on to build my own house, Durlston Wall in Dorset! The company is now Travis Perkins, a large public company.

Although I did not meet Charles Williams again he kindly passed on my name to Mr. George White who rang me one day when we were in our tiny office in Charterhouse Square with David and one assistant and part-time secretary, he stated that he did not like working with small firms. Luckily he asked me to visit him at his motor showrooms and offices in Finchley, as he was the chairman of W Harold Perry, the main Ford dealers. He wanted to build new motor showrooms and workshop at Edgware. David and I designed the building, which included a freestanding lift and staircase in the middle of the showrooms, as he did not want to walk upstairs to his new offices. Later on we built another showroom in Whitchurch Lane and a tractor workshop at Potters Bar. As we were now working for Ford main dealer I felt that I had to dispose of my old Hillman which I had bought for £75 and invested in a Ford Consol and a few years later in a Zephyr.

David Duckworth who was also a fellow officer in the IOC had inherited an old cinema in the centre of Derby. He had returned from the USA with ideas of building a Motel having demolished the cinema. We persuaded him it was not suitable but could possibly be developed as a hotel. He found it difficult to get financial backing for the idea but managed to get a large firm of developers, Town & City, to underwrite a small shopping centre. I still remember being at the meeting on the day of the Russian convoy of ships carrying missiles to Cube being turned back by the Americans and the world breathed a sigh of relief. The development was not a great success as although it was only some fifty yards from the main shopping street it was still too far for Jo Public to walk.

We also built steel & bolt warehouse for Charles Crossland in Brockley next to the railway line, which caused some problems as the exact position of the boundary with the permanent way was not well defined as it was important for us to have a straight line so that the gantry crane could travel correctly.

Eileen Andrews once again contacted us as she was being pressed to sell her building in Audley Square and had employed John Stebbing, her solicitor, to advise her as it appeared that Conrad Hilton was endeavouring to acquire all the adjoining buildings in the Square to build his hotel as the corner site had already been badly damaged. This site eventually became a multi-storey car park. Luckily all this came to nothing as they found a larger site to build the hotel in Park Lane overlooking Hyde Park and also Buckingham Palace where the Queen was not amused.

However, soon after this, Eileen sold the damaged building to Warwick Films and we were asked to meet 'Cubby' Broccoli and Irving Allen who had recently arrived in the UK to make films. Typical Americans, they wanted the work of alterations to include a preview theatre in the rest of the gardens not already occupied by the Mews house, which we had already built. Considering the complexity of the work, somehow it was completed in record time and they moved in. From time to time we were asked for additional refinements including the first sauna bath in England. Sometime later we also converted the ground floor and basement in Soho Square into offices and a dubbing studio using the old cellars under the pavement as an echo chamber. By this time, Cubby Broccoli had started making the Bond films and all the rushes and dubbing were shown in the Audley Square preview theatre and dubbing studio, and many other films directed by his partner, Irving Allen.

Although we had not heard any more from Yardley, one day we were visited by a Mr. Campbell Horsefell, a retired director of Johnson & Johnson who had been instructed by Yardley to recommend a suitable firm of architects for their new proposed development in Basildon. Although I gather later that he inspected a number of leading firms at the time he chose Morgan & Branch of Great New Street to undertake this £1,000,000 development. We once again met Mike Keegan the works manager and were also introduced to John Cannell, a quantity surveyor from Gardiner & Theobold. John Bunce was appointed engineer and Taylor Woodrow the main contractor. Tony Palmer was their site agent who, many years later, became managing director of TW. This development went according to plan with happy clients. A few years later we were asked to double the size of the factory and warehouse and later still build their rectangular office block. A few years later the family firm was acquired by BAT. The tobacco company had little idea how to run a scent factory and they did not prosper for long. I gather that they had been particularly impressed with the design of the building.

To be continued...

Part 3

We were again running out of space in our offices in Great New Street. Out of the blue I received a call from Charles Harman Hunt who had been a partner of Kenneth Rees-Reynolds and had his offices in Mayfair. He told us that the flat opposite in Balfour Place had become vacant. After the War, when many offices in the City if London had been destroyed the planners had allowed residential buildings in the West End to be used as offices for a limited period. Balfour Place behind Park Lane and the Grosvenor Hotel was the ideal location for us as it consisted of ground floor offices and semi-basement with a small yard backing onto Purdy in Audley Street. By this time the firm had grown to about eighteen staff including a receptionist and Joan Glenn our personal secretary, and two more secretaries. Soon after we moved to Balfour Place, Roussel had found a site in Swindon and David and I went to Paris to their head office to meet their managing director and receive instructions as to their requirements. As they had recently built a factory in Mexico, I flew over to see their facilities. We then agreed plans of phase one of the laboratories, offices, production area and warehouse. The work was successfully completed and they went into production after moving from Harrow Road.

At about the same time that we were designing the factory for Roussel, John Cannell who was also on the Roussel contract was introduced to a new neighbour who had just arrived in England from Indianapolis, USA, to find a site for a new laboratory. Although Ely Lilly had an existing pill factory near Basingstoke they were looking for a site not too far from Heathrow so that they could be in contact with the States and also they wished to attract senior chemists and biologists etc. who were unwilling to move to Speke in the north of England which was a rather poor establishment.

I was introduced to John Larson and together we scoured the countryside looking for a large Green Field site. As a typical American, he thought that they could buy any suitable vacant piece of land, little appreciating our strict planning laws. However, one morning before meeting him, I saw a very small notice in For Sale Times, which I thought might be a possible site. We visited Earlwood Manor, Windlesham in the rain and decided that the large house and walled garden on an eighteen-acre site would be ideal so long as we could get the necessary permits and planning approvals. British Oxygen had been occupying the house but had decided to sell as they found it difficult to expand.

After a lot of arm-twisting by Eli Lilly at Ministry level, they got their permission subject to Bagshot local authority agreement. To make it easy for the members of the local planning committee, we had an impressive scale model made of the whole of the 18-acre site including the Manor House proposed laboratory extensions with all the existing surrounding trees on the boundary with the A30. Ultimately we received approval and John Cannell of Gardner & Theobold was appointed QS and John Bunce, Structural engineer. The work proceeded satisfactorily although the client insisted on a Critical Path Analysis, which, at the time, meant little to the average English foreman who was used to the old-fashioned Bar Chart.

Once again we were running out of office space although we had rented an annexe in Mount Street to cope with the Roussel workload. This time, David Branch, on his way to lunch, saw a lettings board on No.7 Tilney Street at the side of Alliance & Leicester Head Office in Park Lane. As the space was surplus to their requirements and semi-detached they agreed to let it to us on a short lease at a reasonable rent of £8,000 a year.

Not all jobs went like clockwork. One in particular took 12 years to complete. While we were still at Great New Street, WV Zinn, the structural engineer who had worked with us on the office building in Lambs Conduit Street asked us if we would help design a new cleansing depot for St. Pancras Council. The large site at Ashburton Grove adjacent to the marshalling yards was used for refuse collection with a long conveyor belt where old women sat dressed in sacking picking out the useful bits & pieces from the rubbish for recycling. All this in a dark Dickensian warehouse. We were asked to design new facilities including garaging for the refuse lorries, workshop and muster hall for the street cleaners.

Unfortunately, over the first few years the council sold off parts of the site and at the same time increased their brief. Eventually, we designed a very complicated four-storey ramped garage for the refuse lorries, workshops on the ground floor, muster hall and canteen and two vertical concrete hoppers for the salt and grit with gravity-feed to the gritting lorries below. It was decided to produce a model of the building so that the council could appreciate the complexity of the design. We also included, as requested, two flats on the top floor. When I presented the £1,000,000 plus design to the council members it was approved without a single voice of dissent. However, there was a long discussion as to the number of bedrooms as I feel that was all they could grasp to the complexity of the design. During the course of the development, the main contractor unfortunately went into liquidation with all the problems of security to the unfinished building to prevent sub-contractors from entering and reclaiming their equipment.

One evening I was summoned by Mr. Shane to meet him at Harrow. We wa1ked round a large triangle site behind the town centre with 40 prosperous houses. It appeared that the planning authority had zoned the whole area for commercial use much to the dismay of the occupants. However, having consulted their solicitors to no avail the penny suddenly dropped and they appointed a surveyor to negotiate the sale of the whole site.

Our client bought it for £500,000 and promptly sold a ha1f share to Mr. McAlpine for £500,000. All the occupants could not vacate their houses more quickly having each received at least 4 times the value of their houses. When the demolition contractors arrived they had left everything including the light bulbs.

We designed 3 ten-storey office buildings, which were obviously built by McAlpine. One was taken by the National Coal Board and one of the few problems we had was that Lord Robin, the chairman, wanted his boardroom on the 6th floor to have an open coal fire. The builder had to drill through 3 floors to provide a chimney. We also had proposed oil-filled boilers for the building however we were asked to go through the exercise of providing coal firing. However there was no room for coal-bunkering or ash disposal. All was solved in the end by tankers arriving called 'coal derivative oil' to the approval of the Miners' Union.

Some time later we were asked to design a building for the Inland Revenue in the centre of Redhill. Mr. Shane appointed Wyatt as main contractors. However when they started piling, the strata changed from one end of the site to the other with the consequence that instead of hitting stone they hit a spring, which flooded the site at one stage to a depth of 4 feet. As the site was adjacent to the main Brighton Road with all main services in the adjoining pavement some 10 feet above, at any moment the retaining wall was likely to collapse. The builders performed a magnificent job under extremely adverse conditions to shore up the whole length of the existing brick wall. The contractors ultimately completed satisfactorily. However I had to meet the chief inspector who informed me that as he was the senior member of staff with 25 years experience he was not only entitled to a desk, two chairs and a hat-stand but also to 150 square feet of floor space. He had measured his room (probably with a ruler) which he informed me was only 145 sq. ft. I apologized, and suggested he added the windowsills in his calculations!

I was summoned to Shane's office in St. James' Place to agree the final account. Due to the extensive problem with the flooding of the basement I had certified extra time and money on the original contract. Although he had originally agreed to this extra work, I realized at this meeting that I was dealing with a hard-nosed businessman, determined to make his fortune at all costs. I decided there and then never to deal with him again.

Unfortunately, at a later stage and against my advice, my partners designed and built a shopping centre in Doncaster which included a cinema for ABC and later on, they designed, when I was about to retire, an office building in Ashford, Kent for Mr. Shane.

It was mooted that the Channel Tunnel would be built starting at Folkestone and the proposed railway route to London would pass through Ashford. Shane had now formed a company called Equitable and Debenture and had bought a site and, once again, called on my long-suffering partners to design a 12-storey office block. It was proposed to clad the building with curtain walling. Anticipating problems, having already appointed William Moss as the main contractors, we appointed Alpine Windows for the work. To ensure that their design was satisfactory, a 2-storey mock-up was made of the mullions, which were tested with high-pressure water spray and found satisfactory. However, when the building was completed and occupied by the Ministry of Health, with wind and rain coming from certain directions, leaks occurred. Alpine tried to solve the problem with mastic sealants without success. Ultimately they checked their calculations and found that they had designed for a 30-mile-per-hour wind load and not 80 and that, although the aluminium profile of the mullions was the same, their thickness was wrong. The client sued them and they promptly went bankrupt. Under the Law of Tort the client then sued us for £2,000,000.

By this time, I had retired to Swanage but was still a consultant. David Branch and David Roberts took the brunt of the court case during a very hot summer, which took its toll on both them and the workings of the office. One day I was reading the Times and saw that Equitable and Debenture were selling part of its portfolio to Mr. Ritblat of Land Securities for £17,000,000. Although retired, I could not lose this opportunity to inform Mr. Shane that, over some 20 years, we had designed most of the developments he was selling, and as a result the firm was suffering as we had only insured with Lloyd's for £1,000,000. Apart from sending the letter to Shane, I sent a copy to David Branch who passed it on to our solicitors who were in the middle of fighting our case. I received a blasting from Mr. Stephen Ralph who reminded me that it was not correct to correspond with the opposition. The case dragged on and I was summoned to Lincoln's Inn to meet the solicitors with David. At this meeting, I was handed a check from Lloyd's for £1,000,000 in full and final settlement of our indemnity policy with them. Our first reaction was to cut & run to South America, however, we were advised to put the money on deposit.

The court case went against us and we finally paid the damages of £986,000 which included the solicitors fees leaving £24,000 which was divided equally the two Davids and myself, just in time to help pay for my daughter's wedding in July 1986.

To be continued...

Thursday 27 September 2012

A Post War Architect Final Part

While at Tilney Street, I received a letter from Reg Jenkins calling me to a secret meeting to discuss a possible project. The secrecy of the development was stressed to David and I as, at the time, Kodak were thinking of moving part of their factory north and had found a 500-acre site near Nottingham. They were having Union problems with, in particular, Film Finishing Department at Harrow. Films could only be processed in the dark and it was difficult to cut and splice and package in one large hall so not only did the operatives have to work in complete darkness with tiny light bulbs but the large number of machines would have to be maintained under very difficult conditions. It was only possible once a year to open up the hall after all the films had been removed for yearly maintenance and cleaning. This was not obviously the best solution to maintain staff cooperation and efficiency. They decided that if they could get a Green Field site a modern factory could be designed with better production and a reduced staff.

For months the proposed development was kept under wraps. Unfortunately, one of my drawings sent by post to Kodak ended in the wrong hands. Luckily we were not to blame and anyway the individual that opened the envelope did not realize the significance of the word ‘Annersley’ and the drawing was passed onto Reg Jenkins.

It was finally decided to develop the site and although it was ideal for a future development, it was adjoining coalfields, which could cause subsidence even though millers left pillars of support after mining but in time these collapsed After many meetings, Kodak managed to persuade the National Coal Board that, at a price, they would not mine under the Kodak site in perpetuity.

We first designed a general layout for the whole 500-acre site with entrance onto the main road and internal service roads, car parking areas and a large lake in the valley and the preservation of a small wood. We had to get approval from the Severn Trent Water Authority as well as agreeing the position of the sewage treatment plant.

Before we could instruct Sir Alfred McAlpine to start levelling the first two plateaus there was the problem of the 3 footpaths, which crossed the site. The Law of the Land forbids the interference of footpaths without Ministry approval. It was necessary to hold a Public Enquiry and representatives from the Ramblers Association, Friends of the Earth, etc. etc. were there in force and Kodak employed a QC to represent the company. It then took an age before approval was given and even then only for one of the footpaths. However it was essential to start before the autumn and dirty great earthmovers worked around the existing paths until finally, a few weeks later these were granted after we had installed an alternative route around the perimeter of the site. The footpaths, although beautifully constructed, were probably never used!

The development went ahead satisfactorily although I had a problem with the structural engineers, Frederic Rand & Partners, who had been appointed by Kodak. Unbeknownst to me, the firm itself was having a partnership crisis, the senior partners leaving and the principal's son trying to take control. The first phase was completed. Each machine in the factory was separated in light-tight compartments so that maintenance could be carried out without affecting other compartments. However there was one other main problem, although each of the compartments were contained with its own air-conditioning, the high relative humidity required meant that the air in the adjoining areas was laden with water that condensed with the cold pipes above and the underside of the metal roof which caused some condensation. This was eventually solved by increasing the insulation on the pipes and to the roof. I suppose, due to our work designing Kodak’s laboratory at Harrow, they went on to design the digital cameras and as a result the demand for film has fallen and I note that, very recently, the factory has closed.