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ULIV Staff Hol - Archive of the University of Liverpool: Papers of William Graham, Baron Holford of Kemp Town

Archive of the University of Liverpool: Papers of William Graham, Baron Holford of Kemp Town

Reference gb 141 ULIV Staff Hol
Held at University of Liverpool Library, Special Collections and Archives
Dates of Creation 1902 - 1985
Physical Description 288 boxes, oversize items
Name of Creator Holford, William Graham (1907-1975) Baron Holford, architect
Language of Material All of the material is in English unless otherwise stated
Cataloguing Info [ hide ]
Title Archive of the University of Liverpool: Papers of Lord Holford, 1902-1985
Author Listed by H R Jones (1982); finding aid converted to EAD by Larysa Mitchell and Roy Lumb.
Publication University of Liverpool, Special Collections and Archives April 2003
Creation Created using Xemacs Open Source Text Editor April 2001-April 2003
Language Usage The finding aid is written in English

Scope and Content


  • Records of Lord Holfords international visits: Australia (D147/AU) from the 1950s on and relating to his role as consultant from 1958 to 1970 to the National Capital Development Commission, Canberra; South Africa (D147/SA) regarding his development plan for the City of Durban in conjunction with R.H. Kantorowich, as planning consultant to the City of Pretoria, consultant for the Cape Foreshore Project and an assessor in a competition for Johannesburg Civic Centre.
  • Consultancy papers (D147/C): reflecting the diversity of Lord Holford's work in the UK as an individual or through his firms; covering his involvement in plans for the reconstruction of post-war London (with C H Holden), Piccadilly Circus, the Precincts of St Pauls, Cambridge and Corby (with H M Wright), the Army Museum Chelsea, United Liverpool Hospitals and Eton College; he acted as consultant to the expanding Universities in the late fifties and early sixties, Oxford and the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth.
  • Central Electricity Generating Board (d147/EB) of which Lord Holford was a part-time member from 1958 to 1973.
  • Financial Papers (D147/F): matters relating to the running of Lord Holford's firm of William Holford and Partners, based in London, Liverpool and Edinburgh.. Historic Buildings Council Papers from 1953-1975. These records are not complete, though contains routine correspondence of Lord Holford with his accountant, H.W. Pople of Liverpool.
  • Lectures and Articles (D147/LA): texts of lectures given by Lord Holford plus lecture notes, texts of articles, invitations to lecture which were refused, also includes notes for lectures at University College London. He meticulously preserved the texts of all the lectures and articles. Other papers from University College are to be found in their own section (D147/UCL), but these are very piecemeal concentrating only on departmental matters around the middle sixties and do scant justice to Lord Holford's tenure of the Chair of Town Planning.
  • The Membership of Societies (M): correspondence and papers of particular groups and societies, such as various Brighton and Hove Societies, the Civic Trust, the Georgian Group and the London Gardens Society, includes also professional clubs such as the Surveyors Club and the Bond.
  • Personal material (D147/P): contains Lord Holford's diaries, notes, private correspondence, personal documents, biographical notes and list of publications, press cuttings and details of his properties in Liverpool (80 Bedford Street), London (5 Cambridge Terrace and 20 Eccleston Square) and Brighton (133 Maring Parade).
  • Records of the Royal Institute of British Architects (D147/RBA): during the years of Lord Holford's presidency his activities and the influence he was able to bring to the questions of architectural politics of the time.
  • Staff and References (D147/SR): wide variety of references by Holford, also includes applications for positions within his own firm.
  • Trustee (D147/T): contains complete sets of agendas, minutes and papers for the periods during which Lord Holford was associated with particular committees.
  • Other Activities section (D147/OA): includes records relating to Holford as an assessor in various competitions and projects, includes Calder Bridge, Yorkshire and New Ways, London, The Commonwealth Arts Festival of 1965, The Countryside in 1970, as well as his work for the Artists General Benevolent Institution and for the Architectural Association.
  • A further deposit of material used by Mr. Richard Gray, a partner of Lord Holford in writing a biography (D147/8): includes various personal papers, a Biography, projects and writings by Holford, photographs, negatives and slides, correspondence and Marjorie Brooks' personal papers.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Graham Holford, Baron Holford of Kemp Town (1907-1975), architect and town planner, was born in Berea, Johannesburg, Transvaal Colony, on 22 March 1907. He was educated at Parktown School, Johannesburg and at the Diocesan College, Rondebosch, Capetown (1920-1923) before becoming as assistant at the firm of architects, Cowin, Powers, and Ellis in Johannesburg. In 1925 Holford travelled to England to study at the University of Liverpool, in the School of Architecture, under Professor C.H. Reilly. He graduated with first class honours in 1930. After graduating Holford travelled and studied in Italy for three years, during which time he held a years Scholarship in Architecture from the British School in Rome. In 1933 he became Senior Lecturer and Senior Demonstrator in the School of Architecture at the University of Liverpool, in the same year marrying Marjorie Brooks (1904-1980), a Rome Scholar in mural painting.

In 1936 he was appointed to the Lever Chair of Civic Design, a post which he held to 1947. He also undertook work for the Ministry of Supply as Chief Architect for Ordnance Factories and Hostels (1939-1942) and for the Ministry of Town and Country Planning as Chief Technical Officer (1943-1946). In 1948, he became Professor of Town Planning at University College London until his retirement from this position in 1970. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he acted as consultant to the expanding universities giving his services at St.Andrews, Exeter, Kent, Nottingham, Oxford and the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth. During his career Holford sat on many committees, including the Royal Fine Art Commission, the National Joint Council of Architects, Quantity Surveyors and Builders, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Royal Society of Arts and the Automobile Association. He was a trustee of Sir John Soane's Museum, the British Museum and the Institute of Landscape Architects; President of the Bluecoat Society of Arts, Liverpool and of the Housing Centre; a Governor of Bedford College, Wye College; and the Centre for Environmental Studies; Vice-Chairman of the Centre for Urban Studies; Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths Company and Vice-President of the Modular Society.

Holfords work was not confined to the British Isles. He also visited and worked widely in Australia and South Africa. He also worked in Brazil (where he was an assessor in the competition for the new capital, Brasilia), Canada (where he was an assessor in a competition for Toronto City Hall and Square), America (where he spent the 1951-1952 academic year at Harvard), Hong Kong, Lebanon, Singapore, Israel, Iran and Yugoslavia. He also made a visit to pre-war Germany to study recreation and physical training centres and to Greece in the 1930s to study Classical recreation and physical training centres Architecture.

Holford was the recipient of many honours during his career including a knighthood in 1953 a life peerage in 1965 and the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture in 1963. He was President of the Royal Institute of British Architects from 1960 to 1962 and in addition received honorary degrees from Durham, Liverpool, Oxford, and Exeter universities.

System of Arrangement

The archive has been arranged as follows:

Papers of William Graham, Baron Holford of Kemp Town:

  • D147/AU - Australia
  • D147/C - Consultancies (British work);
  • D147/EB - Central Electricity Generating Board;
  • D147/F - Financial Matters;
  • D147/HBC - Historical Buildings Council;
  • D147/LA - Lectures and Articles;
  • D147/M - Membership of Societies;
  • D147/OA - Other Activities;
  • D147/P - Personal Material;
  • D147/RBA - Royal Institute of British Architects;
  • D147/SA - South Africa;
  • D147/SR - Staff and References;
  • D147/T - Trustee;
  • D147/UCL - University College London;
  • D147/V - Visits Abroad.
  • D147/7 - Holford: Additional Deposit (formerly D147/726, 727, 728)
  • D147/8 - Holford: Supplementary Material (formerly D147/1-6)

Conditions Governing Access

There are access restrictions to certain classes, in particular, the Historic Buildings Committee papers are subject to the provision of the Public Record Acts

Acquisition Information

Lady Marjorie Holford per Mr E A Manisty of Stephenson, Harwood and Tatham [Solicitors], Saddlers Hall, London, an executor of Lord Holford (1976) and Richard Gray (decd) per Em Prof Myles Wright 25 Jun 1976 (D147/7) 7 May 1982, 13 May 1982 and 25 Feb 1986 (D147/P31/2)

Custodial History

The papers became the property of the University by a Deed of Assignment in 1981.

Related Material

D287 - Papers relating to the lives and careers of the holders of the Lever Chair of Civic Design; see Faculty of Social and Environmental Studies (SES)

Separated Material

Architectural Drawings of Lord Holford in the RIBA Drawings Collections, London

Access Points

Liverpool University Faculty of SES Civic Design
Liverpool University Faculty of SES Architecture
Liverpool University Staff
Personal Names
Holford, William Graham (1907-1975) Baron Holford of Kemp Town, architect
Gray, Richard (d 1982) architect
Wright, Henry Myles b 1908 Professor of Civic Design
Corporate Names
Central Electricity Generating Board
William Holford and Partners
Royal Institute of British Architects
Historic Buildings Council
University College London
Geographical Names
South Africa
England London
England Liverpool
Hong Kong

Holford Papers (1907-1975)

Reference D147/AU - V
Physical Description 15 series

Australia (1950 - 1970)

Reference D147/AU
Physical Description 18 series

Adelaide (1961 - 1962)

Reference D147/AU1
Physical Description 1 item

New University at Bedford Park, R W Gray, with notes by WGH of meeting 6 July 1962 on back of plan (Dec 1961)

Reference D147/AU1/1
Physical Description 4pp +2 plans(1 typescript)

Australia - 1950s (1948 - 1957)

Reference D147/AU2
Physical Description 10 files

Itinerary and programme for WGH visit to Australia (2 Aug-4 Sept 1951 )

Reference D147/AU2/1
Physical Description 4pp, 2 copies(2 typescripts)

Notes made by WGH during Australian tour: (1951)

Reference D147/AU2/2

Outward journey (2-4 Aug 1951)

Reference D147/AU2/2/(1)
Physical Description 3pp

Notes on Town Planning and Regional Development in the Five States of Australia (Aug 1951)

Reference D147/AU2/2/(2)
Physical Description 5pp

Discussion on WGH paper `A critical analysis of planning policy and administration in Great Britain' (2pp). Also synopsis of paper (5pp) (10 Aug 1951)

Reference D147/AU2/2/(3)
Physical Description 7pp

Notes on talk by C S Daley on Canberra (10 Aug 1951)

Reference D147/AU2/2/(4)
Physical Description 3pp

Notes and outline of address at Albury, New South Wales (14 Aug 1951)

Reference D147/AU2/2/(5)
Physical Description 2pp

Notes on Town and Country Planning Board, Melbourne (16 Aug 1951)

Reference D147/AU2/2/(6)

Notes of discussion at O'Shannassy Quarters of Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (17 Aug 1951)

Reference D147/AU2/2/(7)
Physical Description 2pp

Notes for address at meeting in Hobart sponsored by the Tasmanian Board of Reference, Planning Institute of Australia (20 Aug 1951)

Reference D147/AU2/2/(8)
Physical Description 1p

Notes for address to Western Australian Branch of Planning Institute of Australia at Perth and on discussion with Town Planning Board (24 Aug 1951)

Reference D147/AU2/2/(9)
Physical Description 6pp

Notes for address to Town Planning Institute at Adelaide (28 Aug 1951)

Reference D147/AU2/2/(10)
Physical Description 2pp

Discussion at First Meeting of Federal Planning Institutes of Australia (30 Aug 1951)

Reference D147/AU2/2/(11)
Physical Description 1p

Notes for recording The Land of Australia broadcast from ABC Sydney made (31 Aug 1951)

Reference D147/AU2/2/(12)
Physical Description 1p

Other notes made during visit (2pp) (Aug 1951)

Reference D147/AU2/2/(13)
Physical Description (14 manuscripts)

Press cuttings on WGH visit (2 Aug-4 Sept 1951)

Reference D147/AU2/3
Physical Description (9 cuttings)

Photograph of WGH (1951)

Reference D147/AU2/4
Physical Description (1 photograph)

Notes, programmes and correspondence (1951)

Reference D147/AU2/5
Physical Description (66 items)

Scope and Content

Correspondents include A W Fadden (Acting Prime Minister), C L Hewitt (Official Secretary, Australia House, London W.C.2), C J Farrington (President, Town and Country Planning Institute of Australia), (Sir) Robert Menzies (Prime Minister), C Abrams (New York), P F Harrison (Organising Secretary, 1951 Federal Congress), Professor D Winston, R W Hewison, G V Allen (Vice-Chancellor, University of Malaya, Singapore), D W Logan (Principal, University of London), A H Killick (Secretary, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), C F Trathan (Secretary, Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works), Sir Patrick Abercrombie, Veronika Coltof (Accountant, Bellevue Hill, New South Wales), A Ashton (Architect, Sydney), T S Weir (Werribee, Victoria), Taylor Welch and Co., (Gerringong), C E Moore (Department of Works and Housing), C S Daley (Department of the Interior), W Prest (Professor of Economics, University of Melbourne), Niel Abercrombie (University of Melbourne), R J H Risson (Chairman, Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board), N J C McCombe (Town Clerk, Freemantle), H E Maiden (County Clerk, Cumberland County Council, Sydney), W R Laurie (Architect, Sydney), J J Sheils (Deputy Director, Ministry of National Development) and G Walkley (North Adelaide) on 1951 visit, 1951

Civic Development (A Review of News and Opinions compiled (1951)

Reference D147/AU2/6
Physical Description (1 periodical)

Scope and Content

and distributed every two months by the Cumberland County Council, Sydney) - short article anticipating WGH visit - No. 1, May 1951

The Riverlander No. 62, Sept 1951: the Valley with An Exciting Future, by WGH (1951)

Reference D147/AU2/7
Physical Description (1 periodical)

Copy for the above article, 2pp (1951)

Reference D147/AU2/8
Physical Description (1 manuscript)

Correspondence with L C Dawkins (Adelaide, 1948), Secretary (South Australian Harbours Board 1952), and L S Gillard (The Illawarra Planning Authority, New South Wales, 1954) (1948; 1954)

Reference D147/AU2/9
Physical Description (4 letters)

Other notes by WGH: ()

Reference D147/AU2/10

With Mr. Luker (1p) (26 Oct 1951)

Reference D147/AU2/10/(1)

Conversation with Sir Leslie Melville (Vice-Chancellor, Australian National University), (1p) (13 June 1957)

Reference D147/AU2/10/(2)

Notes for talk Some splendours and miseries of of capital cities at dinner Australian National University (2pp) (19 June 1957)

Reference D147/AU2/10/(3)

Notes for ABC Guest of Honour Programme, (2pp) (23 June 1957)

Reference D147/AU2/10/(4)

Notes for slide-lecture: Townscape and Landscape in a Compansion of Cities, Lower Art Gallery Perth (2pp) (3 July 1957)

Reference D147/AU2/10/(5)
Physical Description (5 manuscripts)

Black and white, photographs (1951; 1957)

Reference D147/AU2/11
Physical Description (7 bundles)

Canberra - Accounts and Fees (1958 - 1968)

Reference D147/AU3
Physical Description 2 files

Accounts and correspondence (1958 - 1968)

Reference D147/AU3/1
Physical Description (176 items)

Scope and Content

With J W Overall (NCDC Commissioner), Alliance Assurance Company Limited (Bartholomew Lane, London E.C.2), Official Secretary Office of the High Commissioner for Australia (Australia House, Strand, London W.C.2), G Ma unsell and Partners (7 Cleveland Row, London S.W.1), Robson Air and Sea Forwarding Limited (¾ Houndsditch, London E.C.3), R B Lansdown (NCDC Secretary and Manager), British Overseas Airways Corporation, Blake Hefford and French (Modelmakers, Southwick, Sussex), Dr H Zinram (Photography for Industry, 6 Wellington Place, London N.W.8), Manager, Martins Bank Limited (68 Lombard Street, London E.C.3), N R Griffin (NCDC Assistant Secretary Manager), R W Gray (WH + P), Manager, Reserve Bank of Australia (8-10 Old Jewry, London E.C.2) and L W Engledow (NCDC Assistant Secretary and Manager)

Agreement between NCDC and WH + P, signed by WGH, with Capital Hill, Design Brief No. 17/62 (16 Aug 1963)

Reference D147/AU3/2
Physical Description (2 typescripts, 17pp and 7pp)

Canberra - General Correspondence (1958 - 1968)

Reference D147/AU4
Physical Description 1 file

Notes, notes of meetings (series in June 1959) and correspondence (1958 - 1968)

Reference D147/AU4/1
Physical Description (488 items)

Scope and Content

Including letters of:

  • R W Gray, with E J Harrison (High Commissioner for Australia);
  • Sir Ivor Evans (Provost, University College London);
  • Professor D Winston (University of Sydney);
  • B H Taylor (Librarian, The Australia National University);
  • British Overseas Airways Corporation;
  • A Fairhall (Minister for the Interior and Works);
  • Sir Robert Menzies;
  • A D Trendell (The Australia National University);
  • Officials of Department of Interior, Canberra (A.C.T.);
  • George Wimpey and Co., Ltd (Hammersmith Grove, London W.6);
  • R W Gray (WH + P);
  • P Harrison;
  • J W (Sir John) Overall (NCDC Commissioner);
  • E M Birkett (G Maunsell and Partners, London S.W.1 and Melbourne);
  • Sir Lancelot Keay;
  • W C Andrews (NCDC);
  • G Rudduck (Assistant Commissioner, NCDC);
  • H N Mason;
  • L Howe (Editor of Publications, The Royal Australian Institute of Architects);
  • J F Kirkpatrick (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill Architects, California;
  • R B Lansdown (NCDC Secretary and Manager);
  • E Davies (Editor, Traffic Engineering and Control);
  • H W Wells (Chesterton and Sons, Chartered Surveyors, London W.8);
  • K Newis (Ministry of Works, London S.E.1);
  • H I Ashworth (Professor of Architecture, University of Sydney);
  • H M Rolland, Viscount De L'Isle;
  • G Freeth (Minister of State for the Interior and for Works);
  • L W Engledow (NCDC);
  • W Bunning (Messrs. Bunning and Madden);
  • F Stower (WH + P);
  • Editor, The Times;
  • C Stein (New York);
  • Machinery Publishing Co., Ltd (Brighton);
  • Professor G Stephenson (University of Western Australia);
  • Sir Daryl Lindsay;
  • Ove Arup and Partners (13 Fitzroy Street, London W.1);
  • N Lichfield;
  • Professor C Buchanan (Imperial College of Science and Technology);
  • Miss Sylvia Crowe;
  • D K R Hodgkin (The Australian National University);
  • G E Roberts (NCDC, Director of Architecture);
  • H Oakman (NCDC);
  • C Alves d'Souza (Brazilian Embassy, London W.1);
  • A Higgins (NCDC);
  • C D Morgan (Secretary, Institution of Structural Engineers, London S.W.1);
  • R McGrath (Co. Dublin);
  • G Walkley (President Australian Planning Institute);
  • D A Speechley (Secretary, Australian Planning Institute Jubilee Conference at Adelaide, Aug 1967);
  • Sir Thomas Bennett;
  • J Toon (Editor A.P.I.J.,Department of Town and Country Planning, University of Sydney);
  • R K H Johnson (NCDC);
  • J C Haskell (WH + P);
  • P Reid (Director, Architecture (Design) NCDC).

Canberra - Grenfell Rudduck (1957 - 1967)

Reference D147/AU5
Physical Description 3 files

Notes for a portrait of Grenfell Rudduck by WGH (1965)

Reference D147/AU5/1
Physical Description 19pp,(1 manuscript)

Letter to WGH from G Rudduck from Harvard University Pakistan Project Field Office (Jan 1957)

Reference D147/AU5/2
Physical Description (1 letter)

Correspondence and memoirs sent to WGH by those who knew G Rudduck, together with extracts (typed) from his diary (1965-1967)

Reference D147/AU5/3
Physical Description (1 bundle)

Canberra - Plans, Press cuttings and Photographs (1951 - 1968)

Reference D147/AU6
Physical Description 3 files

Plans and drawings (some by WGH) of Canberra, WH + P and NCDC (1957-1965)

Reference D147/AU6/1
Physical Description (19 items)

Australian Press cuttings (1957-1968)

Reference D147/AU6/2
Physical Description (1 bundle)

Photographs of Canberra and of models for work at Canberra, with four photographs featuring WGH ((1951 and 1957))

Reference D147/AU6/3
Physical Description (64 photographs)

Canberra - Reports (General) (1938 and 1966, not dated)

Reference D147/AU7
Physical Description 13 files

Handbook for Canberra Prepared for the Members of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science on the occasion of its Meeting held in Canberra (January 1939 (printed in Australia, 1938))

Reference D147/AU7/1
Physical Description (1 volume)