Johnson-Marshall, Percy (1 of 3). National Life Story Collection: Architects' Lives

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  • Interviewees

    Johnson-Marshall, Percy, 1915-1993 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Crinson, Mark, (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Influence of early years in India and Iraq on Johnson-Marshall’s [PJ-M] later development; influence of his father and of meetings with archaeologists including Sir Leonard Woolley. PJ-M’s schooling in India and Britain; entry (following his brother, Stirrat) to Liverpool School of Architecture, 1931; influence of brother on PJ-M’s choice of career. C.H. Reilly’s teaching methods and influence. Classicism and Modernism in Liverpool curriculum; visits by Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van de Rohe; teaching methods and character of Patrick Abercrombie. Discussion of contributions to town planning of Abercrombie and Patrick Geddes. PJ-M’s friendship with Peter Shepheard at Liverpool; views shared with other students; acquaintance with Gordon Stephenson and Donald Reay. Reilly’s and Abercrombie’s social approach to architecture; teaching and character of Lionel Budden; teaching of sociologist Ruth Glass. Reasons for success of Liverpool School of Architecture in this period; patronage of Lord Leverhulme. Discussion of exhibitions and teaching by Gropius; PJ-M’s opinion of Bauhaus; influence of Bauhaus on architectural education and on Tony Cox, Leo de Syllas and Arthur Ling. PJ-M’s opinion of W.R. Lethaby. PJ-M’s first job (with Ivor Davies). PJ-M’s work with Donald Gibson at Coventry City Architect’s Department, 1936-1941; methods of the department; experimental designs for prefabricated houses; planning and landscaping methods; relations with Coventry council officials; influence of Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker on the department’s planning work. Discussion of planning law and local authorities’ planning powers in this period. Influence of the methods of the Tennessee Valley Authority (USA). PJ-M’s membership of the MARS Group (Modern Architectural Research Group); discussion of the group’s aims; influence of Clarence Stein and Lewis Mumford. PJ-M’s study with E.A.A. Rowse; discussion of influence of Rowse and Jacqueline Tyrwhitt on planning theory. Discussion of planning theory in relation to developing countries. PJ-M’s contribution to architects’ discussion group during Second World War service in India; setting up and conduct of Services’ Arts and Technical Organisation (discussion group of military personnel). Setting up of Army Polytechnic at Rangoon, for members of 14th Army awaiting demobilisation.

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