Goldfinger, Peter (16 of 33) National Life Story Collection: Architects' Lives

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    Interviewee's home, London and the British Library

  • Interviewees

    Goldfinger, Peter, 1933- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Courtney, Cathy (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 16: Attitude to PG amongst others at training camp. PG posted to Larkhill, Salisbury Plain. Was kitted out to go to Korea, got as far as Woolwich and was told were going to Germany instead, details. PG drove jeep, had got driving licence approx age 17 in London. EG and UG had old Daimler, 1936 model. Attitude to potentially having to fight during military service and in retrospect. Thinks National Service took public school snobbishness out of him and did him good; attitude of possible reintroduction National Service. came out of National Service in May 1954 and went up to Trinity, Cambridge in the autumn. Was mystified by Cambridge at first. Inferiority complex due to not being an officer. Had forgotten all had learnt to get into Cambridge, details. Struggled with work in first year and failed same exam at end of the year that had previously passed from school; decided not to go for Honours Degree but to take pass degree in engineering. Worked hard during remaining years. Was interested in production engineering, management theories and non-technical side in particular. Operations theories, etc coming through from USA. Nearly all text books even on engineering side were American. During summer holidays worked in factories, PG worked for Heywood Tyler, pump manufacturers in Luton. Technology of building pumps, details. Manufactured pumps for atomic energy systems. Good research department. Lived in Harpenden with wife. After had been with factory for approx 6 months, firm was taken over by another firm which wanted to streamline activities; all bright engineers and PG, graduate apprentice, got the sack. PG wanted to sue the new firm, had limited success. Several of the others got jobs on M1 motorway, which was being built at the time. PG acted as chain man on M1 for approx 3 / 4 months Roger White, PG’s wife Gabrielle and PG on holiday to Yugoslavia 1958, went to Brussels World Fair, details. PG’s awareness of women’s fashions, would draw even as a schoolboy. Barbara Golan, 1940s, ‘50s model. Googie Withers, PG’s pin-up as a schoolboy. Not very conscious of music until Cambridge; wife interested in Latin American music and jazz. Factory in Luton experience began as holiday job and then returned after graduation. Further details PG’s time at Cambridge. Rugby Football. First year, shared rooms with Argen de ranier gala, Singalese, father and grandfather had been at Trinity; remained a friend of PG, studied engineering. A worked for Ministry of Water in Ceylon. Japanese friend, Italian Charles Friends from Trinity with whom PG keeps in touch. Experience of being in army gave PG different attitude from keen young undergraduates. Didn’t want to attend graduation ceremony. Social life took place mainly in own rooms, PG not a great pub goer. Impact of architecture of Cambridge. Sister’s architect friends. PG didn’t get on with engineers, found them conservative. Alan Buchanan, became civil structural engineer, is one of the engineers with whom PG stayed friends; retired early, now does paper restoration, designed book cradles to enable photographs of the pages to be digitised for records which sells all over the world. Architects PG knew from university days included Cedric Price, who was in love with Liz Goldfinger. Degree to which LG and PG’s worlds overlapped. Relationship CP and EG. CP a theoritician. Sylvester Bone, worked for EG for a while, worked for Camden Architects’ Dept. Father was Stephen Bone, PG went to a lecture on Monet by SB at Cambridge. SB married to Mary Adshead. Bones lived nearby in Hampstead. Slightly uneasy when friends went to work for EG. PG worked in EG’s office. Memories of drawing isometric of circular staircase. Between school and army and between army and going to Cambridge. Office in Piccadilly opposite the Ritz in house of Mason Pearson (hairbrushes). Rundown building; ICA beneath father’s office. Went to ICA with parents. ICA moved to Albermarle Street, met first wife at New Year’s Eve party there. ICA exciting at this period, lectures by Professor Burnel, high-powered scientist, talking on Platonic solids, details. Idea of the time to move science and art closer together, now much more commonplace.

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