Grenfell-Baines, George (1 of 22) National Life Story Collection: Architects' Lives

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Preston

  • Interviewees

    Grenfell-Baines, George, 1908-2003 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Brodie, Louise, (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: George Grenfell-Baines' [GGB] outstanding memory of childhood was physical punishment. One younger brother Dick, they were wonderful friends. He was later creative as an engineer. Mother was very religious (Wesleyian Methodist), stern but loved fun. GGB was a very clever pupil at school. No money for the scholarship however.Everything was bound by their penury. Father's idea was a safe job with a pension. Mother discovered an advertisement for an open exam for a clerk in the rating authority in Preston. GGB took it aged 13 and came out top. Remembers father joyous that now he would be earning. GGB sad to finish school. A Broadwood piano came from mother's father, and GGB found he could play hymns. Parents paid for lessons for him, from Miss Simmonds. Story about finding the black keys. Mother's great gift to him was a sense of curiosity, and keen competitiveness. She always wanted him to come top. He loved maths at school, and writing compositions. He was exceptionally good at mental arithmetic and calculations. His first boss took GGB out surveying and it was an odd shaped piece of ground. GGB judged it correctly due to knowing about Pythagorus' theorem. Boss said he would make a good surveyor, but he should be an architect. GGB didn't even know what the word meant, and hadn't got the money anyway.

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