Dannatt, Trevor (1 of 13) National Life Story Collection: Architects' Lives

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    British Library, London

  • Interviewees

    Dannatt, Trevor, 1920- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Powers, Alan, (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: The name Dannatt supposedly Huguenot. Grandfather George Dannatt, provision merchants and grocers in Greenwich, owning several shops, which became The Blackheath Village Stores. He retired early, did good works, was member of Congregational Church. TD and his brother also attended Congregational Church, but preferred to go to Maze Hill rather than Blackheath where their father went. TD rebuilt Blackheath Congregational Church after bomb damage. The Rev. Price at Maze Hill was a pacifist. TD's uncle, P. B. Dannatt, ran a boy's club at Maze Hill. Was probably homosexual, a bachelor, very respectable and withdrawn.Grandfather died when TD was 11. TD's father was the eldest of six children. They lived initially in the Circus in Greenwich, and then moved up to Westcombe Hill Road, where they were involved in a development of six houses probably designed by the architect George Sherrin in the 1880s. TD's parents were directors of the shop, which was eventually sold to Cullen's. Grandfather was a strong Ruskinian, intersted in the arts. His brother Will Dannatt started a surveyors and estate agents (dealing with lettings and maintenance rather than sales), under the name Blake and Dannatt. TD's father joined with firm, and his elder brother (still alive, five years older), was made to go into it, rather against his will. Trevor was considered the sensitive one, who was allowed to do architecture. His brother in later life achieved some reputation as an abstract painter and music critic. Description of Dannatts and others living in the Sherrin houses. His grandmother a Boothroyd from Southport, also Congregationalist, and various uncles, specially Cedric. who lived in Paris. Father's passions were photography and philately. His collection of Chilean stamps was famous and he once went to Buckingham Palace to show them to King George V. He ran a stamp club which circulated a box of stamps for sale. TD's parents met at Sandon, IoW. Account of mother's family, Wood, from Pudsey, one of twelve children. They married in 1914, and his mother was 40 when TD was born (in 1920). Describes parents' marriage. She was Anglican, daughter of a farmer who diversified into coal business. Description of Pudsey with mills standing in fields of rhubarb, and dye let out into the streams, steaming and coloured. TD and his brother used to go to Pudsey regularly at Easter and enjoyed being there. Their aunt Norah was a schoolteacher and bashed away at the piano and they did charades. TD's mother was sensitive, and hypochondriac, frustrated, never integrated with Blackheath society. She was one of the first women secretaries, to a mill company, and proud of it. Went to Canada for a year to visit her brother in Vancouver, and had an affair there. Married not long after coming back. TD's home life was very bourgeois, in a large house (formerly his grandfather's house). He was allowed to paint a mural on his bedroom wall. Parents were generous and did not push them too much.He went to Cole's School (then Cole's Grammar School), which was very good, and had a new headmaster at the time, G. W. Morris.

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