Cullinan, Edward (1 of 15) National Life Story Collection: Architects' Lives

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  • Recording locations

    British Library, London; interviewee's office and home, London

  • Interviewees

    Cullinan, Edward, 1931- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Dillon, Niamh (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Edward [Ted] Cullinan, [EC] Mentions his name – how he likes to be known. Describes the origins of the name Cullinan in Co. Clare, Ireland. Anecdote about the Cullinan diamond. [0:02:00] His paternal grandfather came to England to start a medical practice – he was a General Practioner [GP]. EC’s father born in 1901 and also followed a medical career [he was a consultant physician]. Mentions paternal grandfather’s early death. Maternal grandmother [Mabel Austin – check spelling] Paternal grandfather was King George VI’s doctor. EC describes how his parent’s met. [0:07:00] Reflects on medical training pre-Second World War. Explains how maternal grandfather became a physician – grandfather’s family were drapers. EC describes family drapery shop – how the customers paid for their goods. [0:11:00] EC mentions being raised a Catholic. Mentions the Horder family – their background as agricultural labourers – reflects on social mobility from trade to the professions and how trade was looked down upon. [0:14:00] Mentions what happened to the Horder drapery business – describes the interior of the drapery shop. [0:16:00] Continues to describe his grandfather’s decision to become a doctor. The book ‘A Little Genius’ was written about him by his son. [0:17:00] Describes his maternal grandfather’s character, his house, Ashford Chase, in Hampshire was designed by Inigo Triggs in Arts and Crafts style. [0:19:00] Describes the history of the house, describes the exterior of the house, its layout. [0:22:00] Mentions his maternal grandfather – Lord Horder, who had a Rolls Royce car. Reflects on aspects of the house which appealed to him, - mentions how Arts and Crafts originated in Britain and influenced overseas. Reflects on Arts and Crafts architecture. [0:25:00] His family house was in a Nash Terrace in Regents Park. His first memory was watching the Crystal Palace burn. [0:28:00] Talks about his mother who won the Gold Medal at the Slade School of Fine Art. EC was the oldest of four children, one of whom became a monk, mentions their religious upbringing as children, EC is now agnostic. [0:30:00] Talks about pollution in London – his memories of seeing coal barges on the Thames in London. [0:33:00] Describes family transport: his grandfather’s Rolls Royce, describes his father’s Hudson car, his mother’s Austin 7 car. [0:38:00] Mentions his grandfather’s mistress. Parents’ age when married – discussion of family’s religious faith. [0:41:00] EC was eight when World War II broke out – story about the family evacuating to Canada and staying with a Presbyterian family. [0:45:00] EC and siblings attending a French speaking school, then moving to Montreal and attending Lower Canada College – memories of his time there: the physical culture of the school. [0:49:00] EC feelings about being evacuated to Canada. Describes his home in Park Square West, London – the development of the area in the 1800s. [0:54:00] Describes the interior and the layout of the house: the 18th century glass and regency furniture collected by his father. His mother’s choice of Alvar Alto furniture for the nursery: the design division between his two parents. [0:56:00] Visiting the penguin pool at London Zoo designed by Berthold Lubetkin and loving it, reflects on sophisticated work that appeals to both sophisticated and non-informed alike. EC visiting Highpoint flats in Highgate, London – [0:59:00] anecdote about Lubetkin. [1:00:00] Mentions influence of his uncle Mervyn who encouraged EC to become an architect; anecdote about Mervyn pointing out different architectural styles to EC - reflects on the morality of aesthetics. [1:05:00] Talks about couples with contrasting views.

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