Sugden, Derek (3 of 5). National  Life Story Collection: Architects' Lives

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  • Recording date

    2014-07-15, 2014-09-24, 2014-12-16, 2015-10-07

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home in Watford, Hertfordshire

  • Interviewees

    Sugden, Derek, (1924-2015) (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Dillon, Niamh (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 3: [Session three: 16 December 2014] DS started as resident engineer in Plaistow wharf in the London docks for Tate & Lyle in 1946, mentions separate dining rooms for different grades and how the war hadn’t changed views on social class. DG describes travelling through London in the post war period. [00:03:43] His optimism for the future. Talks about working on Wilford Toll Bridge in Nottinghamshire 1945 and remembers the election campaign of that year, recalls candidates for the Communist Party, DS interest in Marxism. His feelings about the Labour victory, reflects on their electoral success [00:07:28] comments on Clement Attlee and his qualities as a politician. [00:09:30] DS on the feeling of optimism after the Second World War - recalls his father’s retirement and his reluctance to purchase a house, his father’s reaction to material possessions. [00:13:46] DG feelings about the Cold War – he joined the campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. [01:17:18] DS thoughts on human nature and how we view the world – mentions the book Wickenstein’s Poker and how people recall events. [00:21:32] DG considers how he remembers – subjective remembering (mentions doing a masterplan at Ampleforth and meeting Basil Hume). [00;24:44] Mentions the period when he was Chairman of Arup Associates and how he resolved situations. [00:26:54] DG discusses his views on the end of the British empire – mentions recently reading three biographies of Martin Luther – partition of India. [00:32:51] DS discusses his move from Methodism to aesthetism – story about his father refusing to have a telephone – his father’s interest in spiritual life. [00:37:14] Taking exams in engineering in the early 1950s – his competence in engineering at the time, his wide experience in construction [00:39;23] Story about detailing hipped ends of a building for Carter Patterson and suggesting gable ends to the architect – [00:44:22] describes the relationship between the architect and the engineer in the late 1940s (engineers were part of the contracting team). [00:45:55] His passion for music, meeting his wife Jean in a prom queue in 1946 – anecdote about reading Emmanuel Kant in Foster’s engineering. Continues to discuss his passion for music, his interests in novels particularly 19th century novelists, discusses how he viewed his work at Arup. [00:51:22] Describes meeting Danish engineer Ove Arup for the first time at interview. [00:54:54] Explains what he knew of Arup before he started with the firm (Hunstanton school and Byrn Maw). [00:58:34] DS impression of Ove Arup – story about a management meeting – describes Ove Arup’s character. [01:01:32] Explains Ove Arup [OA] engineering background prior to Arup. [01:04:23] Story about celebrating Ove Arup’s 75 birthday with a concert by Benjamin Britten – OA good judgement when it came to choosing colleagues. [01:09:43] Talks about OA design for a chess set, reasons it didn’t sell well – why OA was so interested in chess. Briefly describes OA office. [01:14:32] Considers why OA picked him.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Derek Sugden, structural engineer. The interviewee died in December 2015, before the interview had been completed. Much of his work on acoustics is therefore not included.

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