Brett, Lionel (Gordon Baliol) 1913-2004

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BRETT, Lionel (Gordon Baliol) 1913-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born July 18, 1913, in Windsor Forest, Berkshire, England; died July 9, 2004, in Reading, Berkshire, England. Architect, rector, and author. Brett, who was the Fourth Viscount Esher, was best known for his work as an architectural conservationist and city planner in post-war Britain. After graduating with honors in history at New College, Oxford, where he earned a master's degree in 1936, he studied architecture under A. S. G. Butler and then became a partner in the firm owned by William and Aileen Tatton-Brown. Passing the Royal Institute of British Architects exam in 1939, he joined the Royal Artillery soon after. During World War II, Brett spent much of his time in England training gunners, although he did enter Europe not long after D-Day. After the war, he ran for the South Oxford-shire seat as a Liberal candidate, but lost the election. A brief stint as a planner for the city of Littlehampton prefaced the start of his own private practice, which mostly focused on housing. While never particularly noteworthy as an architect in his own right, Brett remained comfortably well off nonetheless, succeeding his father as viscount in 1963. During this time, he was most noted for his conservation survey of south Oxfordshire and for his study of York, the latter of which encouraged people to move back into the cities by incorporating improvements that made the city more amenable to modern living. Brett abandoned his architectural firm in 1971 to become rector of the Royal College of Art, where he remained until 1978, spending the rest of his life writing books and painting. Among his publications are York: A Study in Conservation (1969), A Broken Wave: The Rebuilding of England, 1940-1980 (1981), Our Selves Unknown: An Autobiography (1985), and The Glory of the English House (1991).



Guardian (London, England), July 13, 2004, p. 21.

Independent (London, England), July 13, 2004, p. 26.

Times (London, England), July 12, 2004, p. 24.

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Brett, Lionel (Gordon Baliol) 1913-2004

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