Cruickshank, Dan 1949-

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Cruickshank, Dan 1949-


Born April 27, 1949 in London, England; married; wife's name Victoria; children: a daughter. Education: Holds degrees in art, design, and history of art and architecture. Hobbies and other interests: Walking, looking at buildings, traveling, photography.


Home—East London, England. Agent—Charles Walker, PFD, Drury House, 34–43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA, England.


Architectural critic. Writer/presenter of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) programming, including Britain's Best Buildings, What the Industrial Revolution Did for Us, Iraq after the War, The Lost Tower, Towering Ambitions: Dan Cruickshank at Ground Zero, Around the World in 80 Treasures, Under Fire, One Foot in the Past, The House Detectives, and Egyptian Journeys with Dan Cruickshank, among others. Robert Adam Architects, London, England, historic buildings consultant, 1999—. Visiting professor, Department of Architecture, University of Sheffield; member of the London faculty, University of Delaware. Member of executive committee of Georgian Group; member of Architectural Panel of the National Trust.


Honorary fellow, Royal Institute of British Architects.



(With Peter Wyld) London: The Art of Georgian Building, Architectural Book Publishing (New York, NY), 1975, revised edition published as Georgian Town Houses and Their Details, Butter-worth Architecture (Boston, MA), 1990.

(With Colin Amery) The Rape of Britain, P. Elek (London, England), 1975.

(Editor) Timeless Architecture, Architectural Press (London, England), 1985.

A Guide to the Georgian Buildings of Britain and Ireland, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 1985, Rizzoli (New York, NY), 1986.

(With Neil Burton) Life in the Georgian City, Viking (New York, NY), 1990.

(Editor) Banister Fletcher, Sir Banister Fletcher's A History of Architecture (20th edition), Architectural Press (Boston, MA), 1996.

(Editor) Architecture: The Critics' Choice: 150 Masterpieces of Western Architecture, Watson-Guptill Publications (New York, NY), 2000.

Invasion: Defending Britain from Attack (companion book to the BBC series of the same name), Boxtree (London, England), 2001.

The Story of Britain's Best Buildings (companion book to the BBC special of the same name), photographs by John Parker, BBC Worldwide (London, England), 2002.

The Story of Britain's Best Buildings, photographs by John Parker, Firefly Books (Buffalo, NY), 2003.

(With David Vincent) Under Fire: People, Places and Treasure in Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel: An Eyewitness Account, BBC Books (London, England), 2003.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea: The Place and the People, Third Millennium (London, England), 2004.

Around the World in 80 Treasures, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 2005.

Editor, Architects' Journal, Architectural Review, and Perspective on Architecture.


British architectural critic Dan Cruickshank has written and edited a number of volumes, including, with Peter Wyld, London: The Art of Georgian Building. James Lees-Milne reviewed the book in Apollo, noting that terraces in the Georgian style are being torn down at an alarming rate and that Georgian London is disappearing. The book was reprinted as Georgian Town Houses and Their Details, and Lees-Milne named some of the town houses of London that are in danger, including Swift's Gulliver. Lees-Milne wrote that in reading the book, one wants to "rush" out to view "the idiosyncrasies of windows, doorways, roof lines, cornices, and railings, and to sense anew the textures and courses of bricks, the channeling of stucco, and the detail of Coade stone carving."

A Guide to the Georgian Buildings of Britain and Ireland is a guide to buildings from 1714 to 1830, based on existing examples. Cruickshank first provides an overview of the various architectural styles, then follows with chapters on buildings in towns, buildings in the country, churches, commercial and engineering buildings, government and institutional buildings, and places of public resort. Choice contributor R.W. Winter commented that in drawing on his knowledge and understanding of building during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Cruickshank "has an amiable, often witty style."

Cruickshank offers three sections on the architecture of Great Britain, London, and Ireland. The Irish section was compiled in collaboration with the Irish Architectural Archive. Edward McParland, who reviewed the volume in the Times Literary Supplement, noted that for the first time since the 1914 publication of A.E. Richardson's Monumental Classic Architecture, Ireland "is taken seriously as an integral part of the study, and many buildings which are rarely illustrated outside monographs (Mereworth Church, 11 and 12 North Audley Street, Cork Gaol) are placed in the mainstream of stylistic development."

For those who feel it is only in recent times that we have been plagued by pollution, dirty streets, congestion, greedy real-estate developers, and shoddy construction, a reading of Life in the Georgian City, by Cruickshank and Neil Burton, will prove otherwise. The air of eighteenth-century London was thick with unburned coal dust, at least until Count Rumford invented a newer stove in 1796, the chimney of which was narrower and facilitated a cleaner burn. The streets were filthy and noisy, and human waste was removed during the night by men who came into the houses with their wooden tubs. The upper classes fled to the country, and the buildings of London tended to be rentals. Consequently, corners were cut in the basic construction of new buildings. However, the authors point out that when it came to aesthetics, care was taken to use the proper windows, paint colors, ornamentation, and trim. Some improvement came with the 1774 Building Act, which set down standards of construction, although they were not always followed. The homes had more reliable piped-in water from 1816 forward when wooden pipes were replaced with iron, which increased pressure enough to send it to upper floors.

The authors begin by providing a sampling of the activities of the urban middle and upper classes. Spectator critic Ferdinand Mount felt that the book "cannot help making the Georgian city sound like an attractive place to live in, even after every allowance has been made for the poverty and squalor, the banging of the nightsoil buckets in the small hours, the gentlemen pissing in chamber pots in the dining room after the ladies had retired, the stifling overcrowding at the routs remarked on by so many foreign visitors." Kerry Downes wrote in the Times Literary Supplement that although they were drafty and smelly, the Georgian town houses were probably more than adequate. "Their big windows and spacious and well-proportioned rooms," said Downes, "indeed make the better houses amply adaptable to modern life. In their heyday, the ratio of people to rooms was higher, for there were few possessions and many servants; the latter were included in the complement of the family, and generally outnumbered kith and kin in the reckoning." Journal of British Studies reviewer Lawrence E. Klein felt that "since most of us are not after practical advice on renovating a Georgian townhouse, the book is best approached as an encyclopedia with highly informative articles on intriguing topics."

Cruickshank is editor of the twentieth edition of Sir Banister Fletcher's A History of Architecture, which was first published in 1896. N.E. Bridges wrote in the Times Higher Education Supplement that although Cruickshank "has expanded the new edition to 1,800 pages and commissioned the rewriting of over thirty-five percent of the content, habitual users like myself will find reprinted again many of the beautiful drawings and historic photographs, still all in black and white."

Architecture: The Critics' Choice: 150 Masterpieces of Western Architecture, edited by Cruickshank, includes the choices of ten experts who chose buildings from the classical period to modern time. Each is described in detail, including the building's design, materials, construction, and the background of the period during which it was built. The architects include Michelangelo, Henry Aldrich, Antoni Gaudi, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The buildings include the Parthenon, Colosseum, and Wright's Falling Water. Choice reviewer W.S. Rodner felt that the Eiffel Tower, Chrysler Building and St. Basil's Cathedral "are odd omissions," but praised the writing, which he described as "succinct and instructive." Donna Seaman wrote in Booklist that unlike the jargon-filled articles that sometimes delve into this subject, "the architectural historians gathered here … bring a more generous passion to their work and a respect for clear writing."

Invasion: Defending Britain from Attack is the companion book to a BBC series, and The Story of Britain's Best Buildings is the companion book to a BBC special. In the latter, Cruickshank focuses on eight buildings that include Durham Castle, Windsor Castle, Cardiff Castle, Holyrood House, Tower Bridge, Blenheim Palace, Midland Grand Hotel, and Highpoint One. Library Journal's Martin Chasin called the volume "well written" and "carefully researched."

Further adaptations of television programs from Cruickshank include Under Fire: People, Places and Treasure in Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel: An Eyewitness Account, and Around the World in 80 Treasures. In the former volume, Cruickshank traveled to trouble spots to examine the effects of war on the architectural and cultural heritage of nations. Cruickshank and his film crew arrived in Iraq the year before the Second Gulf War began in 2003, but they were there to examine the twenty-five years of war and unrest previous to this time. As he wrote in the Architectural Review, "We wanted to look at its ancient sites, buildings and museums to discover what has been damaged through war and neglect and to reveal what is now under threat if military action is renewed. The object, ultimately, was to inform—to remind people in the West what is at stake, what could be destroyed, if the country is attacked." For his Around the World in 80 Treasures, Cruickshank journeyed to forty countries in just five months. These travels took him to six continents and included 80,000 miles on one hundred different flights. He visited eighty man-made and natural sites, from Cambodia's Angkor Watt to New York City's Seagram Building. He also focused on smaller artifacts of culture, such as the Volkswagen Beetle and carpet-weaving factories. As Cruickshank explained to Sarah Thomas of Travel Weekly, "All the treasures needed to be rooted in, or emblematic of, the place. They had to be old things, new things, big things, small things, all with a story to tell in their own right. In the end, the big claim is that I was trying to tell the history, the story of man's endeavours, beliefs, aspirational and cultural achievements—loosely, the story of civilisation." Accompanied by Cruickshank's diary entries and numerous photographic illustrations, the book is "ready-made for vicarious living by the armchair traveler," according to Booklist contributor Brad Hooper. Thomas, reviewing the television series of the same title, noted that Cruickshank "is a leading expert in architecture and is deeply passionate about the theme of objects being inextricably linked with the story of man and civilisation, which is the backbone of his latest series."



Apollo, October, 1976, James Lees-Milne, review of London: The Art of Georgian Building, p. 326.

Architectural Review, December, 1996, review of Sir Banister Fletcher's A History of Architecture, p. 88; March, 2003, Dan Cruickshank, "Letter from Baghdad," p. 32.

Booklist, October 15, 2000, Donna Seaman, review of Architecture: The Critics' Choice: 150 Masterpieces of Western Architecture, p. 403; September 15, 2005, Brad Hooper, review of Around the World in 80 Treasures, p. 24.

Bookseller, October 21, 2005, "Egyptian Fever," p. 45.

Choice, September, 1986, R.W. Winter, review of A Guide to the Georgian Buildings of Britain and Ireland, pp. 102, 104; January, 2001, W.S. Rodner, review of Architecture, p. 894.

Journal of British Studies, July, 1992, Lawrence E. Klein, review of Life in the Georgian City, pp. 294-300.

Library Journal, April 1, 2003, Martin Chasin, review of The Story of Britain's Best Buildings, p. 93.

New York Times Book Review, December 2, 1990, Martin Filler, review of Life in the Georgian City, p. 22.

Spectator, June 2, 1990, Ferdinand Mount, review of Life in the Georgian City, pp. 27-28.

Times Higher Education Supplement, November 8, 1996, N.E. Bridges, review of Sir Banister Fletcher's A History of Architecture, p. 28.

Times Literary Supplement, December 13, 1985, Edward McParland, review of A Guide to the Georgian Buildings of Britain and Ireland, p. 1424; May 11, 1990, Kerry Downes, review of Life in the Georgian City, p. 506.

Travel Weekly, March 18, 2005, Sarah Thomas, "An English Treasure," p. 36.


British Broadcasting Corporation Web site, (June 24, 2006), author biography.

Internet Movie Database, (June 24, 2006), author profile.

PFD Web site, (June 24, 2006), author profile.

Robert Adam Architects Web site, (June 24, 2006), brief author biography.