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Dr Sarah Walford

Sarah WalfordAfter graduating in Ancient History and Archaeology from the University of Birmingham, Sarah worked on various archaeological sites before joining Staffordshire County Council. Producing measured surveys of historic and vernacular buildings in the Lichfield area resulted in a position with an architect's firm in Derby and work on a range of projects from Hardwick Old Hall, Derbyshire, to the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. From there she moved to Coventry to join an architect specialising in the conservation of historic buildings and ancient monuments.

The gradual move away from archaeology led to an MA in Architectural History at Keele University and the realisation that she found twentieth century architecture far more fascinating than holes in the ground. Through the MA she discovered Donald Gibson, Coventry’s first City Architect, and the treasure trove of post-war work carried out in the city. Her dissertation explored a selection of Gibson's innovative and experimental housing projects and the importance of his and Coventry's roles in post-war architecture.

The MA was followed by a decade of involvement in major repair and conservation works at Holy Trinity Church, Coventry, but in 2005 a PhD studentship, with the Sir Basil Spence AHRC Research Project, offered the opportunity to return to post-war architecture and to examine the position of the architect, in the private and public sectors of the profession, through the careers of Sir Basil Spence and Sir Donald Gibson.

A search for some light relief from contract documents and architectural drawing, led to an HNC in Fine Art. She is now a part-time lecturer in painting techniques for the History of Art Department at Warwick University, whilst continuing her research into Coventry and Sir Donald Gibson.

Published work:
'List of Works' in Louise Campbell, Miles Glendinning, Jane Thomas (eds), Basil Spence: Buildings and Projects (London: RIBA, 2012).

'Building for Education: The School Designs of Sir Basil Spence', in Architectural Heritage, vol. 22 (2011), pp.137-156. Available Online November 2011.

Unpublished work:

'Architecture in tension: an examination of the position of the architect in the private and public sectors, focusing on the training and careers of Sir Basil Spence (1907-1976) and Sir Donald Gibson (1908-1991)'. PhD thesis, University of Warwick, 2009. Online in WRAP.


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