Knock on the off-chance, or write in advance? – a Voysey voyage of half a century

Applications are now invited for the Society's online meeting on Saturday 16th October 2021, starting at 6pm (London time). Non-members are welcome.

Our speaker will be Richard Havelock. He says:

"It was at the age of 12 that I first fell under the Voysey spell when I was entranced by a drawing of one of his houses. Eight years later I discovered Pevsner and The Buildings of England and, as a student in London, the wonders of the RIBA Library. Inspired by John Betjeman's writing and television documentaries, and spurred by encouragement from John Brandon-Jones's kind response to a letter I had written, I set off on an exciting voyage to discover Voysey's wonderful buildings which continues today and has been greatly enhanced by the opportunities provided by the Society. Coinciding with my own quest was also a renaissance in the study and appreciation of Voysey's work, from the dearth of any available information fifty years ago to the rich plethora today.

"My talk, beginning with my own awakening and explorations, will continue with reflections on the architect, some of his buildings and their owners, and those who commissioned them. The illustrations will range from early photographs taken with an 'Instamatic' camera, to more recent digital images. In conclusion I shall describe some of my recent discoveries about Voysey connections near to me in Reading."

Richard is a retired dental clinical director. He trained at King's College Hospital, London, and, after hospital posts in maxillofacial surgery and paediatric dentistry, moved into public health. Following retirement in 2011, he was a member for several years of an NHS Research Ethics committee.

Richard's architectural enthusiasms are mostly concentrated on the late 18th to mid-20th century, especially the Arts & Crafts movement, in particular Voysey, Lutyens and their contemporaries. He has been a member for many years of the Victorian Society, the Lutyens Trust and the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain. He says:

"I was delighted when the Voysey Society was formed, and fortunate enough to attend the inaugural meeting in 2011 at Broad Leys, a superb house which stands favourable comparison with the contemporary work of Frank Lloyd Wright. My Voysey favourites include 'Moor Crag', 'The Pastures', 'Perrycroft', the Hans Road houses in London, and, not least, his own house, ‘The Orchard’, all of which I first visited many years ago. I am intrigued with Voysey’s ingenious use of sloping sites, techniques and materials, and his controversial position with regard to modern architecture. I have a long-standing interest also in medical history, and am chairman of the medical museum at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. I am a National Trust volunteer guide, and give talks on medical history and local architecture."


This event is free for members. A charge of £5 per head will be made to non-members.

Joining instructions

In view of the Covid19 pandemic and its consequences, we are holding a virtual event on this occasion, via the well-known Zoom service. Instructions on how to join will be provided when you book.

How to apply

Please complete our online application form.

Richard Havelock

Above: Our speaker, Richard Havelock.
Below: Littleholme, Kendal, exterior and interior. The house was designed by Voysey in 1909 for furniture maker Arthur W. Simpson.

Littleholme, Kendal

Littleholme, Kendal

Littleholme, Kendal

Page last amended 20th June 2021