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Voysey’s indexed address book

The Voysey archive at the RIBA includes an indexed address book in a single volume containing many hundreds of addresses of relatives, friends, clients and business associates. The book was deposited by the Voysey family in 1941 and is catalogued by the RIBA under reference VoC/2/2. It is undated but entries would seem to range from the 1890s to the 1930s, so covering most of Voysey’s working life.

The book is written largely in Voysey’s own hand but some entries are by others, presumably the hands of his assistants when he maintained a working office.

The volume is an invaluable research tool, containing the whole range of contacts through which Voysey developed his business. With this in mind the Society has transcribed the address book in full in order to provide members with easy access to contact names, which may take our researches in many directions. Such access also significantly reduces the need to consult the original, which is in a fragile state.

As would be expected, many of the earlier entries are connected with St John’s Wood, where Voysey lived for a number of years and would have built up contacts, including through its local Arts Club. London addresses generally are very strongly represented, particularly those in Westminster, the City and Hampstead.

Many entries are crossed through, replaced later in the book with new information, so individuals may feature a number of times with newly added postal codes and telephone numbers. The London postal code system (W1, WC1, EC1 etc) was adopted in 1917 so some of the revisions can probably be dated from around that time. For others there is only one entry, either untouched or crossed through, presumably as Voysey lost touch with individuals for various reasons.

Included are many familiar names from the period, such as Alma Tadema, Ashbee, Baillie Scott, Betjeman, Cobden-Sanderson, De Morgan, Dicksee, Gill, Gertrude Jekyll, Lutyens, Mackmurdo, Norman Shaw and Unwin. Of equal interest are notable absentees: no Gimson, no Ernest or Sidney Barnsley, no Morris or Webb, no Glasgow School Mackintosh or Macnair.

Only in a minority of cases does the address book give information about the individuals (a few references to silversmiths, architects, decorators etc.) and no indication of the projects they worked on apart from a handful of examples. The Society intends to develop a broader database from the address book, seeking to link contacts made through the Art Workers' Guild, the Arts Club and other areas that were important parts of Voysey’s life, as well as to specific client contracts.

Transcript of the address book

  • Copy in original entry order (PDF, 243KB)
    In the original, entries were added as the acquaintance was made (or as their address changed) and so are not in strict alphabetical order within each letter. Although undated, the sequence of entries should give some indication of whether Voysey made the contact early or late in his career.
  • Copy sorted into strict alphabetical order (PDF, 256KB)
    Sorting the entries into strict alphabetical order reveals some duplicates, which have been removed in this version.

In both versions of the transcript some obvious misspellings have been corrected or an explanatory note has been added in square brackets. The transcribers have tried to be as accurate as possible but Voysey’s handwriting is not always clear to the 21st century eye and errors may have been made. We welcome comments and corrections: please contact us.

Page last amended 1st January 2019