Home > About Voysey > Biography > White Book

The White Book

Voysey's personal record of his project expenses, written in his own hand in a white notebook and known as the White Book, is held in the RIBA Archive at the Victoria & Albert Museum (reference VoC/1/2). Together with the Black Book (recording his architectural and some other projects), his address book and the Museum's extensive collection of drawings, it forms the principal source of information about Voysey's architectural career.

The White Book is a 278-page ledger record of day-to-day expenses incurred on projects which he then billed to his clients. The ledger covers the period from January 1897 to April 1936, and so does not include information about earlier projects, the records for which seem to have been lost. Much of the information is fairly trivial - travel costs to meet clients, site visits, staff costs for preparing contracts and the like - but it also makes frequent references to suppliers such as Elsleys, Bainbridge Reynolds, Nielsen and building contractor Müntzer for example.

The White Book does not provide information about the estimates of project costs, nor materials used: these would have been handled separately through project specifications agreed between Voysey, his client, the builder and others. Nevertheless, it is safe to assume that if an expense is logged against a client, Voysey had commenced some form of activity even if it then came to nothing. In some cases only one item of expense was incurred while in others there are pages of listings and the dates on which the client reimbursed Voysey.

Most projects make reference to a client address but it is not always clear if the work to be carried out by Voysey relates to that address (for example alterations or decorations) or to another address (for example new build, or decoration of the client's second home).

In addition to the list of project expenses, Voysey has also recorded on a single page in the White Book a handful of "expenses for Haslam" in 1897/98. Robert Haslam was Voysey's pupil from 1895 to 1898.

Summary of the White Book

For members only.

The Society has prepared this summary so that researchers may consult the material without handling the original, which is now in a fragile state. Whilst we have taken care, we cannot be held responsible for errors and misunderstandings. Researchers may wish to check the original for certainty. We welcome comments and corrections: please contact us.

Page last amended 1st January 2019