The Project to Record Arts and Crafts Buildings in Surrey
The Council sees this project to create a database of buildings as an essential part of the Society’s purpose. Its aim is to provide a resource not just to its members, but with the aid of the new website to a much broader audience. Sarah Sullivan has been making progress on this project with an enthusiastic commitment to the research involved.
Initially the Society has designed and produced a basic fact sheet or pro-forma. This record sheet provides the basic index in a systematic method to give essential information on each property. The aim is to log not just the well-known properties, but those not listed and therefore potentially at risk of demolition, redevelopment or unsympathetic extension or alteration. The database may thus contribute to the future safeguarding of buildings at risk. The fact sheet is a simple word document that can be filled out by hand or straight onto the most basic computer. There is space for a photograph to provide a visual reminder.
The database formed so far covers the complete works along with associated structures of the architect Charles Harrison Townsend (1851-1928).
Secondly after the pro-forma has been filled in, the next stage is that of more extensive recording. This entails a closer investigation, documentary study to discover the history of the property, collection of architectural information and photographs. Photographs alone are not always adequate to record an Arts and Crafts property and diagrammatic sketches, however crude, are always useful and indispensable to the understanding of any layout or detail. The Society has undertaken limited studies of the like to date, but there is much to be done. This information, in the second phase of recording, will have restricted access, unless it has been previously published or is already in the public domain.
We have been in consultation with the Surrey West Architects Group of the RIBA to compile a database of the greatest buildings of West Surrey led by Damien Blower. This is a group that also intends to compile a record and publish on a website.
Our research is aimed at creating an invaluable long-term resource and collecting the data is an ongoing process that any interested member of the Society with a little spare time can assist with. You do not need to be an architect, just have an insatiable wonder at our built environment and recognise the need to record what we have today, as tomorrow it may be lost forever. The key to the success of this project is that anyone can participate.
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