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Alec Clifton Taylor

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Name  Alec Clifton-Taylor

Role  Writer
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Died  April 1, 1985, London, United Kingdom
Education  The Queen's College, Oxford
Books  The cathedrals of England, Buildings of Delight, English stone building, Six English Towns, Six More English Towns

Alec Clifton-Taylor OBE (2 August 1907 – 1 April 1985) was an English architectural historian, writer and TV broadcaster.


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Biography and works

Alec Clifton-Taylor Alec CliftonTaylors Lewes Revisited a talk on Monday 11 July

Born Alec Clifton Taylor (no hyphen), the son of Stanley Edgar Taylor, corn-merchant, and Ethel Elizabeth Taylor (née Hills), in 1907 at Whitepost House, Overton Road in Sutton, Surrey, Clifton-Taylor was educated at Bishop's Stortford College and at the Queen's College, Oxford. He went on to the Courtauld Institute of Art. During World War II he served in the Admiralty.

Alec Clifton-Taylor Alec CliftonTaylor Six English Towns 1978 16 Chichester

His best-known and most influential book is The Pattern of English Building (1962) (ISBN 0-571-14890-5), an examination of the architectural vernacular. It orders its subject according to the building materials and methods used in England. Two of his other books are studies of ecclesiastical architecture: The Cathedrals of England and English Parish Churches as Works of Art. Along with Nikolaus Pevsner (to whose Buildings of England series he was a contributor) and John Betjeman, Clifton-Taylor is considered one of the three most significant figures in the study of English churches.

Alec Clifton-Taylor Alec CliftonTaylor Six More English Towns 1981 46 Lewes

Clifton-Taylor gained his greatest public recognition late in life through his work for the BBC. After being introduced through Pevsner to BBC arts producer John Drummond, Clifton-Taylor presented a television programme on mediaeval building in the series on British architecture, The Spirit of the Age, broadcast in 1974–75. Clifton-Taylor went on to present three extremely popular series of 30- or 40-minute BBC programmes: Six English Towns (1977), Six More English Towns (1981), and Another Six English Towns (1984), in which he visited Chichester, Richmond, Tewkesbury, Stamford, Totnes, Ludlow, Warwick, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Saffron Walden, Lewes, Bradford on Avon, Beverley, Cirencester, Whitby, Bury St Edmunds, Devizes, Sandwich and Durham, discussing their history and architectural character in an accessible and courteous (if uncompromising) style. Each series was accompanied by its own book, and DVDs of the three series were released in 2016/7.

Alec Clifton-Taylor Alec CliftonTaylor Another Six English Towns 1984 26

Clifton-Taylor was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1982 for "services to the study of architecture".

Alec Clifton-Taylor BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs Alec CliftonTaylor

Clifton-Taylor believed that local materials had to be used for buildings to look 'right', and was therefore critical of much Victorian and subsequent architecture, erected after the railways had facilitated the transport of cheaper materials alien to a particular locale. He also regarded the Victorians as aesthetically poor restorers.

His other books are Buildings of Delight, English Brickwork (with Ronald Brunskill) and English Stone Building.

Personal life

He lived in Kensington, west London, for much of his life, and was president of the Kensington Society, an organisation devoted to preserving the borough's architecture and open spaces. The Alec Clifton-Taylor Memorial Garden is located behind St Mary Abbots Church in Kensington.


Alec Clifton-Taylor Wikipedia

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