Robert Potter (architect)
6 October 1909|
|Died||30 November 2010(aged 101)|
|Alma mater||Regent Street Polytechnic|
|Practice||Brandt, Potter, Hare|
|Buildings||St Francis Church Salisbury, Church of the Ascension, Crownhill, South Stoneham Tower|
|Projects||Chichester Cathedral, Bodleian Library, St Stephen Walbrook, All Souls Church, Langham Place, St Paul's Cathedral, St Peter Mancroft|
Early life and education
Potter was born in Guildford, Surrey on 6 October 1909 to Jack Potter, an engraver who worked on printing blocks for Bank of England bank notes, and his wife Florence. After school he studied Architecture at the Regent Street Polytechnic.
Potter moved to Salisbury in 1935 aged 26, establishing an architectural practice there. Within three years he was commissioned to design St Francis Church in the city, which has subsequently become a listed building. In the Second World War he served the Royal Engineers in northern India where he was involved in constructing road and rail networks to enable troop movements to the war in the Far East. He attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel during his wartime service.
After the war he returned to Salisbury and began a professional partnership with William Randoll Blacking, who had studied under Sir Ninian Comper and was known for his design and conservation work on ecclesiastical buildings. Their partnership lasted 11 years, after which Potter established his own firm with a new partner, Richard Hare, based in De Vaux House in Salsibury.
Potter's designs included military and residential buildings (such as the extensive extension to South Stoneham House in Southampton) but his primary focus was on church architecture; in 1958 his Church of the Ascension, Crownhill in Plymouth was consecrated and in 1959 he started work on St George's Oakdale in Poole. Potter's practice expanded in 1967, being renamed the Brandt, Potter, Hare Partnership and opening an office in Southampton.
Potter's work was not purely focussed on new builds, he was involved in substantial renovation works to a number of well known buildings including Chichester Cathedral, Oxford's Bodleian Library, St Peter Mancroft (the largest church building in Norwich) and St Stephen Walbrook, All Souls Church, Langham Place and St Paul's Cathedral, all in central London. He became well known for creating community rooms under the foundations of ancient church buildings and earned the nickname "The Mole" as a result. In addition to his work on the buildings themselves, Potter was noted for his designs of fixtures and fittings including organs, crosses, candlesticks and fonts.
In 1989 Potter's designs were used to extend the St Edward the Confessor Roman Catholic Church in Chandler's Ford, Hampshire, the original building of which had been designed by Potter's first professional partner, William Randoll Blacking.
Potter was awarded the OBE in 1993.
Potter married his first wife, Geraldine Buchanan, when he moved to Salisbury in 1935. They had three children together but divorced in the early 1960s. He married again to Margaret and had two step children. He enjoyed watercolour painting and sailing, having obtained a master mariner's certificate.
The notable buildings that Potter designed or worked on include:
|Year||Building||Image||Location||Potter's role||Building status|
|1938||St Francis Church Salisbury||Salisbury, Wiltshire||Architect||Grade II listed|
|1955–1977||Chichester Cathedral||Chichester, West Sussex||Assisted with renovation; established masons' workshop||Grade I listed|
|1958||Church of the Ascension, Crownhill||Crownhill, Plymouth, Devon||Architect||Grade II listed|
|1960s||St Peter Mancroft||Norwich, Norfolk||Architect (roof replacement)||Grade I listed|
|1964||South Stoneham House||Swaythling, Southampton||Architect of major extension including 17-storey tower block||Grade II* listed|
|1967||All Saints Clifton||Clifton, Bristol||Architect (rebuilding)||–|
|1970s||St Paul's Cathedral||City of London, London||Surveyor to the Fabric||Grade I listed|
|1976||Lincoln College Library (formerly All Saints Church)||Oxford, Oxfordshire||Conversion of church building into library||Grade I listed|
|1989||Church of St Edward the Confessor, Chandler's Ford||Chandler's Ford, Hampshire||Architect (extension)|
|Unknown||Bodleian Library||Oxford, Oxfordshire||Architect (structural reinforcements)||Grade I listed|
|Unknown||St Stephen Walbrook||City of London, London||Architect (renovations/repairs)||Grade I listed|
|Unknown||All Souls Church, Langham Place||Marylebone, London||Architect (renovations/repairs)||Grade I listed|
- "Robert Potter (obituary)". Daily Telegraph. 10 December 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "Robert Potter: church architect". The Times. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- Pollitt, Michael (5 January 2011). "Robert Potter: Gave new lease of life to Norwich medieval church". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "ST EDWARD THE CONFESSOR – CHANDLERS FORD". Taking Stock. English Heritage. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- "Church of the Ascension, Plymouth". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "Church of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "Extensions to a hall of residence, University of Southampton". Concrete Quarterly (60): 14–16. January–March 1964. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
- "All Saints Clifton – History". Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "Lincoln College Library". The High. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
- "Church of All Souls, Langham Place, Westminster". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 19 June 2013.