Donald Insall

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Sir Donald William Insall CBE (born 1926)[1] is a British architect, conservationist and author, who has been described as "one of the leading conservation architects of his generation".[2] He is the founder of the architectural, conservation and architectural consultancy practice, Donald Insall Associates.

Early life[edit]

Insall was born in 1926 in Bristol,[1][3] where he attended Bristol Grammar School.[3] He served in the Coldstream Guards during the Second World War[3] and qualified in architecture at the Royal West of England Academy School of Architecture, now part of the University of Bristol.[3] He then studied at the Royal Academy and the School of Planning.[3]


Insall worked with the London architects, Phillimore and Jenkins.[3] During 1957 Insall published his report The Care of Old Buildings, marking the 80th anniversary of the founding by William Morris of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. During 1958 he founded architectural conservation practice Donald Insall Associates,[3] and was joined shortly after by Peter Locke (1929–2013),[4] both men having been Lethaby Scholars of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in 1950.[3]

Insall was appointed the City of Chester's consultation consultant in 1960, a post he held until 1978.[5]

Donald Insall Associates continues its specialist work in conservation, historic consultancy, adaptive re-use and new buildings in sensitive sites. Insall ran the practice until his retirement in 1998.[6]


In the 1995 New Year Honours Insall was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to conservation.[1] Subsequently, he was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the Queen's 2010 Birthday Honours.[1][7]

In recognition of his conservation work in Chester, Insall received the honorary freedom of the City of Chester in 1999.[3][5] He has also received Europa Nostra's Medal of Honour.[3]

He was awarded the honorary degrees of Doctor of Laws from the University of Bristol in 2004[3] and Doctor of Architecture from the University of Chester in 2012.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Insall lives on Kew Green in Kew, south west London.[8] He and his wife Libby[3] have three children.[8]


  • The Care of Old Buildings, report (1957)
  • Chester: A Study in Conservation (1968)[5]
  • The Care of Old Buildings Today: A Practical Guide (Architectural Press, 1972)
  • Living Buildings: Architectural Conservation, Philosophy, Principles and Practice (Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd, 2008)

Selected projects[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Chester architect Donald Insall knighted in Queen's Birthday Honours". Chester Chronicle. 16 June 2010. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Queen's Birthday Honours List 2010" (Press release). Cabinet Office. 11 June 2010. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Horton, Mark (18 February 2004). "Donald Insall: Doctor of Laws". Public and Ceremonial Events Office. University of Bristol. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Insall, Donald (March 2013). "Peter Locke, FRIBA, FSA, 1929–2012". RIBA Journal. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Sir Donald Insall CBE FRTIBA – Doctor of Architecture honoris causa, of the University of Chester". Honorary Graduates 2012. University of Chester. 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Richardson, Viel. "History Man; Sir Donald Insall". Marylebone Journal. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  7. ^ "Honours and Awards: Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood". London Gazette (59881): 15670. 16 August 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Fleming, Christine (20 June 2010). "OBEs, CBEs, and knighthoods all round as Richmond residents make it on to Queen's Birthday Honours list". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Carey, Peter. "Reviving the Cross Bath". Building Retrieved 25 July 2009. 
  10. ^ Miller, Keith (20 September 2003). "Making the grade: The Cross Bath, Bath, Somerset". The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 July 2009. 
  11. ^ Newman, John. The Buildings of Wales: Gwent/Monmouthshire, Penguin Books, 2000, ISBN 0-14-071053-1, pp.405–406
  12. ^ "Blackpool council appoints Donald Insall Associates" (Press release). Homes and Communities Agency. 21 October 2010. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 

External links[edit]