Thomas Cecil Howitt
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Thomas Cecil Howitt
|Born||June 6, 1889|
Watnall Road, Hucknall, Nottinghamshire
|Died||September 3, 1968 (aged 79)|
|Practice||Associated architectural firm[s]|
|Buildings||Nottingham Council House|
Thomas Cecil Howitt, OBE (6 June 1889 - 3 September 1968) was a British provincial architect of the 20th Century. Howitt is chiefly remembered for designing prominent public buildings, such as the Council House and Processional Way in Nottingham, Baskerville House in Birmingham (first phase of the unrealised Civic Centre scheme), Newport Civic Centre, and several Odeon cinemas (such as Weston-super-Mare and Bristol). Howitt’s chief architectural legacies are in his home city of Nottingham. He was Housing Architect for the City Council, designing municipal housing estates which are often considered to be among the finest in terms of planning in the country.
Howitt was born at Hucknall, near Nottingham and educated at Nottingham High School, leaving in 1904 to be apprenticed to the prominent Nottingham architect, Albert Nelson Bromley. Bromley was architect to the Nottingham School Board and did extensive work for the Boots Company. In 1907, Howitt studied briefly at the Architectural Association School in London. He later opened a London branch office for Bromley, before returning to the Nottingham office until 1913.
Following a study tour of Europe in early 1914, Howitt was invited to become the company architect for Boots, however, the war soon intervened. Howitt was commissioned in November 1914, rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Leicestershire Regiment. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and French Croix de Guerre, as well as a Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur (for action at the Battle of the Marne). Howitt was demobilised with the rank of Major in October 1919, and joined the City Engineer's Department at Nottingham City Council.
In 1926, Howitt’s rising status in the profession was marked by election as a member of the RIBA Council. The following year, he made a study tours of the USA and Canada and in 1928 to Denmark and Sweden (where he saw Stockholm Town Hall-writing an article about it for the local Nottingham Guardian).
As work on the Council House came towards completion, Howitt wished to set up his own practice, and after being asked to stay in post until a suitable successor could be appointed, he established an office in Exchange Buildings in December 1930.
Major architectural works
- Approximately 6000 municipally-owned houses for rent, Nottingham (1919–30)
- Council House, Exchange Buildings and Processional Way, Nottingham (1924–29)
- Raleigh Cycle Company Head Office, Lenton Boulevard, Nottingham (opened 1931) - awarded RIBA Bronze Medal 1933
- Martin's Bank, Market Street, Nottingham (1930)
- Birmingham Municipal Bank Head Office, Broad Street, Birmingham (1931–34)
- Mary Hardstaff Almshouses, Arnold Lane, Nottingham (1934)
- Odeon Cinema, Warley, Worcestershire (exterior only - 1934)
- Odeon Cinema, Weston-super-Mare (opened May 1935) Grade II listed
- The Vale Public House, Mansfield Road, Daybrook, Nottingham (1935-37)
- Baskerville House, Centenary Square, Birmingham (1935–39)
- Home Brewery Head Office, Mansfield Road, Daybrook, Nottingham (1936)
- Odeon Cinema, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex (opened May 1936)
- Odeon Cinema, Bridgwater, Somerset (opened July 1936)
- Woolwich Equitable Building Society, 4-9, South Parade, Nottingham (1936-37)
- Civic Centre, Newport, Monmouthshire (1936–67)
- YMCA, Shakespeare Street, Nottingham (1937)
- St. Mary's Church, Wollaton Park, Nottingham (1937–39)
- St. Barnabas' Church, Lenton Abbey, Nottingham (1937–39)
- Odeon Cinema, Bristol (opened July 1938)
- The Oxclose Public House, Oxclose Lane, Nottingham (1939)
- Staythorpe 'A' Power Station, near Newark, Notts (from 1946) - awarded RIBA Bronze Medal 1953, now demolished
- Nightingale Hall, University of Nottingham (1946–56)
- Portland Building, University of Nottingham (1951–56)
- Nottingham & District Technical College (now Newton Building, Nottingham Trent University), Burton Street, Nottingham (1956–58)
Selected unbuilt designs
- Civic Centre, Yeovil, Somerset (1938–39) - works cancelled by war.
- Head Office, British Electricity Authority, Bramcote, Nottingham (1956)
Howitt was actively involved in RIBA matters during the 1950s; effectively leaving the practice in the hands of partners Philip Gerrard and Frederick Woolley. Indeed, the name of the practice was changed to Cecil Howitt & Partners in 1948. Howitt retired from architectural practice in April 1962.
- Beckett, John; Brand, Ken (2004). The Council House, Nottingham and Old Market Square. Nottingham: Nottingham Civic Society. ISBN 1-902443-09-8.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus (1979). Nottinghamshire (2001 2nd rev. ed.). New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300096364.
- Scoffham, Ernie (1992). A vision of the city: the architecture of T.C. Howitt. Nottingham: Nottinghamshire County Council Leisure Services. ISBN 0-900943-44-0.
- Brodie, Antonia (20 December 2001). Directory of British Architects 1834-1914: Vol 1 (A-K). Royal Institute of British Architects. p. 965. ISBN 0826455131.
- Harwood, Elain. "Howitt, (Thomas) Cecil". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography website. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- "No. 28976". The London Gazette. 16 November 1914. p. 9383.
- "No. 30389". The London Gazette. 19 November 1917. p. 11950.
- "No. 31024". The London Gazette. 22 November 1918. p. 13726.
- "Loss to the City". Nottingham Evening Post. England. 13 May 1946. Retrieved 16 February 2019 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- Historic England. "Council House, Exchange Buildings and Adjoining Shops and Bank (1270582)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
- Historic England. "The Howitt Building (former Raleigh Cycle Company main offices) (1454941)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
- Historic England. "Former Birmingham Municipal Bank Trustee Savings Bank (1268165)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
- Historic England. "Mary Hardstaff Homes (1268312)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
- Historic England. "Weston-Super-Mare Odeon Cinema (1311970)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
- Historic England. "The Vale Hotel (Public House) (1255455)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
- Historic England. "Baskerville House (1271414)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
- Historic England. "Home Ales Brewery Office and Attached Railings (1237602)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
- Historic England. "YMCA Hostel and Shops (1255161)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
- Historic England. "Church of St Mary (1255263)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
- Historic England. "The Oxclose Public House (1376747)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
- Historic England. "Newton Building and Nottingham Trent University (1323704)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 February 2019.