CRB - Papers of William Crabtree - 1933-1940

Papers relating to the design and building of the Peter Jones building in Sloane Square, London, and the design of the John Lewis building in Oxford Street, London (never built).


The collection contains:

/1. Correspo...

Full description

Main Creator: Crabtree, William
Archive level description: Series
Physical Description:2 boxes
Subjects:
Summary:

Papers relating to the design and building of the Peter Jones building in Sloane Square, London, and the design of the John Lewis building in Oxford Street, London (never built).


The collection contains:

/1. Correspondence.  Including letters between Crabtree and manufacturing and engineering companies, discussing topics such as the building design and materials, and many letters between Crabtree and Professor Charles H. Reilly with discussion of Crabtree's architectural projects among other topics. 

/2. Papers relating to the Peter Jones building project and the design of the John Lewis building in Oxford Street. Including minutes, agenda papers and memorandums from committees governing the development of the projects, with committees such as the 'John Lewis Partnerships Building Committee' and the 'Special Committee for Design of the Re-building of Peter Jones'.  As well as Crabtree's papers relating to his business agreements and payments, comprising largely of correspondence, and other loose notes such as calculations of the floor to ceiling heights of the John Lewis building.

/3. Papers relating to the design of Holiday Camps. Containing seven items, including Crabtree and Freeman's "Scheme for a Holiday Centre".

Date:1933-1940
Reference Number:CRB
Biographical/Administrative Information:

William Crabtree graduated from the School of Architecture at the University of Liverpool in 1929, having studied under Charles Reilly. His final year thesis was a design for a department store in Oxford Street.  

As a result of Crabtree’s work during his degree, Charles Reilly suggested to his friend Spendan Lewis, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, that Crabtree be given the commission to design the new Peter Jones building.  John Slater and Arthur Moberly were appointed as joint architects, together with Crabtree, with Charles Reilly engaged as consultant.

The Peter Jones building, completed in 1939, is celebrated as an example of the Modern Movement in Britain. Crabtree was influenced heavily by leading Modernist designers, having studied Mendelsohn’s Schocken stores in Germany. Peter Jones was the first property in London to use the glass curtain wall effect, creating a fluid exterior.

Crabtree’s reputation rests mainly on his Peter Jones Department Store, however as John Lewis’s architectural consultant he also worked on the design of the John Lewis building in Oxford Street, London (never built).  He subsequently worked with Abercrombie on the reconstruction of Plymouth and Southampton after the Second World War and designed several buildings in Basildon and Harlow New Towns, Essex, and elsewhere.