The School, and History in particular, is very pleased to announce that late last week Nigel Harrison successfully defended his PhD thesis on the architect Clough Williams-Ellis. CW-E (as Nigel came rather fondly to know him) is best known for being the architect behind Portmeirion of the The Prisoner fame, but as Nigel convincingly demonstrated, there was much more to the man than this. And this despite the fact that his Welsh-Mediterranean fantasy can be successfully cited as one of the influences behind Prince Charles’s Poundbury.
CW-E was one of the breed of early twentieth century architect/planners, having an influence on Stevenage new town and the redevelopment of Weston Super Mare. He was also a prolific writer (England and the Octopus being his most important work), campaigner and conservationist. In all of this and with his links to Morris and Ruskin, to the Arts and Crafts more generally and with his legacy to be found in the careers of a number of influential neo-classical architects, Nigel successfully argued that CW-E has been an important missing link in the development of the modern heritage industry.
These observations, the quality and weight of his illustrations and his sheer hard work were all singled out by his examiners. This became something of a labour of love for Nigel and he is to be warmly congratulated on his achievement. We also hope that Nigel will be around the School for some time to come as he follows up the recommendation of his examiners to turn this into a book!