How he got the gig

Last month, Joshua Abbott published his guidebook A Guide to Modernism in Metro-Land. When he Tweeted two years ago a picture of the Imperial Airways Empire Terminal, Victoria (1939) by Albert Lakeman, one David Brady@AntiProfessor replied:

I always wonder how Lakeman got the gig, as he did nothing else except a book about concrete cottages, in the 1920s

The details for that book are:

Lakeman, Albert (1918). Concrete Cottages Bungalows and Garages. illus. T. Raffles Davison (the leading architectural illustrator of his generation). Concrete Publications.

The blog The Beauty of Transport featured the Empire Terminal, “another Streamline Moderne building with a transport heritage” on 8th January, 2014: “The architect was Albert Lakeman (about whom information is very patchy, though he subsequently designed a Dunlop factory in Durban, South Africa).” A link is provided to an entry by

“LAKEMAN, Albert; Born: fl. 1934; Architect

Was a British architect. He came to South Africa in about 1934 to design the Dunlop factory at Congella, Durban, for Dunlop & Co. It is not certain how long Lakeman remained in South Africa – DC McDONALD, his chief draughtsman on the project took over responsibilities ‘for additional work contemplated at present and also in the near future’ (SAAR Nov 1935:343). The RIBA Kalender listed Lakeman as living in Birmingham, England in 1938/1939 and it is likely that Lakeman stayed only a few months in South Africa. In 1938 Lakeman designed the Imperial Airways headquarters in Buckingham Palace Road, London among other buildings, assisted by WH Williams.

LRIBA 1925; ISAA 1934. (ISAA mem list; LRIBA nom papers (1925) 2712, no details; SAAR Nov 1935:343; SAAR Oct 1940:261; SA Archt Jul 1939:112-15 ill)”

War Memorials Online shows the image above, taken by Unknown on 30.3.1920, entitled “Sports Pavilion, Fort Dunlop, erected as a Memorial to Dunlop (Rubber Company) Employees who fell in the Great War”

It goes on to explain that the site of the Fort Dunlop Sports Pavilion, Erdington, Birmingham has been knocked down and replaced with a housing estate. The pavilion disappeared as a result of the house building.

The Imperial War Museum gives Albert Lakeman FRIBA as the architect, and records that the cost of the Pavilion was £7,100, and that an unveiling ceremony took place on 23rd January, 1926.

Birmingham Library holds “a Picture of Mr Albert Lakeman (Dunlop’s Architect) published in The Dunlop Gazette in January 1946 to commemorate his retirement.”

(Full description: “Picture of Mr Albert Lakeman showing him looking to the front, holding a pipe and without glasses. The picture has been included in the article.”)

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