“The land for Lawrence Street was acquired by Peabody in 1863 for just under £5,000. When it was built in 1870 it was known as the Chelsea estate, and kept this name until the 1930s when it was renamed to avoid confusion with the new Chelsea Manor Street estate. Costing £10,000 to build, it was the fifth estate built by Peabody and was designed by Henry Darbishire, architect to Peabody across three decades.
In 1966 the estate featured in an essay on Peabody’s early history by *Professor J. N. Tarn. The essay noted that to begin with the four blocks of the estate were more tightly packed than Peabody’s previous developments. This did not prevent the children of the estate from leading an active life outside, under the watchful eye of the estate porter.
A few years before Professor Tarn’s history was written the South Block at Lawrence Street was demolished to provide a better environment and outlook for the remaining three. In 1998 the garage adjoining West Block, which had originally held fifteen tons of coal for the estate, was sold to a private purchaser.”
Rod Tann posted on the website of the Wirral Society on December 18, 2020:
“…when *John agreed to my invitation to be our President, it was a great surprise when he said he would accept and that he intended to come to as many of our monthly Executive Committee meetings as his busy schedule would allow.
Since then, he had honoured that commitment, having only ever missed the occasional meeting because of a conference abroad or a speaking engagement – and sadly, in more recent times, because of his increasing ill health. As Chairman, I have regularly sought his counsel and have always found his advice to be sound.
John was a professor of Architecture at the age of 33, initially at the University of Nottingham, then appointed the Roscoe Professor of Architecture at the University of Liverpool. Latterly at Liverpool, Pro Vice Chancellor. Chairman of the Architecture Academic Advisory Committee at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Outside of academia, John was very actively involved in the Royal Institute of British Architects and for 20 years, Chairman of the Planning Control Committee, at the Peak Park Planning Board. John was also heavily involved in the care of Liverpool’s two cathedrals, being on the Fabric Advisory Committee at the Anglican Cathedral, and the Art and Architecture Department of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese. Latterly he was Chair of the Riverside Group, a major Merseyside Housing Association.
Recognition for his achievements was significant. In 1992, he received an OBE for services to architecture. He received Honorary Doctorates from Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Liverpool. He was also a Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside. In 2016, Pope Francis appointed John a Knight of the Order of St Gregory The Great, for services to the Roman Catholic Church in the Liverpool Archdiocese – an honour of which he was especially proud. Wonderful and extraordinary achievements!
That he was able to support us so positively all these years, continued to amaze us on the Committee, especially given the long list of organisations with which he was involved. He also spent his weekends in the Peak District, providing the music and training the choir at Great Longstone Parish church.
As a committee, we have found his considered thoughts on the various issues being discussed, to be of immense help. His total lack of any pretention never fails to impress us. We will miss him very much.”