Georgian Society for East Yorkshire

Hull History Centre receives award to catalogue Francis Johnson Archive

Francis Johnson Maister House Drawing

Francis Johnson Maister House Drawing

Tuesday, 10th December 2013

An award of £32,729 made to the University of Hull�s archives will ensure that the work of a leading Yorkshire architect can be shared with researchers and historians from around the world.

Francis Johnson (1911 to 1995), known as a traditional and classical architect, was born in Bridlington and worked in Hull for a number of years before opening his own architect�s practice in Bridlington in 1937, Francis Johnson & Partners. The architect worked there for almost 60 years and the firm is still based there today. Now the grant from The National Archives Cataloguing Grants Programme will allow the archives of Francis Johnson & Partners to be catalogued so that it can be made available to the public at the Hull History Centre. The documents will join more than one million other items in the extensive archive, some of which date back to the 11th century.

Simon Wilson, senior archivist said: �This archive will be fascinating to anyone with an interest in architecture, especially that of the East and North Yorkshire regions. �Thanks to this funding, we will be able to employ an archivist to undertake the cataloguing. We also hope to recruit a small team of volunteers to assist with the project.�

After studying at the Leeds School of Architecture in the 1920s Francis Johnson went on to restore and remodel a large number of historic buildings. He was particularly known for his country houses and designed a sequence of new churches in East Yorkshire and Scarborough.

The archive reflects the range of commissions undertaken by the firm, including private houses, and both new and restoration projects which include:

� Hardwick Hall (for the National Trust)

� Maister House, Hull

� The Orangery at Sledmere House

� Burton Agnes Hall

� Merchant Taylors Hall, York

� Everingham Hall

� Sunderlandwick Hall

� Houghton Hall

There are a range of other commissions � from dog kennels to a swimming pool and cricket pavilion, public houses to buildings for St Chad�s College in Durham.

Also amongst these are more unusual commissions such as pieces of furniture for British embassies in Washington, Tokyo and Oslo, and a pair of wooden candlesticks for The Queen.

The material relates to more than 2,000 projects from 1954 to 1996, with the bulk of it remaining in its original paper files. There is detailed correspondence around topics like planning approvals, design and listed buildings consent along with sketches and drawings.

In a statement, Francis Johnson & Partner said:

�We were delighted to hear that funding had been secured to work on the historical material of one of the leading traditional and classical architects, and look forward to these being made available to the public and for research. �The legacy of Francis Johnson the man is central to the current day work of our Practice. Programmes like Grand Designs, Restoration Homes and Restoration Man have brought architecture and design into the living room. We hope that this material will inspire children, students and the public with an interest in buildings of all shapes and sizes.�

The award is part of a programme funded by a collective of charitable trusts and foundations including the Pilgrim Trust, the Foyle Foundation the Wolfson Foundation and, for the first time, the Andrew W Mellon Foundation. The trusts and foundations collectively support the programme and The National Archives provides additional funding, together with expert and secretariat support.

Grants to the value of £526,000 were given to 15 projects identified as having the greatest transformative effect on particular areas of research, on the services involved and on their users. The complete list of awards can be found at

It is hoped work on the Francis Johnson archive will begin in the New Year.

Maister House, Hull

Maister House

The building's sober facade hides one of the most fascinating interiors in the city; and a story of wealth, tragedy and high art. The wealth belonged to the Maister family. The Maisters were one of a number of merchant families who lived on Hull's High Street and traded with ports around the North Sea and Baltic. The family originated ... (read more...)

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