Friday 03 January 2020
Image: Robin Wyatt, formerly of English Heritage and DAS Trustee
Although many of Robin Wyatt’s family were in the military, he opted for a career in architecture. During his three years as a student at the Architectural Association in the 1960s; modernism was all ‘the thing’; however, his overriding interest was more traditional. Happily, he was offered a job at McMorran and Whitby, a well-respected firm that was still building in the classical styles. He learnt a useful amount there about the orders of architecture and old-established construction techniques.
Wyatt’s next move, to Seely & Paget, involved much Gothic as well as Classical work in such prestigious buildings as Windsor Castle and Wren churches. During that time, he met and became friendly with John Betjeman. Betjeman was generous with his knowledge (and wit!); he provided access to his extensive architectural library and encouraged Wyatt to start a library of his own.
Subsequently, working in the Historic Buildings section of the Greater London Council, Wyatt looked after Kenwood House, Marble Hill and the Geffrye Museum, plus numerous other interesting listed properties owned by the GLC. When the GLC closed, the department and many of those properties transferred to English Heritage, where Wyatt remained until retiring in 2003. As well as being a longstanding supporter of the DAS, he is a past Master of the Art Workers Guild. His collections range from pre-1920s labour-saving domestic appliances such as electric fires (see Wyatt's article, `Glowing with Warmth’, in DAS Journal 31) and vacuum cleaners to pictures, architectural books and early gramophones and recordings. This eclectic approach fits very well with the remit of the DAS and his service as a Trustee is much appreciated.