Anthony Harrison, British (1931 - 2012)

Anthony Harrison

Anthony was born in London, the son of an architect. In 1957 he enrolled at the Architectural Association, later winning a scholarship to record Crusader castles in the Middle East. It was an inspired choice of subject, encouraging a natural curiosity for people and places and revealing his talent for watercolour sketches.

His love of such things as old Thames barges and Stanley Holloway's music-hall monologue The Lion and Albert (which he could recite in its entirety) echoed his delight in traditional craftsmanship and his sense of fun. Naturally creative, and unable to sit idle for long, he was also a jeweller, silversmith and glass engraver. A fine carpenter, he made models of proposed buildings that won over clients and silenced many a planner.

After marrying the photographer Ski Westwood in 1968, Anthony spent seven years in Africa, designing schools and rural hospitals in Uganda, Tunisia and Nigeria. In 1974 he returned to England, setting up the Harrison Sutton Partnership in Totnes, Devon, with his friend Pedro Sutton. It was just in time. That Totnes retains so rich an architecture owes much to Anthony's determination to thwart attempts to demolish the industrial warehouses lining the Dart.

The needs of the community were always central to Anthony's work. His awards were many, for a legacy that ranged from sheltered housing to artists' studios, from public spaces to Plymouth Cathedral, for which he won the Abercrombie architectural design award.

He designed five visitor centres for the National Trust and helped to raise the funds to buy and preserve a community wood at Tuckenhay to prevent it from ever being felled for development.

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