1882 - 1948

Basil Oliver

Basil Oliver was born at The Brewery House, Cornard Road, Sudbury, Suffolk on 12 May 1882, eldest of the three children of Edward Oliver (24 July 1857-9 June 1943), a brewer, and his first wife Emily Martha née MacCougan (1854-1927), who married at Hampstead, London on 14 April 1881. Basil was admitted at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmund's in 1892 and studied at Bury St Edmund's School of Architecture; Liverpool University; the Royal Academy Schools and at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London. Articled to London architect Edward Prioleau Warren (1856-1937) until 1904, subsequently assisting in the offices of Holloway Brothers, builders until 1905 and those of Sir Arthur Blomfield & Sons until 1906 when he returned to Warren's office, remaining there until 1909. In 1911, Basil was a 28 year old architect, living at Brewery House, Cornard Road, Sudbury with his parents, 53 year old Edward and 56 year old Emily Martha, with two siblings Brian Edward 26, Violet 20 both born at Great Cornard. A teacher with the Architecture and Building Crafts Section of London County Council Central School of Arts and Crafts and a member of the Ipswich Art Club 1890-1936 and exhibited ten pictures at the Royal Academy. He later became a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, Master of the Art Workers' Guild and served on the Committee of the Society for the Protection of Ancient buildings 1912–1948 and other preservation bodies. He published prolifically and designed the Dunmow War Memorial and various buildings in East Anglia, amongst his works the 'Rose & Crown' public house in Cambridge (1928) and other inns for the brewers Greene King, many of which contained fittings designed by members of the Art-Workers' Guild, of which he was Master in 1932. His best-known building is the Borough Offices, Angel Hill, Bury St Edmund's, Suffolk (1935–1937), described by Pevsner as ‘Neo-Georgian, tactful, and completely uneventful’ and he sensitively repaired Castling's Hall, Groton, Suffolk (1933–1934), He wrote much on vernacular architecture, including 'Old Houses and Village Buildings in East Anglia' (1912) and published 'The Renaissance of the English Public House' (1947). In 1939, an unmarried architect, living at 6 Tennyson Lane, Fulham, London with his sister Violet Oliver (8 May 1890-14 May 1966), who died back in Sudbury Hospital. Basil was actively engaged in the organisation of the craft exhibition in London in 1948 and was of 6 Unwin Mansions, Queen's Club Gardens, London W.14 when he died at The Limes, Great Cornard, Sudbury on 5 May that year.