Following the end of the Second World War, Professor Sir Albert Richardson and his partner Eric Houfe found themselves at the centre of efforts to repair and restore London's bomb damaged buildings. Richardson's training and long experience practicing in the classical tradition, meant that he was ideally placed to understand the buildings. Furthermore, as a student and young architect, he had made numerous detailed studies of many of London's finest buildings and these drawings and notes proved invaluable in their restoration.
St. James's Piccadilly, the only Wren church in the West End of London, was badly hit during the first phase of the Blitz on 14 October 1940. The fabric of the building was severely damaged and the structure rendered roofless, a state in which it remained for the next seven years during which time a temporary roof was erected over parts of the south aisle, which enabled church services to resume. Luckily the marble font, altar carvings, altar piece and organ casing which had all been protected, survived the attack.
Professor Richardson described saving St. James's as one of the 'heaviest tasks of his career' (S. Houfe, op. cit., p. 182). Richardson and Houfe worked on the rebuilding of the church between 1947 and 1954, partly because of the difficulty in procuring materials in Post-War Britain and partly due to the severity and complexity of the project the spire of St. James's was only completed by Houfe eight years after his partner's death.
We are grateful to John Harris and Charles Hind for their assistance with cataloguing the group of architectural drawings.