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Cautley and Barefoot Architects’ drawings HG400

At the end of 2012 Suffolk Record Office was awarded a grant to catalogue a large collection of architects’ plans and drawings from the partnerships of Cautley and Barefoot and Peter Barefoot and Partners.  The grant was part of the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives and the application was supported by a number of organisations including The Ipswich Society, The Twentieth Century Society and The Friends of the Suffolk Record Office.  The archive forms a seamless ‘dynastic’ architectural tradition in Suffolk, starting with the important Ipswich architect Frederick Barnes and continuing into the late 20th century.

The collection is at the Ipswich branch and covers nearly 100 years, with the earliest items dating from about 1890. As well as being of national and regional importance, especially to those studying inter-war architectural activities or post-war modernism, it is a fascinating resource for anyone interested in property, social, business and church history studies. The plans link to other record office’s collections such as Ipswich Borough Council and Felixstowe Urban District Council Building Plans, the archives of Suffolk parish churches and the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and other national collections including the RIBA library.

Our project archivist started working on weeding, sorting, numbering and listing the 142 the boxes of drawings, comprising about 730 rolls, in early 2013.  The drawings are divided into 2 sections. The first are listed by subject: church alterations, war memorials, rectories, hospitals, houses, banks, schools etc. The second list contains drawings mainly from the Peter Barefoot partnerships and date from the late 1950s to 1990s. These include new or additions to private houses, businesses, local authority housing and so on.

Some of the drawings from the second section of drawings are for Debenham Modern School in the late 1970s when new classrooms and laboratories were added, development of the Haverhill Development Clements Lane Estate as part of the London overspill scheme for London County Council in the mid 1960s and landscaping of Brentford Dock in the 1970s by Peter Barefoot, as well as extensions to several telephone exchanges!

We listed the drawings to individual item level, so each plan has a number and a description in the catalogue. Now the project is complete the 26,130 catalogue records have been uploaded to the Suffolk Archives website, ref HG400. Volunteers and Record Office staff helped with the huge task of listing, inputting and repacking the rolls. Although at times it felt like we would never finish, it has been a real team effort.