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Jane Fawcett, pioneering Victorian Society Secretary, has died

The Society’s condolences go out to her family.

Jane Fawcett. Copyright: Andrew Crowley.

Respected for her illustrious career as an architectural historian, during the war Jane Fawcett worked at Bletchley Park which you can read about here. In 1964 she was appointed as Secretary by the then Chairman Nikolaus Pevsner. At that time the Society had no staff nor an office of its own. Despite these difficulties she embarked on a very successful 13 years with the Society in the battle to ‘save a century’. As a result she helped save many important buildings from demolition including St Pancras station and the majority of Whitehall. It was during this period that the Society established its regional groups in England’s great Victorian cities, campaigned to be notified of threats to Victorian buildings and for increased legal protection.

Jane Fawcett was awarded an MBE and an honorary fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects for services to conservation. Jane wrote and edited works including The Future of the Past; Seven Victorian Architects; The Village in History and Save the City.

Looking back on the period she wrote:

‘To save buildings when there was no legislation was difficult. To alter entrenched public opinion was worse. If anything was to be saved from the century now recognised as one of the greatest periods of our history we had to act quickly. And we did… We were taking on in battle the whole of the Government, the whole of the general public, all academe, the architectural professional and a few others.’

Jane Fawcett’s tireless work shaped Britain’s cities for the better. A legacy that will be enjoyed by millions of people for many years to come.

Monday 23 May, 2016

More recent item: Secretary of State ‘calls-in’ damaging Ealing conservation area plans
Earlier item: Council wrong on Brighton’s Madeira terrace

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