I have no doubt that my concern for drawing (and drawings) was due to “the influence” of my Mother and my Grammar School art teacher, Mr. Vernon Fawcett. It was Mr. Fawcett who suggested that I should be an architect as he deflected me from my enthusiasm to be a “designer for the theatre” (such a career would have required a private income, he explained). In 1947 I quit the sixth form (and hopes for an “Oxbridge” future) and enrolled in the Architecture programme at the Medway College of Art.

The “art school” influences were beneficial! (I have since speculated on the advantage of architects being educated in a conventionally academic environment or an “arts” one.) At Medway, the graphic artists, John Piper, Barbara Jones. Edward Bawden Eric Ravilious and Gordon Cullen’s “townscape” drawings were formative. (I eventually worked as Gordon Cullen’s assistant at the “Architectural Review” in 1951.) The Architecture programme was conventional: lots of water colour rendering on stretched Whatman paper, the “orders,” shades and shadows. sketching—the syllabus was set by the requirements of the dreaded RIBA External Examination. It was due to the then Head of the Department, R. W. Paine—a person of extraordinary charisma—that an uninspired curriculum could be so charged with enthusiasm. He orgainised the memorable “Summer Camps”—Woodstock (to measure sections of Blenheim Palace) and, after his  move to head the Department at the Canterbury College, the expeditions to Copenhagen and Venice.

The full-time staff at Medway was augmented by part-time visitors who ‘blew’ in from London once a week. They had considerable influence and it is primarily due to them, Hilton Wright and R.T. Hill in particular, that I realised some of the advantages of London schools—first the Northern Polytechnic (a disaster!) and the AA where its conviviality, focussed on Ching’s, the pantomimes and Dramatic Society’s productions, matched, if not surpassed, the conviviality of a provincial art school.