Basic Biographical Details

Name: Alexander Wentworth Varcoe
Designation: Architect
Born: 1 September 1906
Died: January 1988
Bio Notes: Alexander Wentworth Varcoe was born on 1 September 1906. From 1922- 27 he was articled to H V Lynam, surveyor to Alsager Urban Development Corporation, Cheshire. In the latter year he moved to Surrey to the practice of Vincent Hooper. In 1929-30 he took the full-time course at Edinburgh College of Art. It is not yet clear where he was between 1930 and 1932 when he commenced the post-graduate course in town planning at the College. He completed this in 1934. He was awarded the Archibald Dawnay Scholarship in both 1932-33 and 1933-34. With the aid of this scholarship or another ECA scholarship he was able to make a study tour abroad. He graduated with distinction from the College. In 1935 he also spent a year travelling in North and South America to study structural design and town planning.

He was elected ARIBA on 4 January 1935, proposed by John Begg, James Inch Morrison and Frank Charles Mears.

In 1936 took a position as assistant architect with Sandy & Norris in Stafford. In 1938 he moved to Wood & Goldstraw in Tunstall, Staffordshire as senior assistant and in 1940 to Jackson & Edwards in Birmingham where he was site architect for the construction of Henry Meadow's tank engine factory. Howevr he was obliged to leave Jackson & Edmonds because of licensing restrictions in force in 1947. From later that year to 1954 he was the Company Architect for the Dunlop Rubber Company in Birmingham and acted as group architect for factories in Liverpool and Manchester. He was posted to Brazil for two years for supervising the new tyre factory at Campina, State of Sao Paulo, and was retained for two factory development schemes for tthe Company's long-term policy.

In 1954 Varcoe left the Dunlop Company and moved to Dar Es Salaam, Tanganika to work for Cobb, Archer, Scammell & Lambert. As Lambert died within three months of his arrival he became acting partner and undertook a wide variety of work. However after the financial collapse in the country work dried up and he returned to England in 1957 and re-joined Jackson & Edmonds. An office in London was formally opened in 1957 and this was managed by Varcoe as a consultant for four years. He was taken into the firm as an associate on 15 August 1969. During this period as associate he took a team of architects to Scotland to carry out a survey of 500 acres of ground.

Varcoe was elected FRIBA on 8 April 1970, proposed by G Allan G Miller, Kenneth A Lloyd and Stuart Bentley. At this time he was redundant but was in the process of purchasing the practice of Vyvyan Salisbury in Wadebridge, Cornwall, commencing on 10 April 1970.

Varcoe died on 18 February 1988.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 41, Brunstane Road, Joppa, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1935  
Item 2 of 4Orchard Cottage, Teston Road, Offham, Kent, EnglandPrivate1970 *  
Item 3 of 4Flat I, St Giles, Wadebridge, Cornwall, EnglandPrivateFebruary 1970  
Item 4 of 4Westgate Court, The Avenue, Beckenham, Kent, EnglandPrivateBefore 1970  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 8H V Lynam19221927Apprentice 
Item 2 of 8Vincent Hooper19271929Assistant 
Item 3 of 8Ernest Bower Norris19361938Assistant 
Item 4 of 8Sandy & Norris19361938Assistant 
Item 5 of 8Wood & Goldstraw19381940Senior Assistant 
Item 6 of 8Jackson & Edmonds19401947Site Architect 
Item 7 of 8Dunlop Rubber Company, Works Department19471954Chief Architect 
Item 8 of 8Cobb, Archer, Scammell & Lambert19541957PartnerWas 'Acting Partner' after the death of Lambert three months after Varcoe's arrival.


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6John Begg4 January 1935For Associateship
Item 2 of 6Stewart Bentley8 April 1970For Fellowship
Item 3 of 6Kenneth A Lloyd8 April 1970For Fellowship
Item 4 of 6(Sir) Frank Charles Mears4 January 1935For Associateship
Item 5 of 6G Allan G Miller8 April 1970For Fellowship
Item 6 of 6James Inch Morrison4 January 1935For Associateship


Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers Varcoe: A no5627, F no7046 (Combined Box 171)