Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||Desmond William Hill Hodges |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||25 September 1928 |
|Died: ||26 November 2012 |
|Bio Notes: ||Desmond William Hill Hodges was born on 25 September 1928 in Dublin. His early years were spent in the Republic of Ireland, where his father was a clergyman (as was his grandfather) and head of a college. After his father was appointed Bishop of Limerick he was sent as a boarder to St Columba's Rathfarnham. He briefly studied history at Trinity College Dublin but was invited by a friend of his father, who was architect for the same college, to work in his Dublin-based practice, McDonnell & Dixon, as junior assistant, despite his having had no prior training. It was a small team of six assistant architects and three partners. While there, Hodges studied at the Bolton Street Technical College. He was elected ARIBA in 1966. |
Among their other work, The McDonnell & Dixon practice worked on the restoration of 18th century public buildings. He remained with the firm for 12 years but there was an economic slump in the Republic of Ireland, so Hodges moved to Belfast, where prospects were brighter. There, he found work for a more commercial firm, at double his previous salary. He subsequently moved on to another firm where the work was more varied, including government buildings and factories.
He eventually went into independent practice with a fellow architect, with an office next door to that of Ian Campbell, whose work he admired. He set up home with his wife Margaret (they married in 1965) with his home above the office. Having designed a church for a Belfast suburb, he became consultant to the works of the Methodist Church in Ireland.
In 1972 he purchased an issue of 'The Scotsman' and saw an job advertisement for a person to run Edinburgh's newly established New Town Conservation Committee. He applied for and was successful in securing this post as director, having already had some experience assisting setting up the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society. Consequently he moved to Edinburgh to join the Committee in the same year, initially renting before moving to the Victorian suburbs. The Committee was initially based in an attic office in Dublin Street, belonging to Law & Dunbar Nasmith, but subsequently moved to Dundas Street. It staff of six included a blacksmith, a knowledge of cast iron being crucial for New Town conservation projects.
Hodges had considerable diplomatic skills which he used to good effect in his post, using 'charm and hospitality to disarm the opposition. The first completed project of the Committee was at 23 Fettes Row and was unveiled by the Queen Mother in 1975. In due course Hodges oversaw a total of 1,233 repair projects between his appointment as directory of the Committee and his retirement in 1994. Under his guidance the important manual 'Care and Conservation of Georgian House' was brought to press, the guidelines in which are still used today . He was also instrumental in setting up an architectural salvage yard called 'Scotland Yard'. The success of the ENTCC led to a Europa Nostra silver medal in 1988 and laid the foundations for World Heritage Site status of Edinburgh's Old and New Towns in 1995.
Hodges also sat on the Cockburn Association for a number of years, as well as engaging in teaching, including lecturing at Queen's University in Belfast. He was made OBE, FRIAS, FSA Scot, and is an Honorary Fellow of the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland.
The Hodges lived in Shandon and Desmond advised the Merchiston Community Council on many projects. He was also involved with the Edinburgh Canal Society. He also served on the Vestry of St John's Episcopal Church, Princes Street.
Hodges died in Haddington on 26 November 2012. He is survived by his wife Margaret and their two daughters and four grandchildren.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|Belfast, Northern Ireland||Private/business|| ||Before 1972|| |
|51, Malone Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland||Private||1970 *|| || |
|Edinburgh, Scotland||Private/business||1972|| || |
* 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):|
| ||Name||Date from||Date to||Position||Notes|
|McDonnell & Dixon|| ||Before 1972||Junior Assistant|| |
Buildings and Designs
|This architect was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Date started||Building name||Town, district or village||Island||City or county||Country||Notes|
|Before 1972||Church of the Annunciation|| || ||Belfast||Northern Ireland|| |
|Before 1972||St Dorothea's Church|| || ||Belfast||Northern Ireland|| |
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|RIBA||1970||RIBA Directory 1970|| || || |
|RIBA||1979||Directory of members|| || || |
|RIBA||1984||RIBA Directory of members|| || || |
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Scotsman||8 December 2012|| || || |
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|Courtesy of Desmond Hodges||Interview of Desmond Hodges by Jessica Taylor, 29 January 2010 in Musselburgh|| || |