Basic Biographical Details

Name: Charles Peter Womersley (known as Peter Womersley)
Born: 24 June 1923
Died: August 1993(?)
Bio Notes: Charles Peter Womersley (always known as Peter) was born on 29 June 1923 (Associateship Paper) or 1924 (Fellowship Paper). His grammar school headmaster opposed his idea of a career in architecture and he was presuaded to study law at Cambridge. Before he embarked on this, he was called up for military service during the Second World War and served with an infantry regiment. Although he was stationed abroad he saw little action and he was able to indulge in five years of cultural enlightenment. After demobilisation in September 1947 he started the 5-year course at the Architectural Association, passing the entrance exam at the age of 23. He won a three-year travelling scholarship while at the AA and this enabled him to travel widely on the Continent. During his course he visited France (1947), Germany and Italy (1948), Belgium and Italy (1949), France and Italy (1950), France Italy Germany and Austria (1951) and Belgium, Germany Austria, Italy and France (1952).

He left the AA to take up an opportunity of a one-off practical experience, helping to design a sheikh's palace in Kuwait. In july 1952 he worked briefly on the Royal Festival Hall (with the LCC Architect's Department?) and then in factories producing architectural products. He was admitted ARIBA on 5 December 1952, his proposers being Arthur Korn, G R J Anderson who was President of the AA and Jonathan *** (Secretary of the AA). At this time he was working as an assistant with the practice of Tripe & Wakeham in London and living in West Wickham in Kent.

Unusually, Womersley received a bronze medal for his first commission, a house for his brother, Farnley Hay, in Huddersfield. Shortly after, he set up practice on his own account from a cottage in the Scottish Borders. One of his first commissions was for a house for the textile designer Bernat Klein, for whom he would later also design an acclaimed studio building. In 1957 he was able to move his practice into his home, which he designed for himself. Basing his practice around commissions for private houses, made his business difficult and vulnerable. In desperation, Womersely entered and won the competition for the Roxburgh County Offices. A simultaneous invitation to design a sports centre for the University of Hull, enabled him to expand. By 1969 the small practice that employed no more than five workers, received his biggest commission to date for schools of town planning and sculpture for Edinburgh College of Art.

Influenced heavily by Frank Lloyd Wright, Womersley placed great importance on 'heart' and geometry.

He set up an autonomous Hong Kong office following a commission for a hotel and apartment blocks, which then coincided with a commission to completely gut and reconstruct the Peninsula Hotel.

Womersely was elected FRIBA on 9 December 1964, prposed by John Holt, Walter Marmorek and Joseph Blackburn.

He died in Lambeth, London in August 1993.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 38, Sherwood Way, West Wickham, Kent, EnglandPrivate1952  
Item 2 of 31, Duke Street, London, EnglandBusiness1952 *  
Item 3 of 3The Rig, Gattonside, Melrose, Roxburghshire, ScotlandPrivate/business1956  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1Tripe & Wakeham1952 Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 5G R J Anderson5 December 1952For Associateship
Item 2 of 5Joseph Robertson Blackburn9 December 1964For Fellowship
Item 3 of 5John Holt9 December 1964For Fellowship
Item 4 of 5Arthur Korn5 December 1952For Associateship
Item 5 of 5Walter Marmorek9 December 1964For Fellowship

Buildings and Designs

This was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 281950sHouseScarborough YorkshireEngland 
Item 2 of 281952Farnley HeyFarnley Tyas (near) Huddersfield, YorkshireEngland 
Item 3 of 281956High SunderlandGalashiels SelkirkshireScotland 
Item 4 of 281956HouseSelkirk SelkirkshireScotland 
Item 5 of 281956The RigGattonside RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 6 of 281960sHouse  Manchester, LancashireEngland 
Item 7 of 281960sHouseBath South GloucestershireEngland 
Item 8 of 281960Port Murray, MaidensGirvan AyrshireScotland 
Item 9 of 281961Central Area Redevelopment, including council housingGalashiels SelkirkshireScotland 
Item 10 of 281961Peninsula Hotel   Hong KongAlterations - in association with Peter Womersley
Item 11 of 281961Repulse Bay, apartment buildings and hotel   Hong KongIn conjunction with Walter Marmorek- redevelopment of Repulse Bay for apartment buildings and new hotel
Item 12 of 2826 May 1961Roxburgh County BuildingsNewtown St Boswells RoxburghshireScotlandWomersley's competition entry (no. 17) won first place per Builder p990
Item 13 of 281962HouseStratford-upon-Avon WarwickshireEngland 
Item 14 of 281962HouseCamberley SurreyEngland 
Item 15 of 281963Church Street HousingGalashiels SelkirkshireScotland 
Item 16 of 281963Fairydean StadiumGalashiels SelkirkshireScotland 
Item 17 of 281963Haddington District Asylum, ancillary building and North LodgeHaddington East LothianScotlandPsychiatric admission unit
Item 18 of 281963Western General Hospital, Nuffield Transplantation Surgery Unit  EdinburghScotland 
Item 19 of 281964University of Hull, Sports CentreHull YorkshireEngland 
Item 20 of 281965Edenside Group Practice Surgery & Caretaker's HouseKelso RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 21 of 281966Roxburgh County BuildingsNewtown St Boswells RoxburghshireScotlandRoxburgh County Buildings Phase I
Item 22 of 281967Edinburgh Municipal Art College  EdinburghScotlandDevelopment plan drawn up - intially to involve Schools of Town Planning and Sculpture.
Item 23 of 281969Bernat Klein Studio, High SunderlandGalashiels SelkirkshireScotland 
Item 24 of 281969Edinburgh College of Art Extension     Commissioned 1969 to draft proposals for the schools of town planning and sculpture
Item 25 of 28Before 1975Midland BankHuddersfield YorkshireEngland 
Item 26 of 28Before 1975St George's office building   Hong Kong 
Item 27 of 281977Melrose District AsylumMelrose RoxburghshireScotlandBoiler House
Item 28 of 281977Monklands Leisure CentreCoatbridge LanarkshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 7Glendinning, M, MacInnes, R and MacKechnie, A1996A History of Scottish Architecture  p602
Item 2 of 7Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdpp32, 36-8, 51, 118, 153-5, 167, 182
Item 3 of 7Glendinning, Miles and Muthesius, Stefan1994Tower Block: Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland Yale University Press: New Haven and Londonp381, Gazetteer 2
Item 4 of 7  HS Listing, HB Number 19484
High Sunderland, The Studio
Item 5 of 7  HS Listing, HB Number: 50862
High Sunderland, House
Item 6 of 7RIBA1970RIBA Directory 1970   
Item 7 of 7Willis, Peter1977New architecture in Scotland  p10 Group Practice Consulting Rooms, Kelso; Private House, Turnberry Ayrshire
p68-71 Bernat Klein Studio
p88-89 Nuffield Transplantation Unit, Edinburgh
p90-1 Group Practice Consulting Rooms, Kelso

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 5Architect and Building News22 June 1966  p1125-8
Item 2 of 5Builder20 November 1964  p1074
Item 3 of 5Building7 February 1969  p6/103
Item 4 of 5RIAS NewsletterNovember 1993v4, no10 Death note
Item 5 of 5RIAS NewsletterDecember 1993v4, no11 Obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Courtesy of Bernat KleinInterview of Bernat Klein by Jessica Taylor, 27 January 2009 at High Sunderland  
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no14178, F no 5700 (Combined Box 95)