If you have a personal or professional connection to Womersley or his architecture, or a story to tell about one of his buildings,send us your thoughts. Do you or have you lived in a Womersley house? What are your impressions? With your permission we will provide a quote on this page.
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Peter was our uncle, father figure, mentor and great friend. Although an intensely private man, to those close to him he was warm ,considerate, unfailingly generous and kind. With a quick wit and huge sense of humour, interesting, intelligent and great fun, he also had a strong moral compass and an acute and instinctive sense of what was right and what wasn’t.
His work defined his life and was his overarching passion. Ideas flowed from him, he was acutely aware of the natural beauty of the environment within which his buildings were sited and made sure that his designs enhanced it. We have lived in three houses that he designed. His sense of aesthetic, of place and of beauty was extraordinary and his talent and his spacial imagination were boundless. To see now that a building of his is being left to crumble is wrong; it is a tragedy which must not be allowed to happen.
The Womersley Family
“Many of us who are somehow related to Peter Womersley remember him well and his very special talents as an architect.
My late husband John and I lived in a PW house, built in 1968/9 called Valley Spring on the outskirts of Bath - now Grade II Listed. It was a great "party house " and was simply magical when it snowed and one became ultra-aware of the amount of glass in the building. It certainly had the WOW! Factor. I am glad to say that the present owners have lavished time and money on Valley Spring and it still looks wonderful and contemporary at the age of fifty!
I hope that the Klein Studio story ends as well.”
Vivien Womersley, sister-in-law, on living in a Womersley house.
"(Peter Womersley) has not really been lauded at all for his work. He's almost forgotten outside a small set of architects who obviously appreciate his work. I'm rather pleased he's getting some recognition now - I think it's overdue."
Shelley Klein, daughter of Bernat Klein.
“Our parents, Jim and Margaret Colledge, were close friends of both Peter Womersley and Bernat and Margaret Klein. To have grown up with the fierce intelligence and cultural engagement that both Peter and the Klein family brought to the table, to have had the privilege of their friendship and generosity, but most of all to have experienced their creative output as it happened, has left each of us with a deep appreciation for the impact of good design on society in the best and broadest sense. This influence, preserved in the physical form of these architectural works of art, should not be lost to future generations.”
The Jim Colledge family, friends of Peter Womersley, on growing up with Peter’s influence.
“I'm interested in architecture in general, and visit Maidens often - just a short distance from Port Murray. The house there was so unusual for Ayrshire, and in such a stunning location that it really captivated me. The Pevsner Guide gives it some attention, and that took me to reading more about Peter Womersley's other buildings and about him as a person. I liked the sound of him very much, and there are wonderful photos of the interior of the house in the 1960s on the RIBA website. And then one day in 2017 I saw signs for a demolition company, and couldn't believe that such a building wouldn't be listed and protected. Although I'd never been inside it myself, I was really quite upset that to see that it had been demolished. A short story commission from BBC Radio 4 gave me a chance to give it a kind of memorial in fiction.”
Zöe Strachan, enthusiast and writer, on the now demolished Port Murray House.
“I first discovered the Klein Studio in the mid-1970’s when, on a family trip to the Borders, my parents drew into the car park and we all said “wow – what is that?”…
…Although the Category A listed Studio has been on the Buildings At Risk Register since 2002, the statutory bodies seem to have no power to take any action. One fears it will decline until it becomes dangerous and a Repairs and Demolition Notice is served. Demolition was the sentence of another of Womersley’s houses in the west of Scotland, whose fate was sealed by an uncaring owner and an equally uncaring planning authority. Surely there must be a better sway to protect our built heritage?”
Colin McLean, photographer and enthusiast, writing in the spring 2018 edition of The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland magazine, on the subject of his favourite building.
“I visited the Studio with my dad when I was a child. My dad was a lecturer in textile design at SCOT in Galashiels and he was friendly with Bernat. I love the Studio and always thought I would live there when I grew up.
I've always felt very sad that the Studio has been left to fall into this state, so I'd be really interested to see this project move forward.”
Alison Elliot, enthusiast, on her connection to the Klein Studio
"This building is of significant importance to the Modernist movement in the United Kingdom and in particular to the history of the work of Peter Womersley, the architect responsible for the Studio.
The Studio at High Sunderland is one of Womersley’s highlight designs and it is terrible to see how it has been allowed to deteriorate, particularly as it is on the Scottish Borders Council List of buildings in danger."
Hamish and Sheila-Mary Carruthers, owners of the Rig Office, Gattonside.