Brian Bannatyne Lewis (1906 – 1991)
Greenford Station (1938)
Pen, ink and watercolour
70 x 50 cm
Initialled and dated 7 3 38.
A 1938 design for the new Greenford tube station, commissioned by the Great Western Railway (GWR) for its proposed western extension to the Central Line. The design’s Art Deco lettering befits London Transport’s aesthetic in the 1930s. Lewis brings his designs to life by including smartly-dressed characters entering and leaving the stations.
The Central line opened in 1900, between Shepherd’s Bush and Bank; it extended westwards to Ealing Broadway in 1920. Two years after the formation of London Transport in 1933, an extensive New Works Programme began, proposing a westwards extension of the line to Denham. Brian Lewis created designs for nine stations in early 1938, but the Second World War broke out before they could be built. By the time the extension had been built, Lewis was no longer chief architect of the GWR – the stations were modified and completed by Frederick Francis Charles Curtis instead. The extension to Greenford opened in 1947 and finally reached West Ruislip in 1948. Denham never actually became part of the tube line, owing to the establishment of the green belt.
Brian Lewis was born in Tasmania, attended school in Melbourne, and subsequently obtained a Diploma in Architecture in 1928 from the University of Melbourne. He then moved to the UK to study at the Liverpool School of Architecture, winning scholarships in each of his three years of study to fund extensive European travel. He married a fellow Liverpool architectural student, Hilary Archer.
After moving to London, he took up employment with the GWR in their architects’ office; he also lectured at a local polytechnic, and moonlighted with his wife at home on mainly residential commissions – rather different projects from the hotels and stations which GWR commissioned from him. He exhibited frequently at the Royal Academy of Arts, showing superb measured drawings of historic buildings.
In the Second World War he enlisted with the Second Imperial Australian Force, serving in the Middle East, then transferred to the Royal Australian Engineers where he became a Captain. In 1943 he was sent to London to help GWR repair bomb damage. Lewis became Chief Architect of GWR in 1945 (following the retirement of the noted Percy Emerson Culverhouse), and the first Chair of Architecture at Melbourne University in 1947. He also became the consulting architect for the major buildings of the Australian National University in Canberra, producing an imaginative site plan and designing University House, which was awarded the Sulman medal in 1954. He also designed the Risdon Prison Complex in 1960. He retired in 1971 to paint watercolours and write his memoirs.
Condition: generally very good; a few handling marks and two holes from filing. Handsomely framed.
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