Graham Bligh on Pilkington Brothers’ Headquarters
Following on from the last post on Fry and Drew’s staff, here’s an excerpt from a recent interview with the Australian architect Graham Bligh, an employee at Fry, Drew & Partners around the same time as Duncan Horne.
Bligh describes his time working on the headquarters for the glassmakers Pilkington Brothers at St. Helens, Lancashire, designed and built from 1955 to 1965. Designed by Maxwell Fry, the project was run by Staff Architect, Peter Bond. As Bligh recalls:
‘I became entirely focused on the canteen building which is next to the lake … I particularly remember doing a detail of the building wall … coming up to the lake with the waterproofing going down … I had a detail which worked but it wasn’t aesthetically suitable, you know, things didn’t really line up and Peter chews my ear about that. But I said, “But Peter, it’s all under the water!” He says, “I don’t care where it is!” … It’s the integrity of the quality of dimensioning and the detail.’
South façade of the Canteen, Pilkington Brothers’ Headquarters, St. Helens, c. 1965. © Pilkington Brothers
John Macarthur, Robert Riddel and Janina Gosseye interviewed Bligh in connection with the Architectural Practice in Postwar Queensland (1945-75) oral histories project. Visit the project’s website for further interviews with Graham Bligh and other Queensland-based architects.