Lord Carrington, 1919-2018

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“Lord Carrington interviewed myself and John Craig in the early 1970s with a view to appointing our architectural practice to design a small group of houses in Bledlow. He appointed us after asking advice from two other architects, Lord Casson and Lord Esher, the latter who eventually became a patron of the Turn End Trust. They both advised Lord Carrington to employ a local architect and knew of the work of our practice.

We built Lyde End in Bledlow (see the Historic England list entry here) for Lord Carrington in 1975/6. The project consisted of five small scale dwellings to house either a single person, a married couple or two single people sharing. There was a sixth dwelling for an estate worker. 

We rapidly discovered that Lord Carrington was a highly perceptive person. He needed to see that any ideas which you presented to him were because of your conviction and that you were presenting the right solution to a problem. He did this by very incisive questioning, whilst peering straight into your eyes. Once convinced, he would support you up to the hilt.

Lord Carrington had a wicked sense of humour. Part of his brief for Lyde End was to provide a (preferably blue tiled) wall to receive many design awards. We managed to fulfil this (minus the blue tiles). 

Following the success of Lyde End, Lord Carrington became aware that we had a garden that opened to the public through the National Garden Scheme. Lord and Lady Carrington also opened their own substantial gardens at Bledlow Manor. He was always kind enough to display posters of our garden openings at his garden events and many private tours resulted from this. He was once a very kind host to our children. 

In the late 1990s, following a family conversation about the future of Turn End, we invited a number of luminaries from the architectural landscape and journalistic world to a ‘talk-in’ which was recorded on tape. Lord Carrington attended and his parting words to us were, ‘Be absolutely certain you know what you want to achieve.’ 

The Trust was born out of ideas floated at this meeting and Lord Carrington accepted the role of patron. Through this role we had many discussions with him in the early days. Jane Brown, the author of the book A Garden and Three Houses, which tells the story of Turn End, was also present at the meeting and suggested that there was a written record of what had been achieved at Turn End how it had been achieved. I remember saying to her, ‘That sounds like a book.’ The making of a film was also discussed at that time and various explorations were made.

The Trust was eventually launched on June 20th 1998 and Lord Carrington remained a patron until his death earlier this month".