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Credit due to Crabtree for classic store

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Letters

Your interesting report on the forthcoming refurbishment of the Peter Jones store unfortunately fails to mention the name of William Crabtree, the architect principally responsible for its design.

John Spedan Lewis, founder of the John Lewis Partnership, appointed CH Reilly as his architect 'for all general purposes', shortly before the Peter Jones store was built.

Crabtree had recently graduated with a distinguished record from the Liverpool University School of Architec-

ture, where he had studied store design and had impressed his professor.

Reilly therefore suggested to Lewis that Crabtree be given the comission to design Peter Jones, with Reilly himself as consultant.

However, as it was a big job and Crabtree had little practical experience and no office organisation, it was suggested that Slater and Moberly be appointed associated architects to get the building built.

An only slightly earlier parallel, but for somewhat different reasons, might well be Lutyens' Midland Bank, designed by him with Gotch and Saunders as executive architect.

In the case of Peter Jones, the real author, as Reilly made clear in his autobiography, was his 'dear old student William Crabtree' - while Reilly stood behind, 'agreeing and approving and making the occasional suggestion.'

Crabtree's name, more than anyone else's, should be associated with the building.

Gerald Dix, Emeritus Professor of Civic Design, University of Liverpool

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