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Respected architect Betty Cadbury-Brown dies at 80

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The death last week of Betty Cadbury-Brown, famously vivacious wife of Jim Cadbury-Brown, removes a key figure from a particular architectural circle who will be sorely missed, writes James Dunnett.

Brought up in a left-leaning community in Croton-on-Hudson, New York State, she studied architecture at Princeton, arriving in London in 1948 with an introduction to Ernö Goldfinger from the cousin of his former client, Helena Rubinstein.

Through Goldfinger she met Jim, his pre-war colleague, and a close friendship between the Cadbury-Browns and the Goldfingers continued to the end. Betty stood up to Ernö Goldfinger and sometimes suffered for it.

She was once 'in the dog house' for months for having failed to realise that Goldfinger's 1931 Entas tubular chair was capable of being stacked.

When she asked Ursula Goldfinger for advice as to how to retrieve the situation, she was told none could be given because Ursula was so often 'in the dog house' herself!

She played a central role in the Cadbury-Brown practice, particularly in the development of details, finally and very recently researching the correct membrane for re-roofing their exquisite flat-roofed home in Aldeburgh, a 'bungalow in back lands development' - the planners' description she was fond of quoting. Here her warmth and hospitality were legendary - as well as the strength of her whisky sours. With her American accent unabated, this was a little slice of Manhattan in Suffolk.

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