You’ve got to feel sorry for Nick Hancock, the former Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners architect, who won the competition to design the memorial to the Spitfire in Southampton
When the contest shortlist was first published in local rag The Daily Echo earlier this year, Hancock’s name was accidentally omitted. The paper, Hancock claims, had been too quick off the mark on judging day and as deadlines loomed had failed to include his scheme – one of more than 300 entries – among the finalists.
Miffed but not perturbed by this oversight, Hancock drew up his designs for the £2 million landmark and, last week, was named the winner. Unsurprisingly this decision provoked outrage from the six shortlisted designers who were unaware of this supposed Johnny-come-lately. Calls of conspiracy and corruption quickly followed.
These claims have been ‘shot down’ by John Hannides, councillor and chairman of the city’s Spitfire Tribute Foundation. As much-decorated Flt Lt Astragal always said: ‘Come out of the sun and catch ‘em unawares!’.