Thursday, 22 September 2011

News - Father of Council House listed in national archive (Thomas Cecil Howitt)

A HUCKNALL-BORN architect who designed some of Nottingham's most celebrated buildings has been included in a national historical database.

Information about the life of Thomas Cecil Howitt will be featured in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Mr Howitt designed the iconic Council House in Old Market Square, Nottingham Trent University's Newton building and the former Raleigh headquarters.

He is also renowned for designing the YMCA building in Shakespeare Street, Staythorpe Power Station and the Home Ales building in Mansfield Road, Daybrook.

His entry was written by architectural historian Doctor Elain Harwood, who said Howitt's influence on the city was vast.

She said: "He is the great Nottingham architect of the 20th Century and someone the city should rightly be proud of.

"One just needs to look around Nottingham and you can see his wonderful designs.

"The other thing that sets him apart was his range of influences and styles, from homes in the 1920s through to the fantastic Newton building in the 1960s."

The Oxford DNB, which is online and available free in libraries, features famous individuals as well as 400 entries on historical groups.

Mr Howitt began his career designing telephone exchanges and shops for Boots before the First World War.

He later joined the Nottingham city engineer's department and helped develop new housing estates in the north and west of the city to tackle a shortage of houses.

In 1923 Mr Howitt proposed a replacement for the old 18th century Corn Exchange which would become the Council House. Work started in 1927 and the building was opened by the Prince of Wales two years later.

Howitt died in 1968 at a home he designed in Orston, east Notts.

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