19th November 1976

Architect Basil Spence dies

Basil Spence was responsible for some of the most important and memorable buildings in Britain and beyond. At home, he is best remembered for his work on the reconstruction of Coventry Cathedral, which had been all but destroyed during bombing in the Second World War.

At the end of a heavy night of bombing on 14 November 1940, all that remained of the original structure was its spire and outer wall, which Spence chose to retain. However, rather than devising a replacement for the missing parts that aped the original, he came up with a strikingly modernist extension that would sit beside it and combine to produce something that was far more memorable as a result.

Work on realising his design began in 1956 with the laying of its foundation stone by Queen Elizabeth II. It was completed six years later, with Spence being recognised for his work, with a knighthood, in 1960 – before the building was even finished.

Basil Spence in Scotland

Although born in India to Scottish parents, Spence was sent home to Scotland to be educated, and studied at Edinburgh College of Art. Much of his work can thus be found within Scotland.

Among others, he was responsible for housing developments in Edinburgh and Glasgow, the library at Edinburgh University, Glasgow Airport, parts of Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Thurso High School, and Broughton Place in Scottish Borders, which he designed to look like a 17th century manor house.



Other events that occured in November

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