In 1877, Lutyens’ father bought a house in Thursley. Edwin, known as Ned, was the eleventh of thirteen children and because of rheumatic fever the only one not to be formally educated. Instead he wandered the country lanes studying the buildings and haunted the village carpenter’s shop. Ned acquired detailed technical knowledge through constant boyhood visits to Tickner’s builder’s yard in Godalming and from the buildings they were building.
In 1885, when nearly sixteen, Lutyens went to the South Kensington School of Art to study architecture. Two years later he joined the office of the architect Sir Ernest George and went on sketching tours with Herbert Baker, who became a life-long friend. Although without professional experience, Lutyens set up in practice on his own, and in 1889 received his first commission from Arthur Chapman to design a nine-bedroom house at Crooksbury near Farnham.
His friends, Barbara and Robert Webb, lived in the formal, early Georgian, Milford House, and subsequently Lutyens designed a row of cottages for them in the village. Locally Lutyens’ designs include a pair of cottages at Park Hatch, Hascombe, cottages at Shere, Tilford Institute, and Farnham Liberal Club. He added a new kitchen wing for Rake Manor, Milford, designed the Red House at Frith Hill and a chancel screen at Busbridge Church.
In Godalming Museum can be seen Lutyens’ designs (never executed) for Piccadilly, a set square, and bronze architect’s model of the cenotaph, Whitehall c.1920, on loan from the Imperial War Museum, London.
Lutyens designed Fulbrook at Elstead 1896-99, describing it to his client as ‘a house you will love to live in’. A display cabinet shows the archive of the construction of Fulbrook House, including letters, photographs and a rare Lutyens sketchbook. Lutyens started a fresh sketchbook, which he called ‘virgin’, for each project but only a few survived.
The Museum Local Studies Library contains published books on Lutyens and articles on Lutyens as well as photographs of his work in the Godalming area.
For more about his association with Gertrude Jekyll click here
Books describing the life and works of Edwin Lutyens
Web site last updated 28/12/2005