Past Events

An Activist Scholar: The Gavin Stamp Archive


  • 16 January to 19 May 2023
  • Paul Mellon Centre

This Drawing Room Display explores Gavin Stamp’s career as an architectural historian, activist and draughtsman through objects in his archive at the PMC together with material generously loaned by his family and friends.

Through Stamp’s work, architectural history emerged as an arena of accountability, enlightenment and community building. He was a vital figure in the Twentieth Century Society, the Lutyens Trust and the Alexander Thomson Society. He followed in a long tradition spanning from John Carter and A.W.N. Pugin in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to his heroes Robert Byron (1905–1941) and Ian Nairn (1930–1983). He developed his voice in his fortnightly column for Private Eye, “Nooks and Corners” and spread his message through many other platforms: monographs, essays, broadcasts, walking tours and exhibitions. He was also an active draughtsman and photographer.

Bourne Street

Bourne Street, Gavin Stamp, St. Mary’s, Bourne Street poster (1973)

This display seeks to showcase how these different mediums were significant discourse makers for Stamp and how they had a wide impact on the way architecture was talked about, perceived, taught, conserved – and canonised.

The display draws extensively on the Gavin Stamp Archive, which was kindly donated to the PMC by Rosemary Hill. For more information about the archive click here.