Tribute to Dr. Mervyn Miller
By Colin Amery
It is a privilege to acknowledge the great contribution that Mervyn Miller has made to the work of the Lutyens Trust as its Architectural Adviser since 1985 as he steps down to follow his many other interests. As I said at the special lunch arranged to thank him; he has never forgotten the Trust’s mission – “ to protect the spirit and substance of the work of Sir Edwin Lutyens.” When he voluntarily took on the role just a few years after the memorable Hayward Gallery Lutyens Exhibition, it was clear that he was exactly the right man for the, often delicate and difficult, task. At that time Mervyn was a Principal Conservation Officer in Hertfordshire while he developed his passion for planned garden cities, especially the first at Letchworth and the later Hampstead Garden Suburb; leading to a Ph.D. for his work on Parker and Unwin and the Garden City Movement.
He has advised on countless cases for the Trust with persistence and determination; most recently at the long Public Inquiry concerning the impact of a wind farm on the setting of Gledstone Hall in Yorkshire; the complex and highly successful recovery of Folly Farm for its new owners; and the expected similar success at Heathcote. He has tackled the sensitive and political issue of the moving of the Cenotaph in Manchester. In all the case work (and he is handing over some 25 boxes of papers to the archive) Mervyn has been patient with bureaucracy and aware of aesthetics – a guardian of the “substance” of Lutyens’s architectural achievement.
His successor is Anthony Richardson, an architect with a long record of creative conservation and a passion for Lutyens’s work which he shares with his historian/scholar wife Margaret Richardson. He teaches on the conservation course at the Architectural Association and his London based firm, ARP Architects has won many awards for its housing and conservation work.
It is difficult to thank Mervyn adequately but the entire Trust is truly grateful for 27 years of unstinting work. It is excellent he is staying on as a Trustee and we wish him particular success as he assumes the distinguished mantle of Master of the Worshipful Company of Architects.