Weaving together strings to master planner’s bow

Josh Tidy and Vida Browning with their collection mugs.

Josh Tidy and Vida Browning with their collection mugs. - Credit: Archant

Granddaughter of Letchworth master planner welcomes renewed attention around his work

The granddaughter of Letchworth master planner Barry Parker has welcomed the renewed attention around his work.

This comes after the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation commissioned historian Dr Mervyn Miller to write the biography of the architect and planner who took his garden city designs around the world.

There will also be a new gift range featuring Parker’s early art work, including cups and cards, in a Christmas exhibition in the Community Museum from Saturday, December 5.

The exhibition will follow hot on the heels of a session exploring the arts and crafts movement in Letchworth at the Garden City Collection two days earlier.

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Vida Browning, who lives in Norwich and has many of her grandfather’s watercolours on her wall, said: “It’s wonderful to have this interest, I would love him to be more widely known.

“I know his paintings, I grew up with them at my grandmother’s house, but I hadn’t seen his early work.

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“He painted for relaxation and often became totally absorbed, so much so that my father once fell in the river while Barry was painting and he just hauled him out and let him run around to dry while he carried on with his picture.

“My grandfather was one of those people who was always busy, a real people person who was always on committees and at social events, but he still found the time to create everything from master plans for cities around the world to small artefacts.

“I loved the way he also took useful everyday objects such as door handles and transformed them into things of great beauty.”

Josh Tidy, who is curator of the community musuem, said: “It’s so great to start to get some of Barry Parker’s work out there and enjoyed, and what better way than in gifts and items that can be used and seen every day, like calendars, mugs and mirrors.”

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