Herbert Raymond Myerscough -Walker
RAYMOND MYERSCOUGH-WALKER 1908-1984
Raymond Myerscough-Walker was a most unusual and talented man.
Born 30th October 1908, the eldest of three brothers, in Knaresborough, Yorkshire his early life was one of some hardship and poverty. His father was a butcher who died relatively young of TB and his mother, Ellen Myerscough, was a nurse who rose to become a matron. She was determined her boys should have a profession, and although Raymond wanted to be a jazz drummer, architecture beckoned.
Raymond, and his brother Winston, were both talented and this was recognised by a wealthy patron, Alex Keighley, who initially encouraged them to sketch and then sponsored their university education, first to Leeds School of Art and then by scholarship to the Architectural Association in London.
He won the Tite prize in 1931, but an early indication of his later eccentricity came when he then won the Prix de Rome and refused to take it up..
He felt he had ‘been pushed into these competitions and I cannot bear to be confined’.
His draughtsmanship was remarkable and competed with the best of his time. If he felt a building was hideous, he drew it floodlit by night to make it look more interesting. He was a talented architect and his house in Chilwell stands as one of the best, and certainly the prettiest, of the Modern Movement houses of the thirties. He was a prolific writer, both of magazine articles and books, a stage designer, artist and sculptor.
Herbert Raymond Myerscough Walker
married Mamie Carlotta MacIntyre Eccles on the 22 March 1932.
But his life was one of considerable eccentricity. An office life was not for him, nor was a conventional one at home. Much of his life was spent deep in woods in Chichester, for a period in a tent, some time in a rented cottage, and then in a caravan. But always illicitly and avoiding the council officers, social workers, and any figures of authority who tried to find him..
He was a true bohemian, his children he educated himself, refusing to send them to school and whilst he led a somewhat hand to mouth existence he managed to produce perspectives, paintings, sculptures and even a guide book to the public houses of Sussex.
This latter he particularly enjoyed as he could sample the wares as he drew the building.
He can be considered to be not only one of the greatest perspective artists of his time but also at the pinnacle of a long line of English eccentrics whose like it is unlikely we shall see again.
He died in June 1984 Sussex
ELIOT WALKER – Toadsmoor, Stroud 2008
(Black and white illustrations from Raymond Myerscough-Walker Architect and Perspectives by Gavin Stamp, published by the Architectural Association 1984)
House at Chilwell near Nottingham by Raymond Myerscough Walker 1936 Undersides of canopy is white but it is seen here reflecting the red floor of the balcony