Sunday, 28 January 2007

David Marshall

Church Architect and Churchwarden of St Peter's
This tribute represents many shared memories of David, in addition to those of Kendrick Partington and Keith Charter.

David and Iris began coming to St. Peter’s in the early 70s when both their sons sang in St. Peter’s Choir under the leadership of Kendrick Partington.

Kendrick writes: I will always remember David, especially for his unfailing courtesy. He was never too busy to devote his whole attention to the problems or requests one laid before him, and his cheerful response would lighten many an anxious moment. In both Choir and Organ matters, he was utterly supportive, bringing Simon and Andrew to choir practices and services with the utmost regularity. He was extremely proud of his sons’ service to the choir and spoke most enthusiastically to other parents, helping recruitment in a very personal way. When the decision was taken to move the organ console, he spared no efforts to ascertain where the most useful position would be and supervised the work with his usual attention to detail.

As a member of the small group showing Bluecoat School pupils around St. Peter’s several times a year, his profound knowledge of the history and architecture of the church always fascinated his hearers and this is also shown in the plans he made showing the gradual development of the building. A dear friend to all who were fortunate enough to know him.

David served on the PCC for many years, and became People’s Warden in 1985, succeeding George Goodliffe. He took his duties seriously and did useful work on upgrading the terrier or inventory of church property. He served until 1988 when pressure of work made him stand down.

David was Church Architect to St Peter’s for many years whilst he was a partner in the firm of Cartwright Woollatt. This was the successor to the firm of an earlier churchwarden, Robert Evans, which had been responsible for much of the Church restoration in the early 20th century –and David found real treasures among the drawings of work at St Peter’s in his firm’s archives. He designed the former counselling room and the lobby in the North Aisle, the beautiful ironwork on the West Door, the dais, the resiting of the organ, the kitchen and loos next to the St. James’s Room, the flooring and ironwork of the Gallery above the West Door, and outside the church had much to do with the building of the curtain wall outside the West Door (where the steps down to the Square now are), a necessary addition to stop the tower falling down! In the 1990s, before the agreement with Marks & Spencer’s allowed us to build the St Peter’s Centre, he designed a remarkable extension to the St James’s Room, with offices and a seminar room culminating in a prominent turret and small spire – “to balance the one at the West End”, he said – none of which was ever built, though his drawings survive.

David was a founder member of the St Peter’s History Group which ran through the 1980s and 90s, and contributed, especially with his expert and charming drawings, to the booklets on the windows and the monuments. He also wrote a historical account of the church building for a booklet on church, parish and city, illustrated again with his delightful drawings. Some of these now form part of the display panels in the North Aisle, which he designed and which vividly demonstrate how the church grew and how it suffered attacks in the 17th century and earlier. At the time of his death he had nearly completed a substantial history of the church, which we hope may still appear in some form before too long.
As Clerk to the Trustees of the Hannah Levick Charity, Keith Charter writes:
David had a part in a number of major projects associated with St Peter's; but one of the hugely significant ones, not so much remembered by today's congregation, must be the design and planning of Levick Court, an almshouse complex provided by the Trustees of Miss Hannah Levick's Charity. The original bequest was in memory of her brother George who died in the 1870s and initially provided accommodation for the poor in a number of terraced properties in the Meadows.

David's involvement was with the present complex opened in 1982 where he worked as architect alongside Canon Angus Inglis (as Chairman of Trustees) and Lewis Mason (as Solicitor to the Trustees) in resurrecting the almshouse scheme that had lain dormant since that part of the Meadows was redeveloped. The new Court contained 12 flats within a beautiful courtyard and designed very much with the more frail in mind although they also contain some fairly active pensioners! The flats are well laid out, warm, spacious and so welcome a home to those who have often come from much worse accommodation and/or areas. Like St Peter's is in the city centre for passers by, Levick Court has become a haven for its residents and David's contribution to that achievement is self evident.

When the Trustees were required by the Housing Corporation to provide a Condition Survey in 2000 who best to turn to than David himself and he readily gave freely of his time to produce a uniquely detailed report on the present structure which, by its lack of defect items was itself a memorial to David's original design. Dozens of residents have benefited from David's
work and many more will do so for years to come.

David was a magistrate from 1976 to 1995, well respected for his courtesy and consistent fairness. The licensing committee was a special interest and he chaired that panel from 1987 to 1990 - his professional knowledge came in very useful when inspecting licensed premises. His contributions to the church services were just as important - he read lessons and also led the prayers regularly over a long period.

He will also be sadly missed in the Coffee Room, where he helped in a “front and back of house” role when Iris was on duty behind the counter.

1 comment:

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