Adrian Gibson architecture slides (1950-2006)

Scope and Content

The Adrian Gibson Collection consists of approximately 19,000 photographic slides and 900 papers, illustrating principally British vernacular architecture but also including examples of gothic, renaissance and baroque edifices, as well as archaeological ruins. With a focus on the development and permutations of timber-framed buildings throughout the British Isles, the collection records distinct timber features that emerged between the 12th to 17th centuries.

The slide collection also contains examples of ecclesiastical buildings dating back to the 11th century in both England and France. Slides of distinguished ruins such as Jumièges Abbey can be found next to slides of intact churches such as Castle Hedingham Church. Despite the focus on architectural documentation, Adrian's keen archaeological interest never left him. This results in the collection including archaeological excavations showcasing discoveries such as pottery, tools, military equipment and items of personal use. In addition to its use as a tool for recording, the slide collection was used extensively by Gibson while lecturing in both academic and amateur contexts, sharing his knowledge and encouraging others to champion the historic built environment.

Administrative / Biographical History

Adrian Gibson trained as an archaeologist at the London University Institute of Archaeology where he went on to teach ex-mural classes and published 'Instructions in Archaeology', a general introduction to British archaeology for amateurs. In his early years, Adrian Gibson was predominantly engaged with archaeological work and contributed actively to the discovery of various artefacts of particular importance and with a specific historical resonance. Places of interest included Swanscombe, Monmouth, and many more.

A chance meeting in 1965 with the carpentry historian Cecil Hewett at Olives Farm, Hunsdon, when working on a Roman site, was to lead Gibson to follow a career studying historic timber-framed buildings and more specifically the vernacular architecture of Hertfordshire and Essex. The partnership produced works on the mathematical rules relating to the plan organisation and sectional arrangement of historical buildings of note. Examples of these can be found in NW Essex, Lancashire, Suffolk, Cumbria, Gloucestershire and many more. A site to which Adrian paid particular attention was Cressing Temple, Essex, one of the oldest surviving barn complexes, displaying the rapid evolution of timber framing techniques.

He was an active member of the Hertfordshire Archaeological Trust and President of the Hertfordshire and Essex Architectural Research Society. In 1993 he was awarded an MBE for services to conservation.

Access Information

Open for consultation by appointment.

Acquisition Information

In October 2017 ownership of the Adrian Gibson Collection of slides and drawings was transferred to Cardiff University.