The Percy Johnson-Marshall Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The Percy Johnson-Marshall Collection consists of papers, plans, books, journals and photographs collected or created by him throughout the course of his career. These reflect both his employment situation, his involvement in professional organisations and educational bodies, his involvement in World Development issues and his general interest in architecture and planning. The collection contains material relating to:

  • University of Liverpool studentships,  1931-1938
  • Willesden Borough Council,  1930-1938
  • Coventry City Council,  1939-1959
  • London County Council,  1937-1968
  • World War II service in India and Burma,  1940-1956
  • Association of Building Technicians,  1940-1965
  • Service Arts and Technical Organization (SATO),  1943-1946
  • School of Planning and Research for National Development,  1946-1957
  • Ministry of Town and Country Planning,  1948
  • International Centre for Regional Planning and Development (ICRPD),  1955-1962
  • teaching duties at the University of Edinburgh,  1959-1988
  • Percy Johnson-Marshall & Associates,  1962-1985
  • United Nations
  • Ministry of Overseas Development
  • Association for Planning and Regional Reconstruction
  • Housing Centre Trust
  • International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISoCARP)
  • Modern Architectural Research Group (MARG)
  • Mars Group of the Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne
  • Royal Institute of British Architects
  • Royal Town Planning Institute
  • Society for the Promotion of Urban Renewal (SPUR)
  • Commonwealth Human Ecology Council (CHEC)
  • collected books
  • collected journals
  • mixed correspondence and papers
  • collection of slides

Administrative / Biographical History

Percy Edwin Alan Johnson-Marshall (1915-1993 ) was one of the most energetic of a generation of town-planners who began their careers in the 1930s  and, after the Second World War, dedicated their lives to the creation of a new world of social equity through the radical transformation of the human environment.

Born in Ajmer, India, he was brought by his parents, via the Middle East, to England in the 1920s . In 1931  Percy followed his brother Stirrat Johnson-Marshall to the School of Architecture at the University of Liverpool. Here he studied under the two most eminent professors of the period, Sir Charles Herbert Reilly and Sir Leslie Patrick Abercrombie.

After gaining the Diploma in Architecture (with distinction), in 1936 , Johnson-Marshall entered public service as assistant architect, first for Middlesex County Council, then for Willesden Borough Council (1936-1938 ). In the meantime he had taken a postgraduate certificate in Civic Design, at the University of Liverpool Department of Civic Design.

In 1938  Coventry City Council created its new City Architect's Department, appointing the highly respected Donald Evelyn Edward Gibson, later Sir Donald, as Chief Architect. Johnson-Marshall was hired by Gibson and given the post of Senior Assistant Architect in charge of redesigning the obsolete city-centre, in 1939 . The design of the new civic centre was given added impetus when Coventry was devastated in a bombing raid in November 1940 .

Johnson-Marshall was called-up for military service in 1941  and, after basic training in England, saw service with the Royal Engineers in India and Burma. During his time in the army, he lost his first wife in Coventry and met and married his second wife in India. He was also actively involved in the Service's Architect's Technical Organisation (SATO), leading teaching groups, giving lectures and writing articles on planning. Having achieved the rank of Major, he was attached to the Government of Burma as an advisor on reconstruction and, with William Tatton-Brown, devised a reconstruction plan for the country (1946 ).

After demobilisation, Johnson-Marshall worked as Assistant Regional Planning Officer for the newly created Ministry of Town & Country Planning (1946-1948 ). During this time he took the intensive completion course, at the School of Planning and Research for Regional Development (SPRRD), in order to gain his Diploma in Town Planning.

In 1949  Johnson-Marshall was appointed Senior Planner, in charge of Comprehensive Development Areas to the Architect's Department of the London County Council. He was also a part-time teacher at the SPRRD and, from 1948 , Secretary of the School of Planning Club. From 1956 to 1959  he was Group Planning Officer for North-East London before taking up a post as Lecturer in Planning at the newly-created Department of Architecture, at the University of Edinburgh. There he set up the Planning Research Unit, in 1962 , which undertook a number of regional surveys for the Scottish Development Department. In 1964 , he became Professor of his own Department of Urban Design and Regional Planning. He retired from this post in 1985 , becoming the director of the Patrick Geddes Centre for Planning Studies, until his illness in 1987-1988 .

After Johnson-Marshall was appointed Planning Consultant to the University of Edinburgh, a firm of planning consultants, Percy Johnson-Marshall & Associates, was set up, in 1960 . During Johnson-Marshall's lifetime, a number of major commissions were carried out, including regional and sub-regional plans, conservation areas, comprehensive redevelopment areas and residential development plans.

During his career, Johnson-Marshall was a member of a number of institutes and involved in numerous other activities. He was elected member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1938  and served as a member of council and of the Education Committee. In 1947  he was elected member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, also serving as a member of council and of the Education Committee. He was a founding member of the International Centre for Regional Planning and Development (ICRPD), in 1954 . He was also a member of: the Executive Committee of the Housing Centre Trust, the Society for the Promotion of Urban Renewal (SPUR), and the MARS Group of the Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne. He sat on the World Health Organisation's expert panel on Environmental Health and Planning (1970 ) and was consultant on Human Settlements for the United Nation's Conference on the Human Environment (1972 ), Chairman of the Royal Town Planning Institute's Town and Country Planning Summer Schools, and, from 1977-1980 , Vice President of the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISoCARP). In 1975 , Professor Johnson-Marshall was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG), in recognition of his contribution to the planning profession.

Arrangement

The following subfonds have been fully arranged in line with accepted archival standards:

London County Council

Association of Building Technicians

Coventry City Council

Edinburgh University Development

International Centre for Regional Planning and Development (ICRPD)

University of Liverpool studentships

Service Arts and Technical Organization (SATO)

Willesden Borough Council

United Nations

The following subfonds have been pulled together but neither sorted nor arranged:

School of Planning and Research for National Development

World War II service in India and Burma

Teaching duties at the University of Edinburgh

The remainder of the material remains in the order of the original handlist created when packing and transferring it to Edinburgh University Library.

Conditions Governing Access

We strongly encourage you to contact us before your visit as special access conditions and restrictions apply to some collections. Please see our information on requesting material

Some material is subject to access restrictions under the Data Protection Act, 1998. Material relating to living individuals may be restricted under the same act.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to Edinburgh University Library by Mrs April Johnson-Marshall in October 1999. The material was recorded in situ at the Johnson-Marshall family home, in Duddingston by Deborah Boyd-Whyte. It was then sorted, listed and packaged for transfer, and transferred to the Library.

Note

None

Other Finding Aids

A crate list of additional uncatalogued material is available at: http://www.johnson-marshall.lib.ed.ac.uk/search/index.html

Alternative Form Available

Other copies of much of the published material held in this collection will be available through a number of libraries. A significant proportion of the collection consists of copies of maps, plans or papers (eg committee papers) for which multiple copies would have been made. Further copies of these may exist in other archival collections, particulaly those of the originating bodies. A full list of United Kingdom Archives and their holdings is maintained in the National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, and this can be consulted via their website: http://www.hmc.gov.uk

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Director of Collections. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with accepted archival standards.

Custodial History

This material was collected by Percy Johnson-Marshall through the course of his career and donated to Edinburgh University Library, after his death, by his widow, April Johnson-Marshall.

Accruals

Accruals are possible.

Related Material

Related material held in Edinburgh University Library Special Collections Division:  

Location of Originals

Much of this material is original. However, a significant proportion consists of copies of maps, plans or papers (eg committee papers) for which multiple copies would have been made. Where originals exist of these items, it is likely that they will be held in the archives of the organisation from which the material originated. A full list of United Kingdom Archives and their holdings is maintained in the National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, and this can be consulted via their website: http://www.hmc.gov.uk

Bibliography

Johnson-Marshall, Percy,  Rebuilding Cities, (Edinburgh,  Edinburgh University Press ,  1966 )

Corporate Names