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Cecil George Butler (1897 - 1947)

Butler was active on the Suburb between 1922-1938, designing some 640 buildings

Early life

Cecil George Butler was born in Wellington, Shropshire on 30 March 1897, the third of four children. In 1901 his parents, John and Elizabeth Butler, were living at Park Street, Wellington. His father was a groom and gardener.


After having been articled at Shrewsbury under Walter Armstrong Richards F.S.I., Butler attended evening courses at The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College (1919), and then as a member of the Architectural Association Atelier (1920-21).

Butler was assistant to Edwin Thomas Dunn of Ilford 1919-1920, then to Vernon Crompton of Bedford Row, London 1920-1921, and to Messrs Niven & Wigglesworth at 7 John Street, Bedford Row, 1921-1922.

He began in practice in 1920. By 1923, he was living and working at 28 Vereker Road, Baron’s Court, London.

Butler became an ARIBA in 1921, his proposers being Crompton, Niven and Wigglesworth. In 1930 he became a Fellow, with Crompton, Niven and one other (presumably Wigglesworth) as his proposers.

Works in Hampstead Garden Suburb

In 1922, Butler was appointed Architect to the Co-Partnership Tenants' and Hampstead Tenants' Societies in order to develop Hampstead Garden Suburb and other Estates. He was the Co-Partnership Tenants’ architect from 1922 to 1933.

In 1923 he worked with French architect Hector O. Corfiato, on an updated plan for the 'New Suburb'. Butler’s FRIBA nomination papers refers to setting down the "general layout, road and sewer development on the Estate,". Butler was active in Hampstead Garden Suburb from 1922-1938, designing some 640 buildings during this period.  

Lyttelton Court (1929-1930) is an impressive group of flats - a striking design by Butler, with recessed balconies, stone pillars, Art Deco doorcases and Arts and Crafts brickwork in the diagonally-placed chimneys and brick arches.

Houses such as those at Northway, Middleway and Southway (1923-1927) are harmoniously designed by both Soutar and Butler, using consistent features. Junctions such as Thornton Way-Middleway feature attractively-designed symmetrical groups by Butler (1925).

On Brim Hill, several of Butler's designs are interesting asymmetrical semi-detached pairs, such as Nos. 42-48 (1931), and 92-98 (1934).

Nos. 3 and 4 The Leys have decorative brick surrounds to the doors and central gable window, while Nos. 6-7 The Leys have projecting porches with balconies above. (1933)

Mervyn Miller proclaims Butler's houses at Nos 1-24 Midholm Close (1927) and Nos 1-56 Neale Close (1929) as his best work at Hampstead Garden Suburb, with the latter sporting proud gables amongst neat blocks, with recessed porches and brickwork detailing.

"Elsewhere," Miller says, "Butler played safe," noting the "competent yet dull conformity," of his houses at Nos. 19-24 South Square (1934).

Following sixteen prolific years designing houses at Hampstead Garden Suburb, Butler returned to Shropshire and took up partnership at Shrewsbury as Shayles, Butler and Dilke from 1939-1941. During the Second World War, he worked in the Lands Department of the War Office.

From 1945-1947, Butler worked in private practice at Shrewsbury; not much is known of any work from this period.

Death and legacy

On 30 April 1947, Cecil George Butler died after an operation, aged 50. He was cremated at Golders Green. Butler’s business was carried on by Mr W Elsworth.

According to his RIBA Journal obituary, Butler built flats in Wandsworth "and other parts of London". He did work in Golders Green too. An obituary in The Builder noted that Butler "designed much work of charming character in Hampstead Garden Suburb."

During his time on the Suburb, Butler resided at 12a North End Road (c. 1926), 221 Hampstead Way (c. 1930) and 10 Milton Close (1936 - c. 1947).

79 Southway
79, Southway
79 Southway
79, Southway today
Lyttelton Court
Lyttelton Court
3, The Leys
3, The Leys
17, Neale Close
Neale Close

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