Prince Charles praises Sidmouth's Sampson book

THE PRINCE who once condemned modern architecture in London as a carbuncle , has praised a Sidmouth woman for producing a booklet about RW Sampson, the architect who changed the face of the town.

THE PRINCE who once condemned modern architecture in London as a "carbuncle", has praised a Sidmouth woman for producing a booklet about RW Sampson, the architect who changed the face of the town.

Sylvia Brownlee, whose successful exhibition about the life and work of Robert William Sampson, (1866-1950) at Kennaway House, closed on Monday, sent a copy of her booklet, Sampson's Sidmouth to Prince Charles.

In a reply on his behalf, he sends his "warmest best wishes" and thanks for the booklet.

The royal letter states: "His Royal Highness was most interested to read about the history of the town and appreciates the hard work and dedication that must have gone into producing this publication."


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About her exhibition, Sylvia said: "I was not expecting this much interest. I have been delighted. It has certainly got people talking about Sampson, both residents and visitors.

"Lots of people said they had never heard of him or had no idea he had done so much.

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"I am thinking of starting a Sampson Society and list all the houses he designed, and perhaps have an annual dinner on the Saturday nearest his birthday, which is March 7."

She said Mark and Jo Seward, who own the Kingswood Hotel - a Sampson design - would be running a Discover Sampson weekend next year, with speakers and a tour of Sampson properties.

"I have met some wonderful people. Everyone who lives in a Sampson house seems to be happy," said Sylvia.

During his career, Sampson produced a wide variety of designs, from complex houses and hotels to council homes.

One visitor, seeing a photograph of the Arcot Park homes, believes he could have designed similar properties in London where she lives.

One of the hand-coloured architectural drawings at the exhibition was of Sidmouth Club's billard room.

Derek Parry, president of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce and a club member, said: "The club had to do major renovations in the billiard room and found three drawings under the floor.

"The billiard room was built on to 10 Fortescue Terrace (about 1889).

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