Central government’s decision to make local authorities the vehicles for the schools and housing programmes undoubtedly boosted the image of public service, temporarily giving salaried architects the feeling of being valued partners in the process of rebuilding Britain. The feeling, however, was not destined to last. Many had started to recognise that the state might have entrusted these tasks to the local authorities, but made little attempt to ensure that they were properly equipped to handle that task in organisational terms (see also Chapter 4). Disillusion soon set in. By 1956, Robert Jordan gloomily reflected on the mood of anti-planning sweeping Britain in the wake of the Crichel Down affair,2 and the revival of prejudice against ‘official architecture’. With a tone tinged with sadness and exasperation, he tried to remind the profession that ‘Inigo Jones, Wren and Vanbrugh were salaried officials of the State’ and that, despite the prejudices of private architects, the LCC represented ‘in many ways the most successful architectural office in the world’.3 The fact that he felt the need to reassert the importance of the public sector was a reminder that ingrained professional value systems were likely to re-emerge
deals first with the experience of working in the public sector, followed by sections on the prestige private practices and the commercial sector. Its final segment examines intraprofessional matters. It notes how architects working in the public sector organised themselves to counter the traditional power base that the titled principals of private firms had enjoyed within the Royal Institute of British Architects. It then touches on private sector concerns about patronage, whereby local authority architects could pass on valuable contracts, with little competitive tendering to those that they favoured.