I am very used to visiting a great variety of lofts and attic spaces, in varying degrees of disorder, in the hunt for interesting archives – but occasionally some experiences just stand out…

A couple of weeks ago I was kindly contacted by an alumna who asked me whether we would be interested in some 1930s student work by a significant Kent architect called George Clay. I duly travelled to Gravesend and discovered in an attic storeroom above a brick workshop, amongst some dead pigeons (I kid you not) and a thick layer of dust, a very un-promising looking wooden trunk and several over-sized portfolios… Nevertheless, it became clear that underneath the first inch or so of damaged sheets, there lay a well preserved set of excellent drawings from the late 1920s and early 30s, including not only the typical Beaux Arts exercises but also examples of posters for AA events such as the annual pantomime…




George Inglis Clay, attended the AA from 1928-1933, before joining the family business under the name of his father (also George Clay), the principal architectural firm in Gravesend, responsible for designing many of the town’s pubs, factories, shops, cinema, bank, schools and a significant amount of post-war housing.