Monthly Archives: December 2013

Frederick H. Brooke

The on-site architect Frederick H. Brooke (1876-1960) came to play a pivotal role in the Lutyens’s British Embassy. Stamp and Greenberg, in their important study published in Lutyens abroad (2002), give him a significant amount of credit, relating how he was caught between the most often-absent British architect and the constraints of both the Treasury […]

Wardman and the British Embassy

For real estate developer and builder Harry Wardman (1871-1938), the new British Embassy in Washington was clearly his great ambition. As touched upon in a previous post on the history of the site, he maneuvered early on to secure the work, managing to sell to the Government the new location while taking on the project […]

The Construction and Beginnings of the Gardens

The cornerstone of the new Embassy was laid on 3 June 1928, in an informal ceremony with Ambassador Esmé Howard, American architect Frederick Brooke and builder Harry Wardman in attendance. A copy of the architectural plans, the names of the architects and builders, “and other official documents” (according to the Washington Post) were laid inside […]

Fashion (and Money) Follows the British Embassy

An aerial Associated Press photograph taken in October 1930 of the new British Embassy—five months after Lutyens’s final site visit and its first occupancy—captures the complex in its still-unfinished state.  The areas for the pool and tennis court are excavated but not built, the terrace rose beds are barren, a construction road leads from W […]

Lutyens and Jekyll

One of the more common questions asked about the British Ambassador’s Residence gardens is whether Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) was involved in the planning. The influential gardener, designer and writer’s long partnership with Sir Edwin Lutyens, resulted in dozens and dozens of gardens. But by the time of the designing of the Washington Embassy, the two […]