Category Frederick Brooke

The Myths of the British Embassy II: the Location with Lutyens

The previous entry in this website surveyed the District’s Gilded Age landscape with its Beaux-Arts architecture existing on Massachusetts Avenue before the British Chancery and Ambassador’s Residence arrived in the neighborhood. This was to address misinformation about and the perplexing view that the architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, designed the United Kingdom complex in rural land […]

The Myths of the British Embassy I: the Location before Lutyens

There persists the unfortunate belief in some publications that in the 1920s the government of the United Kingdom chose a remote site with “little civilization nearby” for their new Washington Embassy. While the British with their previous diplomatic building pioneered the countryside around Connecticut Avenue—with livestock pens and crumbling Civil War barracks for neighbors—that is […]

A Trowel for the British Embassy but not in the Gardens

It did not make mention in any of the newspaper reports of the laying of the cornerstone of the Lutyens-designed Embassy on 3 June 1928, but the “Washington trowel” was employed in the ceremony.  Ambassador Esmé Howard, standing with American architect Frederick Brooke, builder Harry Wardman and some of the diplomatic community but mostly with […]

The End of the Lindsay Era and the Beginning of the War Years in the Embassy’s Gardens

Ronald Lindsay retired from the British Ambassadorship in Washington and set sail for England on 30 August 1939, landing just after war was declared on Germany. Elizabeth Lindsay never saw her husband again. His work and failing health confined him to his country for the duration. He died in 1945 and was buried next to […]

Lindsay’s Groundwork for the Gardens

With the return of the diplomatic corps and the beginning of the fall social season of 1930 in Washington, the press was filled with reports of the new British Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue. The Ambassador’s Residence had already been put to work: the first large party to be held there was that August for 600 […]

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 […]

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 […]