Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust holds Louis de Soissons event

PUBLISHED: 09:54 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:49 11 September 2018

Louis de Soissons. Picture WGC Heritage Trust.

Louis de Soissons. Picture WGC Heritage Trust.

Archant

The Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust held a talk on the life and times of one of the town’s creators.

Nearly 100 residents attended the WGC Heritage Trust's Louis de Soissons talk. Picture: WGC Heritage Trust.Nearly 100 residents attended the WGC Heritage Trust's Louis de Soissons talk. Picture: WGC Heritage Trust.

Nearly 100 people thronged to the group’s presentation on architect Louis de Soissons – one of WGC’s founders in 1920, who was heavily involved in its development for the following 60 years.

Researched by local man Geoffrey Hollis and organised by the trust, the talk covered numerous areas including his family and education, and also unveiled a wide range of photographs of his work.

WGC Heritage Trust chair, Tony Scottowe, said he was “over the moon” with the turnout, adding: “Everyone I spoke to was fascinated by what they had heard.

“Louis de Soissons has always seemed a rather remote figure and until now very little of his origins and his extensive work beyond WGC has been known.”

L-R: Charles Purdom, Louis de Soissons, Ebenezer Howard, Sir Theodore Chambers, Sir Richard Reiss. On the far RHS at the back, half obscured,  is Sir Frederic Osborn. Arthur Kenyon is at the back peering round the shoulder of Reiss. Picture: WGC Heritage Trust.L-R: Charles Purdom, Louis de Soissons, Ebenezer Howard, Sir Theodore Chambers, Sir Richard Reiss. On the far RHS at the back, half obscured, is Sir Frederic Osborn. Arthur Kenyon is at the back peering round the shoulder of Reiss. Picture: WGC Heritage Trust.

Among the widely unknown facts was that following the end of World War II, Mr de Soissons was appointed by the War Graves Commission in 1948 to design over 50 war grave cemeteries in Italy and Greece.

Next time you are near Monte Cassino in Italy you can see one of the best examples of his skill at the foot of the mountain.

As became increasingly clear during the talk, WGC was not the only example of his skill and originality.

Some superb examples can be found in Kennington, a number of which have royal connections.

Louis de Soissons bust. Picture: WGC Heritage Trust.Louis de Soissons bust. Picture: WGC Heritage Trust.

During the lively evening, Geoffrey presented de Soissons’ fascinating family history and gave a human face to the man about which very little has been revealed until now.

Tony added: “It really is wonderful to discover more about the man who was so important in creating the beautiful town we live in.

“He is definitely one of my heroes.”

De Soissons was born in Montreal, Canada, but moved in childhood to London, and eventually gained WGC as his first major commission.

As part of the event, WGC Heritage Trust has made a video recording that will soon be available to buy.

If you would like a copy, which is priced at £3 plus postage, or free if collected, residents can register their interest online via www.welwyngarden-heritage.org or by phoning 07580 197160.

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