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(Philip) Hope Edward Bagenal (1888–1979), the architectural theorist and acoustician, was born in February 1888 in Dublin. He was the second child of Philip Henry Bagenal and Harriot Jocelyn Hore. The family moved to England in 1890, settling first in West Kensington, moving to Ipswich in 1896, to York in 1901, and to Harrogate in 1902. Bagenal was educated at Ipswich Grammar School and St Peter's School, York, and then, from 1902, at Uppingham School. Bagenal studied engineering at Leeds University, but left without qualifying. In 1909 he became an articled pupil in the architectural practice of Niven and Wigglesworth, London, and became a member of the Architectural Association. Two years later, in 1911 Bagenal became an assistant to Edwin Cooper and worked on site at the Port of London Authority building. From 1914, Bagenal corresponded with Wallace Sabine, who was completing his pioneering work on architectural acoustics at Harvard.
Bagenal served with Royal Army Medical Corps on the Western Front, 1914-16, and was awarded the DCM. After being seriously wounded at the Somme, in August 1916, Bagenal was sent for convalescence at the Eastern General Hospital, Cambridge, where he met the physicist Alex Wood. With Wood he published Planning for Good Acoustics (1931), one of the earliest standard texts on the subject.
In 1917 Bagenal resumed his architectural career by joining Smith and Brewer, a leading London practice, as an assistant. In 1918 he and his wife moved into Leaside, a cottage just outside Hertingfordbury, where they lived for the remainder of their lives. Between 1919 and 1925 he worked as the Architectural Association librarian and editor of the AA Journal, whilst also developing a private acoustics consultancy. His first major commission, in 1923, was as adviser to C.Cowles Voysey and Morgan on the design of the White Rocks Pavilion, Hastings. He advised on most of the major concert hall, theatre, and civic hall projects of the inter-war era and post-war reconstruction. His overseas commissions included involvement in the New Delhi legislative chamber and in specifying the Sydney Opera House and New York Lincoln Center competition briefs.
His first book, Clifford Manor, and a technical paper, ‘Robert Stevenson: a great architect engineer’, were published in 1914. As his work in acoustics developed, so did Bagenal's writing and teaching about architecture. He toured widely, drawing and photographing classical buildings and won a scholarship to study in Italy and Greece in 1925 and 1926. He collaborated with Robert Atkinson in writing the Theory and Elements of Architecture (1926), which became a standard work.
In 1940, Bagenal joined the Building Research Station as a temporary scientific officer; he remained there until the end of the war. In the post-war years Bagenal divided time between his consultancy work, lecturing and writing. Among his most important acoustics projects were the Royal Festival Hall (1948–51), the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, and Fairfield Hall, Croydon. Hugh Creighton, the son of his Uppingham housemaster, joined him in the practice in the early 1950s. As consultant to the Building Research Station during the 1960s, Bagenal investigated case studies of weathering of buildings in London.
In 1975 Bagenal was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Institute of Acoustics. He was married to Alison Mary Hogg (1892–1981). He died at Leaside in May 1979.
About the collection
The archive is composed of series of files relating to Bagenal’s work as an acoustician, including correspondence, working papers, plans, technical data. General files relating to acoustics, 1921-74; Ardington Wick Cottages, 1960; Leo L.Beranek, 1961-2; bandstands, c.1930-60; cathedrals, 1937-69; churches, 1932-72; church acoustics, c.1959-72; church bells, 1935-44; Presbyterian churches, 1947-9; church pulpits, c.1948-63; Roman Catholic churches, 1970, n.d.; Carmelite convent, 1935, 1963, 1972; Coventry, n.d. [1960s]; Germany, Berlin and Bonn, 1929-30, n.d; reverberation in halls and auditoriums, 1929-67; Institute of Acoustics, 1974-87; loudspeakers and sound absorbents, c.1943-67; noise, including for aircrafts and airports, 1930-69; Peter Parkin, 1950-6; Houses of Parliament, 1867-8, 1923, 1964, 1968; Royal Festival Hall, London, 1948-62,1969; Tehran House of Worship, 1973-4; theatres and opera houses, 1930-65.
Church plans, c.1929-70, including of All Hallows Church, London Wall; City Temple, London; John Keble Church, Mill Hill; St John the Evangelist Church, Smith Square, Westminster; St Mary’s Church, Islington; St Paul’s, Hamlet Road, Penge, London; St Teresa Dome; St William Church, Walderslade, Chatham, Kent; Thomaskirche, Leipzig.
Halls and auditoriums papers and plans, 1925-75, including relating to Aeolian Hall, London; Albert Hall, London; Assembly Hall, Worthing; Berlin Singakademie Great Hall; Birmingham Theatre; Bishopgate Institute Hall; Bonn Beethovenhallel; Berlin Beethoven Saal; Boston Symphony Music Hall; Bristol Colston Hall; Fairfield Halls, Croydon; Glasgow Exhibition Hall; Guildford Civic Hall; Harrogate Royal Hall; Huddersfield Town Hall; Kleinhans Hall, Buffalo, USA; Liverpool Philharmonic Hall; London Council Concert Hall; Malta Opera House; Madras University Hall; Manchester Free Trade Hall; Margate Pavilion; New Festspielhaus, Salzburg; New York Philharmonic Hall; Old Palace, Hatfield; Philadelphia Academy of Music; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; St. Georges Art Centre, Great Yarmouth, Salisbury Civic Auditorium, Rhodesia; Shell Cinema Theatre; South Bank Concert Hall; Sydney Opera House; Watford Assembly Hall; Wexford Festival Theatre; Whitehall Banqueting Hall; White Rock Pavilion, Hastings.
Correspondence of Bagenal, 1914-96, including with Sir Adrian Boult and Ralph Vaughan Williams, together with a copy of a letter from Bagenal to his father, 1917; copies and transcripts of Bagenal correspondence, 1903-73; copies of autobiographical writings, short stories, poetry and articles; resume of Bagenal and details of jobs undertaken by him, c.1930s-70s.
Notebooks and notes of Bagenal relating to acoustics and architecture; draft chapters of a history of the auditorium; papers relating to churches and halls and auditoriums, 1929-73; music, 1932-54; parliament, 1925-61; synagogues, 1966-7; theatre, c.1929-67.