Banbury architect wins special commission

Peter Preston's gates are unveiled at a special ceremony NNL-180423-152003001
Peter Preston's gates are unveiled at a special ceremony NNL-180423-152003001

An architect from Banbury has beaten stiff competition to design commemorative gates for a historic military church.

Peter Preston, who lives in the Easington area of Banbury, attended a service at St George’s Garrison Church, Woolwich on April 11 to see HRH The Duke of Gloucester officially unveil his winning design .

Banbury architect Peter Preston's new gates at Woolwich Garrison Church NNL-180423-152222001

Banbury architect Peter Preston's new gates at Woolwich Garrison Church NNL-180423-152222001

The Garrison Church of St George was built between 1862 and 1863 for the Royal Artillery and has been a focal point for Woolwich ever since.

Mr Preston’s gates incorporate design features that commemorate the long history of the Royal Artillery in Woolwich and replace temporary solid wooden gates at the west end of the church.

His design beat six others in a rigorous selection process.

He said: “We were awarded the contract at the beginning of May 2017, based on the outline design we submitted for the competition.

Peter Preston (left) and William Normandale talking to HRH the Duke of Gloucester (near) NNL-180423-152536001

Peter Preston (left) and William Normandale talking to HRH the Duke of Gloucester (near) NNL-180423-152536001

“This was then put out to consultation with the Royal Regiment of Artillery and public consultation.

“We then produced our final design incorporating the feedback we received and submitted it to the local authority for planning and listed building consent in early August 2017, so in total about three months to complete.”

He added: “A shortlist of four were chosen for interview by a ‘working party’ consisting of a representatives from each of the following: The Heritage of London Trust Operations (freehold owners of the site), The Woolwich Garrison Church Trust (leaseholders and operators of the site) and The Royal Borough Of Greenwich.”

Mr Preston, who has a practice in Eynsham, specialises in historic building conservation and has been an architect for eight years .

He added: “It has been an honour and a privilege to be involved with this project, and to produce a memorial to our brave servicemen and women.

“Great design is only ever achieved with the help of great clients and great craftsmanship, so I would like to thank my clients for their vision and the artist blacksmith William Normandale, who made the gates, for his outstanding craftsmanship.”