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Bibliographies and resources for general readers, students and researchers



Selected online resources, Wells Coates and Embassy Court

Books about Wells Coates

Books and Exhibition Catalogues featuring Wells Coates

Other published materials featuring work by Wells Coates

Biographical Data

Wells Coates writing in the architectural press (1931-1957)

News reviews and articles on Wells Coates (1934-2008)

Articles on the restoration of his buildings (1975-2005)

Talking about Wells Coates, material in the sound archives 

Theses and dissertations on Wells Coates and Embassy Court (Unpublished)

Archival resources in the RIBA collection and elsewhere

Wells Coates’ correspondence files

Photographs and drawings in the RIBA collection 

Sources for further research


Appendix: Bluestorm and the Legal Battle

 * * * * * 


Wells Coates never trained as an architect, he produced comparatively few buildings and wrote little to rival the great architectural manifestos of his Modernist contemporaries. Yet he became a hugely influential figure in British architecture and design before the Second World War, and from the 1970s, when Modernism was most loathed as a public architecture, Coates’ reputation was reborn.  And that reputation has been soaring ever since. In buildings like Embassy Court, it is not hard to see why that that reputation is justified.  Its sleek lines and dramatic vistas are indeed achingly beautiful and in its incomparable location on the Brighton seafront, the newly restored Embassy Court is rendered magnificent.

But Coates’ vision was not just architectural, it extended into the experience of everyday life. In light, airy living spaces, he gave us radical new furniture, kitchen designs, right down, as it were, to the doorknobs and bath taps contemporary living. Modernism was not just a matter of different kinds of building, it offered the promise of a different kind of life.  And, while buildings like Embassy Court were undoubtedly built for the elite, their promise could be extended to everyone.

In Embassy Court we come into contact with something perhaps sadly missing from British cultural life today; a real sense of the future.  Coates’ future was deeply and in its widest sense progressive.  It was a future that could throw off the terrors and burdens of the Victorian and Edwardian past and today still gives us a vision of something wonderful; a world of light, space and fresh air, places in which to live and breathe, to think afresh and once more dream great dreams.

These resources and bibliographies are offered to anyone with an interest in Embassy Court, Wells Coates, his buildings and their restoration, and his range of design work for shop fronts, furniture, radios, sound studios and boats.  It is hoped that the general public, students and specialist researchers will find this document useful in expanding their knowledge and suggesting lines of enquiry that might not otherwise have been apparent.

Unfortunately, bibliographers have to face the facts of life, their works are almost always incomplete and out of date more or less as soon as you hit the “Save” key. These bibliographies are no exception. There are several areas missing, particularly any reference to Wells Coates’ work for the Air Ministry in the Second World War, work for which he was awarded an OBE and some of his work in Canada after the war. We have included a fraction of the copious legal documentation around the efforts to save Embassy Court from decay and demolition, culminating in a triumph of leaseholder action finally settled at the Court of Appeal in February 2004.

This extensive bibliography was compiled in 2008 and subsequently updated by the late Paul Roberts (former Board member of Bluestorm Ltd) and residents of Embassy Court.

Please submit contributions and report mistakes or broken links to

Selected On-Line Resources

Wells Coates Based on book by Coates Daughter Laura Cohn Wikipedia entry Coates’ biographical entry in Archinform useful well illustrated overview of Coates from the Design Museum

Embassy court – Before and After Embassy Court’s own Website Brochure 1936 Brighton Argus May 21st 2001 “Don’t Knock our Home, Residents defend seafront building branded an eyesore” Small site containing six sonnets by Ros Barber inspired by Embassy Court before restoration with photos and a local press article. “Conran‟s Ray of hope for Eyesore” Brighton Argus 2003 by Sarah Ciccone 2005 Article from Building Design by 20th Century Society director Catherine Croft. 20th Century Society Building of the month March 2005 “Restoration Triumph Sung from the Rooftop, Brighton Argus Observer 6th August 2006 “Giving Brighton back its Pomp” by John Robbins, Observer Cash P18

Books about Wells Coates

Wells Coates – A Monograph by Serban Cantacuzino, London, 1978. A short but superbly researched and compellingly written account of Coates’ work, well-illustrated, insightful and intelligently critical. Cantacuzino was recently credited with kick-starting the revival of interest in Wells Coates with this book.

The Door to a Secret Room, A Portrait of Wells Coates by Laura Cohn (Scolar Press, Aldershot, 1999) An intimate portrait of Coates by his daughter Laura, contains many insights into his life character and quite a lot of background to Isokon/Lawn Road Flats, unfortunately there is practically no mention of Embassy Court.

Wells Coates by Elizabeth Darling (2012).  Part of the Twentieth Century Architects series published jointly by RIBA Publishing, English Heritage and the Twentieth Century Society.  Embassy Court has a chapter under Marketing Modernism and in the Afterword.

Wells Coates Architect and Designer 1895-1958 by The Wells Coates Exhibition Committee, Laura Cohn (ed.) Oxford Polytechnic Press, 1979.  Exhibition Catalogue [Also in Architectural Design, 1979 n.10-11, pp282-3]

Books and Exhibition Catalogues featuring Wells Coates 1934 – 2024

Except where stated, catalogue numbers throughout this document refer to the British Architectural Library (BAL), part of the Royal Institute of British Architects at Portland Place and their drawings collection at Victoria and Albert Museum (see Places below). The RIBA libraries are now free and open to the general public. Their catalogue can be searched on line at: ogue.aspx click on “Search the online catalogue”

 Unit 1: the modern movement in English architecture, painting and sculpture / edited by Herbert Read London: Cassell, 1934. 7.036.6 // UNI Aligns Wells Coates with some of the big names in the pioneering days of British modern art. It Includes a statement by Coates on architectural criticism and the roles of architecture and architect. See end note on Unit 1

(See also “Unit One, A New Group of Artists”, in The Times, 12 June 1933, letter from Paul Nash indicating membership and goals of the group)

(See also Paul Nash in The Listener 5th July 1933 writing how Wells Coates “determined the character of Unit One”)

Ideal Home Exhibition. Olympia, 1934 featured Coates’ design for “Sunspan House” [Not in RIBA Collection] A bungalow of the “Sunspan” type was built in Welwyn, Herts see Architectural Review, Dec 1936 pp 282-3

The modern home: its decoration, furnishing and equipment / by Roger Smithells and S. John Woods Benfleet: Lewis, 1936. 729.098 // SMI 

Flats, Design and Equipment by H Ingham Ashworth, with a foreword by the Rt Hon. Arthur Greenwood, London, Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons Ltd, 1936. A series of essays on the modern flat aimed at architects, builders and developers. Features Wells Coates’ Lawn Road and Embassy Court flats as exemplars of how to do it.

Modern architecture in England / [with essays by Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Catherine K. Bauer] New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1937.72.036.6(42)(064) // MOD Exhibition Catalogue includes three works by Coates, including Embassy Court and Lawn Road. Text is very well informed.

Interior decorating by Duncan Miller, London: Studio Publications, 1937 (1944 print). 729.098 // MIL

 The modern flat / F.R.S. Yorke, Frederick Gibberd London: Architectural Press, 1937. [Includes Embassy Court] 728.2 // YOR 

The modern house in England by F R S Yorke, London: Architectural Press, 1937. 728.036.6(42) // YOR The copy in the BAL seems to have been misplaced, however, The Modern English House, with introduction by F R S Yorke is available as a supplement to The Architectural Review, 1936 and forms a separately bound addition to Vol. 80 on open shelves. See News, Reviews, etc below]

The Politics of Architecture – a history of modern architecture in Britain by Anthony Jackson, Architectural Press, 1970. 72.036.6(41/42) // JAC. Interesting commentary on the aesthetic battles of the 30s, useful on Coates but no Embassy Court.

PEL and tubular steel furniture of the thirties / Dennis Sharp, Tim Benton, and Barbie Campbell Cole London: Architectural Association, 1977. 749:691.714-462 // SHA Catalogue of an Exhibition of the pre-war designs of PEL (Practical Equipment Ltd) of the same year. A fascinating exhibition catalogue with some informed and useful text. Not a great deal on Wells Coates but acknowledges PEL’s designs for Coates at Embassy Court, (p24), and illustrates a Coates table (p.46) and a tubular steel desk design (p47) the latter possibly based on an earlier design by Oliver Bernard.

 Thirties: British Art and Design Before the War: An exhibition organised by the Arts Council of Great Britain with the Victoria and Albert Museum, held at the Hayward Gallery, 25 October 1979 – 13th January 1980. (London, The Arts Council, 1979) 7.036.6(41/42) “193” (064)//ART  Recommended reading: contains a large number of entries on Coates including insights into his collaborations with artists and designers of the period. Many photos of his very varied design work. References his work for the Design in Industries Association, He was made “Royal Designer in Industry 1944. P 146 shows an original rug made for Embassy Court.

Wells Coates, Architect and Designer 1895-1958.  Oxford Polytechnic Press 1979.  Book to accompany exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford 1979 with twenty one panels featuring Wells Coates’ work.  Contributions from Sherban Cantacuzino, Laura Cohn and Randall Bell.

Unit One – Spirit of the 30s, May-June 1984, an exhibition to celebrate the half century of the first Unit One exhibition, held at the Mayor Gallery in Cork Street April 1934, London, Mayor Gallery in association with Mark Glazebrook (1984) 7.036.6(42)(064)//UNI A revival of the original show, see above

View From a Long Chair, by Jack Pritchard, Routledge 1984 72.036.6(42):92P// PRI (in RIBA SR collection) Pritchard was Coates’ client for lawn road and co- founder with Coates of ISOKON Very useful on Coates, Lawn Road and Isokon furniture, and on Coates’ many close associates in the 30s.

The New Spirit: Modern Architecture in Vancouver, 1938-1963 by Rhodri Windsor Liscombe, Montreal: Canadian Centre for Architecture, 1997. 72.036.6(71V)//LIS

Modern: the Modern Movement in Britain by Alan Powers; photography by Morley von Sternberg London : Merrell, 2005. 72.036.6(41/42) // POW

 Modernism: Designing a new world 1914-1939 By Christopher Wilk.(ed.) London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2006. Good overview of Modernism but probably too ambitious and wide-ranging an exhibition to satisfy anyone with specific interests.

Re-Forming Britain, narratives of Modernity before reconstruction, by Elizabeth Darling, (Routledge, 2007), Darling focuses on the formation of British Modernism as an ideology, a process in which Wells Coates plays an important part in the 1930s. Contains a fascinating account of the bohemian milieu of the 20s and 30s in which the seminal ideas of Modernism first flourished in the UK.

through a bauhaus lens: edith tudor-hart and Isokon by Leyla Daybelge and Stefanie Pirker published by Isokon Gallery Trust 2024.  Story of Edith Tudor-Hart, photographer, communist and former resident of the Isokon, with many hitherto unpublished photographs of the construction of the Isokon and Wells Coates from the Fotohof archiv in Salzburg.

Other Published Materials featuring Wells Coates

A technical description of Broadcasting House London: BBC, 1932. 727.94(42.1) // BRI

Is modern architecture on the right track? London: B.B.C., 1933. [Debate includes Charles Holden and Wells Coates] 72.036.6 // IS

Design in Modern Life, BBC 1933, contains an outline of a radio discussion including “Dwellings” with Wells Coates. Not available in the RIBA collection, two versions are marked as “missing” in the British Library catalogue, another possibility is Design in Modern Life, based on a series of Broadcast Discussions by Various Authors, Edited by John Gloag, (London 1934), looks more promising

Flats: municipal and private enterprise London: Ascot Gas Water Heaters, 1938. 728.2 // FLA

Hampstead in the Thirties: a committed decade, Michael Collins (ed.) Cat. of Exhibition at Camden Arts Centre 29 Nov 1975. Hampstead Artists Council and Arkwright Arts Trust 1974 Features Isokon

The Wireless Show! Carol Hogben (ed.) Catalogue of exhibition held at the Victoria and Albert Museum Oct-Dec 1977, HMSO 1977

Designing Modern Britain, Design Museum Exhibition, 2006 The printed catalogue is illusive but Wells Coates biog. with illustrations can be found at

MARS Group exhibitions [Wells Coates was Chairman of the MARS Group (Modern Architecture Research) from its inception in the 1933 and a key member until it ceased activity in 1957] See RIBA archives: Ove Arup papers and the Godfrey Samuel papers for UK archive materials on MARS.

MARS contributed to the New Homes for Old Housing Exhibition at Olympia 1934, for a detailed and sympathetic review see The Architects’ Journal Sept 20th 1934 pp 425-428 includes illustrations.

“First Exhibition of Modern Architecture” London 1937

“New Architecture, An Exhibition of the Elements of Modern Architecture” London 1938

New architecture: an exhibition of the elements of modern architecture / organized by the mars (Modern Architectural Research) group, held at the New Burlington Galleries, January 11-29, 1938 [London]: mars group, 1938 72.036.6(064) // MAR

Report no 2: “Observations on the County of London Plan” London 1944

Report no 3: “What is Modern Architecture?” Report of a public discussion meeting at RIBA 3 Dec 1944, Erno Goldfinger (Hon. Ed.) London 1945

Catalogue of exhibition: “Turn Again. An Exhibition of Protest against the lowered architectural standards in the County of London and offering some hopeful possibilities for the future” London 1955

See also:

Pevsner and Nairn’s Buildings of England (Sussex) contains an entry for Embassy Court. [ref]

Biographical Data

Biographical File: Coates, Wells Wintemute available on request at the Enquiry Desk of the RIBA Library, Portland Place, contains press cuttings including obituaries and photographs. Also contains a detailed description of the Wells Coates Papers marked “Sold to the CCA by Mrs Cohn”. This possibly forms the bulk of the CCA [Canadian Centre for Architecture] material on Wells Coates, see Sources for Further Research below.

Wells Coates writing in the architectural press (19311957)

 Architects’ Journal “Criticks: a Reader‟s way to Reconcile their Unfriendlinesses” Letter from Wells Coates, 11 Feb 1931

Architects’ Journal Special issue. The new materials [Includes article by Wells Coates] vol. 74, 1931 Nov. 4, p. 586-618.

Architects’ Journal “Inspiration from Japan” and “Material for Architecture” by Wells Coates 4 November 1931 p586 and 588-9

Architectural Review July 1932 pp29-34 “Furniture Today – Furniture Tomorrow” [Article by Wells Coates]

Architectural Review Nov 1932 pp165-8 “Response to Tradition” (Article by Wells Coates), According to Laura Cohn, Coates felt that this was the closest he got to a definitive statement of his design and architectural values.

Building Dec 1932 Modern Shops and Modern Materials” (Article by Wells Coates)

‘The English Living Room Today’ Design for Today, May 1933 (Article by Wells Coates)

The Listener 24th May 1933 pp819-21 “Design in Modern Life – VI Modern Dwellings for Modern Needs” Geoffrey Boumphrey interviewing Wells Coates

The Advertiser’s Weekly March 1933, Wells Coates Interviewed by J. Craven Pritchard

The Architectural Review August 1937 pp 51-8 “Planning in Section” by Wells Coates

Architectural Association Journal The conditions for an architecture for to-day 1938 Apr., p. 447. (Article by Wells Coates)

British Kinematography Vol 18 No 4 pp 108-19 [no date] “Planning the Festival of Britain Telekinema” by Wells Coates

Question, Journal of the Present Question Conference, 1952, contains article “Freedom and responsibility of the Architect” by Wells Coates (Not in RIBA collection)

Atti e Rassegna Tecnica della Societa degli Ingegneri e degli Architetti in Torino, Noevo Serie Anno 6 N. 12 Dicembre 1952 “The Cine-Theatre Today and Tomorrow” by Wells Coates

Ideal Kinema 26 May 1952 “The Film Theatre of the Future” By Wells Coates

RAIC Journal [Royal Architectural Institute of Canada] June 1959 pp205 – 11, “Address by Wells Coates to the 1957 Graduation Banquet, School of Architecture, University of British Columbia”

Talking about Wells Coates, material in the Sound Archives

(British Library references)

The British Library sound archive can be searched at:

Sir Denys Lasdun and Patrick Gwynne interviewed about Wells Coates by Alan Powers (No date probably around 2001) (F6778) Lasdun Side A, Gwynne side B (Alan Powers is Professor of Architectural and Social History at the University of Greenwich and Chairman of the 20th Century Society)

Terence Conran interviewed by Linda Sandino 2004-5 Tape 5 (F15068) Side B includes Conran’s support for the renovation of Embassy Court. Mentions meeting Coates through Hans and Elspeth Juda, Jack Pritchard and Isokon furniture; Conran remembers Coates showing him his Lancia car (c late 1950s)

Patrick Gwynne interviewed by Neil Bingham 1997 Tape 2 (F6942) Side B: contains a description of Coates’ office

Denys Lasdun interviewed by Jill Lever 1996 Tape 1 (F5346) Side B: includes many references to Coates and other key architects of the thirties

Decades: Art and Design of the 1930’s, panel discussion hosted by Alan Powers, 21 May 2005

Tate Archive Audiovisual collection TAV 2936A, item id: 246136-2001 (Subjects include Wells Coates, Ben Nicholson and Paul Nash)

Brighton and Hove Museums: The Royal Pavilion Libraries and Museums Collection, Brighton, Sound Recording Interview with Thelma Wirthmiller Recorded by Kate Richardson 16 January 2001 Oral History: OH000108, description of moving into and living in Embassy Court in the 1960s.  

News reviews and articles about Wells Coates

Architectural Review Feb 1931 pp43-46 [Cresta Shops] 10 Photos and drawings with commentary of Coates’ Cresta interiors, with fixtures and fittings also designed by Coates.

Architectural Review, May 1931 p175 Photo of Plywood exhibition stand for the British Empire Trade Exhibition at Buenos Aires (Very architectural, if Coates had designed sky-scrapers they would probably have looked like this).

Architectural Review, June 1931, p 224, [Venesta] Stand for Venesta Plywood at The Manchester Building Exhibition. [Bibliographer’s note: Venesta – who also employed Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer as designers – was the London sister company of Estonian furniture manufacturers Luterma, whose designers included Alvar Aalto]

Architectural Review Jan 1932, pp76-78 [Cresta Shops, Brighton and Bromley] 3 photos of interiors with Coates’ use of wood, plywood and veneers, with his characteristic door handles. P 78 is Coates’ own office with Venesta doors as work-tops, tubular steel supports and fabrics camouflaging the “unbearable” wall mouldings.

Architectural Review Supplement April 1932 p163 [Cresta Shops] One photo of Cresta Silks factory showroom Architects Journal Sep 1932 “The Effects Studios of the BBC” designer Wells Coates.

Architectural Review, Nov 1932, v.72 (whole issue) “Steel and Concrete Construction”, includes Williams, Lutyens, Landseer, Coates, Shand, Goodesmith, Yorke.

The Architects’ Journal 1st March 1934, pp318-9 [Working Men’s Club] The Second Feathers, Shepherd‟s Bush. Collaboration with Pleydell-Bouverie, part of an initiative by the Prince of Wales, the interior was completed by unemployed members of the club. I drawing, one exterior photo, two interior photos and two plans.

The Builder July 20th 1934 pp106-107, [[Isokon] plans and short article on Lawn Road flats. 

The Building Times, Aug 1934, pp16-18, [isokon] Article on lawn Road Flats, with one exterior and one interior photo with commentary on furniture and design values.

Architects’ Journal, Aug 23rd 1934 pp 260-264 [Embassy Court] 13 illustrations including plans and sketches of Embassy Court with commentaries; pp 271-2 Illustrations and technical drawings of Coates‟ sun room windows for Embassy Court.

Architects’ Journal Aug 30th 1934, p303. [Embassy Court] Sketch of Embassy Court main entrance with figures, including uniformed footman saluting occupant of Rolls Royce, whilst elegant lady waits with maid below cantilevered canopy. Passers-by saunter with the fashionable diffidence of the leisured classes.

Building Special issue. Flats 1934 Aug., pp. 292-297. [Embassy Court], includes superb pen and wash drawing of the building from SE by Norman Howard, a different take on the same saluting footman and similar fashionable couples in AJ Aug 30th 1934 above, also reproduced here. Also pen and ink drawings of the roof terraces and car park and garages with some ostentatiously swanky automobiles. Also contains drawings of reception rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens, plus plans, sections and construction diagrams.

Architectural Review Sep 1934 pp 77-82 [Isokon] Lawn Road Flats, very impressive photography of exteriors by day and night, includes 4 interior photos and some plans and sections.

 Architects’ Journal Sep 20th 1934 pp409-412 [Isokon] Lawn Road Flats, photographs, plans, exterior and interior views including kitchen.

 The Architect and Building News, August 10th 1934, pp154-158 [isokon] and Special Supplement on Lawn Road Flats.

The Architects’ Journal 10 January 1935, “The Years‟ Work at Home” [Isokon] by Prof. C H Reilly pp 69-76 includes illustration of Lawn Road bedroom p73

The Architects’ Journal 7th March 1935 [BBC Studios] pp 329-331 p 373. 6 stylish and dramatic photos of Coates’ Newcastle studios interiors for the BBC with commentary and one plan, plus another studio interior photo on p 337 includes one of his electric fireplaces with diagrammatic on p 338.

The Architects’ Journal 2nd May 1935 Bed-sitting room interior by Coates. [“The Minimum Flat” is the general idea, it here approaches its essence.]

Architectural Design and Construction, July 1935 pp314-315, [Embassy Court], short article with pen and wash drawing.

The Architectural Review, Vol. 78, July-December 1935 (Nov.), pp167-173 [Embassy Court] Superbly illustrated article with 17 photos and drawings, of Embassy Court with 8 interior views including an example of sun-lounger doors, McKnight Kauffer mural, living rooms and bedrooms, with original tubular steel furniture.

Architecture Illustrated Nov. 1935 pp 143-148 [Embassy Court] 7 Photos of Embassy Court, including McKnight Kauffer’s mural and the same shot of the foyer as appears in The Architect and Building News below. – Not particularly visually inspiring given the name of the journal. Very little text.

The Architect and Building News, 8 November 1935, pp 165-170 [Embassy Court] Very favourable review of Embassy Court with 8 photographs including one dramatic picture of the roof terrace, also washing facilities in one of the bedrooms, some plans, and remarkable photo of the foyer showing original interior doors, layout of original front desk, sofa and mural.

The Architects’ Journal November 14th 1935 pp741-746 [Embassy Court], with 12 illustrations of plans exteriors and interiors including living room and kitchen.

The Architect and Building News, Nov 15th 1935, [Embassy Court] Special supplement, with technical drawings of windows and doors, with one exterior photo and the same foyer photo as in the previous week’s issue above.

The Architect and Building News, 22 Nov 1935, [Embassy Court] Special Supplement

Architectural Review Dec 1935, Plate 5 [Cresta Shops] [See end of volume 70] Photomontage of Coates’ Cresta shopfronts.

The Architectural Review Jan 1936 pp45-6 “The Designers 6 – Wells Coates”, by Geoffrey Boumfrey, 8 illustrations of Wells Coates‟ interior designs discussed by Boumphrey, includes one of a BBC Broadcasting House studio.

Architectural Record, Oct 1936, v80, pp 297-301 Embassy Court Apartments Brighton England

The Brighton Gazette 8 Aug 1936 [Embassy Court] picture of the ground floor restaurant and short article. [Brighton Museum, Brighton History Centre]

The Architectural Review December 1936 Special Issue “The Modern English House” [Sunspan House] p282-283 contains 2 Photos of Sunspan House with plans and technical illustrations of Sunspan House. P317 contains an illustration of an interior by Coates.  

 Architectural Review Jul 1936 p 20 [Embassy Court] small view of Embassy Court from sea front, but, perhaps more interestingly, large photo opp p 18 is a view of the 1936 sea front from one of the upper floors of Embassy Court, possibly the roof terrace.

Architectural Forum, May 1937, v66, pp425-427 Embassy Court Apartments, Brighton England

The Architectural Review Aug. 1937, pp75-76 [Shops] review supplement 26, Hairdressing shop Canterbury, Wells Coates and Edric Neel, Shop front, interior and exterior photos.

FOCUS no. 2 1938, [Palace Gate] Flats at Palace Gate, London, One photo (exterior) with many plans and sections with discussion on constructional techniques.

Architectural Design and Construction, Educational Buildings reference section, Jan 1938, p38, [Hampden School] 4 interior photos of Hempden School, Holland Park, with drawings of plan and section with brief commentary.

Architectural Review Apr 1939 pp173-184 [Palace Gate] Superb photography of Coates’ Palace Gates flats with interior and exterior views, plans, sketches with lengthy and detailed commentaries.

Building July 1939 pp280-287 [Palace Gate] Well illustrated with some superb photography, detailed commentary on construction and layout. [This and the above constitute two of the better articles on this ground-breaking and too frequently ignored building.]

Architectural Record Nov. 1939, p. 28-39 [Palace Gate p34-39]. Compares Coates’ Palace Gate with Tullgren and Quinn’s use of a similar system in Milwaukee. Attributes the idea of 3 floor apartments to Coates.

Architects’ Journal [Hadleigh] Reinforced concrete house at Hadleigh, Essex; Architect: Wells Coates 1939, June 29, p. 1119-1123 photos and plans including detail of roof terrace shelter, exterior and interior views, includes an essay by Coates on the properties of “Concrete in sulphate-bearing clays and ground waters”. ***

Architectural Review, Sep 1939 V.86, pp 103-116, House at Esher, Surrey, Patrick Gwynne and Wells Coates Architects

Architects’ Journal “The Years’ work” 18 Jan 1940 [another] article by Prof. C H Reilly

Architectural Review May 1940 “Broadcasting Comes of Age: The Radio Cabinet” by Nikolaus Pevsner

Architects’ Journal 24th May 1952 p677 [Telekinema] One photo 6 drawings plans and sections.

Building, June 1951 p 243 [Telekinema] one photo and 5 plans and sections of the Telekinema.

Architectural Design July 1951 p210, [Telekinema] One photo.

Architectural Review Aug 1951, [Telekinema] One photo of Coates, p140, One photo of Telekinema p95.

Engineering Gazette and House Journal of Marryats 15 Apr 1955 P617 in Brighton Museum, Brighton History Centre, Sussex Pamphlets, vol 72

Architectural Review July 1955 p54 “Isokon Flats” by Reyner Banham

Canadian Architect, Aug 1957 pp 32-37 [Vancouver] A new plan for Vancouver – Wells Coates’ last great project before his death in 1958.

The Architect’s Year Book no 8 1957 “English Architecture from the ‘Thirties‟ by E Maxwell Fry

The Architects’ Journal Sep 1957, v 126, pp. 495-498 “House in Boyle Farm Road”, Thames Ditton Surrey, by Wells Coates and Lyell.

The Architectural Review December 1958 pp357-60 “Wells Coates 1893-1958” [Obituary] by J M Richards

Architects Journal “Wells Coates” by Brian Hanson 26th March 1975 pp652-3

 Architects Journal “Working with Coates” by Professor D J Hinton, Aston University, 16th April 1975

RIBA Journal Frontiersman of the Heroic Age [Wells Coates] vol. 86, no. 9, 1979 Sep, p. 409-410.

Architectural Design Wells Coates, Architect and designer, 1895-1958 By Ian Latham, 10-11/1979

Building Design The complete Coates: exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford no. 454, 1979 Jul 13, p. 18-19. [See Exhibition Cat above]

House and Garden The double tragedy of architect Wells Coates vol. 35, no. 7 (352), 1980 Sep, p. 38.

The Magazine of the 20th Century Society Spring 2008, “Wells Coates: His Life and Legacy”, by Elizabeth Darling  

Articles on the restoration of his buildings

 Building Design Embassy Court revisited: a look at the weathering problems of 1930’s detailing; Architect: Wells Coates no. 241, 1975 Mar. 14, p. 12.

Architects Journal Camden locks money into Isokon refurbishment; Architect (1933): Wells Wintemute Coates vol. 202, no. 3, 1995 July 20, p. 7.

Camden History Review ‘A tinge of pink’: the Isokon Flats in Lawn Road, Hampstead, no. 20, 1996, p. 2-4.

Interiors for Architects and Designers Hampstead’s halfway housing; Architect (1933): Wells Coates, architects for restoration: John McAslan & Partners (formerly Troughton McAslan) 1997 Winter, p. 16-19.

Building Design Refurbishment plan for 1930s landmark; Original architects: Wells Coates, architects for restoration: Alan Phillips and Matthew Lloyd Architects no. 1350, 1998 May 8, p. 5. [Embassy Court]

Architects Journal Brighton Modernist icon to be refurbished to its former glory; Original architect (1936): Wells Coates, architects for refurbishment: Alan Phillips with Matthew Lloyd Architects vol. 207, no. 18, 1998 May 7, p. 18.

Architects Journal Isokon flats set to be sold off to private developers vol. 208, no. 13, 1998 Oct. 8, p. 9.

Architects’ Journal Rescue proposal for Isokon as listing is upgraded vol. 209, no. 4, 1999 Jan. 28, p. 15.

Building Design Wells Coates’ Isokon flats up for sale no. 1380, 1999 Jan. 29, p. 1.

Building Design Isokon flats are subsiding; Architects: Wells Coates no. 1431, 2000 Mar. 10, p. 6.

Building Design Iso tonic; Original architect: Wells Coates no. 1442, 2000 May 26, p. 1.

Architects’Journal Isokon flats up for sale; Original architect (1934): Wells Coates vol. 212, no. 14, 2000 Oct. 19, p. 9.

Building Design Housing association backs Isokon rescue no. 1463, 2000 Nov. 3, p. 2.

Building Design Camden forum backs Isokon bid no. 1462, 2000 Oct. 27, p. 7.

Building Design Avanti joins bid to save Isokon no. 1465, 2000 Nov. 17, p. 2.

Architects Journal AA and Groucho fight for the right to restore Isokon flats vol. 213, no. 2, 2001 Jan. 18, p. 8.

Architects’ Journal Landmark Isokon flats to be restored to Modernist glory vol. 213, no. 15, 2001 Apr. 19, p. 12.

Building Design Isokon flats fall into safe hands; Original architects: Wells Coates no. 1483, 2001 Apr. 20, p. 5.

World Architecture 30s living makes a comeback, no. 97, 2001 June, p. 26. [Isokon]

Building Design Legal wrangle saps cash from Isokon show. no. 1524, 2002 Mar. 15, p. 2.

INTRA Modernist survivor; Architects (1934): Wells Coates. no. 01, 2002 Feb., p. 50-51. [Isokon renovation]

Architects’ Journal Conran to rescue Brighton’s landmark Embassy Court building vol. 218, no. 6, 2003 Aug. 14, p. 5.

Building Homage to Isokonia vol. 269, no. 8316 (3), 2004 Jan. 23, p. 54-56.

Architects’ Journal Isokon returns to former glory; Original architect: Wells Coates, architects for renovation: Avanti Architects vol. 219, no. 7, 2004 Feb. 19, p. 11.

RIBA Journal Flavour of the month; Original architect: Wells Coates, architects for renovation: Conran & Partners vol. 111, no. 6, 2004 June, p. 9. [renovation of Embassy Court]

Building Design Coates the Comeback Kid by Catherine Croft January 21, 2005 

RIBA Journal History lessons vol. 112, no. 10, 2005 Oct., p. 79-82. [The problems of renovation – highlights Embassy Court, De La Warr pav. and Lawn Road/Isokon]

Architectural Review, ‘Wells Coates, Maker of a Modern British Architecture”, September 2008, 82-87 by Elizabeth Darling and Laura Cohn  

Theses and dissertations on Wells Coates and Embassy Court (unpublished)

Wells Coates and his Position in the Beginning of the Modern Movement in England, 1965, unpublished doctorate thesis submitted for PhD in Architecture, University of London, by Farouk Hafiz Elgohary. Now available on-line at

Embassy Court Brighton, by Margaret Lanning, Open University A305 Project, 1975. [Bibliographical note: might be a problem with this one, it should be in the reference section of the Brighton History Centre but was either missing or misfiled. Their catalogue gives the following references: ISBN: BX00023713, Dewey Class: 728.31, [But it does not seem to have been published] Local Class: SUS, BRN: 609324, Location: Brighton History Centre, Ref 728.31 SUS.

From Victorian to Modernist: The changing perceptions of Japanese architecture encapsulated in Wells Coates’ Japonisme dovetailing East and West by Anna Elizabeth Basham, London, University of the Arts 2007 (PhD Thesis) Part of her research can seen in Research@Chelsea Issue 5  02>03 “The Denial of Influence, Japan and Modernism in British Design 1919-1939” pp 13-15

Wells Coates, Theory and Practice a dissertation for Diploma in Architecture by Jonathan Garner, 1991 [Brighton]

Testing Utopia, Experts assumptions versus inhabitants’ realities in the luxury modern flat, BA dissertation in Interior Architecture by James Caldicott

Brighton, 2007 [Focuses on Embassy Court]

Archival Resources in the RIBA collection and elsewhere

Exhibitions Committee, 1934-1936 1 folder Ove Arup and Wells Coates ARO/2/6/1-11

General file, 1936-1956 [Ove Arup] 2 items Includes report by Coates to Mars Group ARO/1/1/29-30

Obituary of Wells Coates written by Raymond McGrath in Dublin, June 1958

3 pages, holograph, signed MCR/1/2

Lectures by Sherban Cantacuzino read at the RIBA, 1975-1976 2 items (46p.), typescript & manuscript SPR/15 & 17

File on MARS Group committee meetings, 1934-1939 2 folders, typescripts, mainly duplicate SAG\90\3, SAG\91\1 (Godfrey Samuel Papers)

File on MARS Group exhibitions, 1935-1938 6 folders SAG\91\2-4, SAG\92\1-3

File on meetings of CIAM and CIRPAC, 1933-1939 4 folders SAG\93\3, SAG\94\1-3

Photographs and Drawings in The RIBA Collection

(Catalogue references for RIBA Library)

 WWC1-WWC14 Works by Wells Coates / [photographed by] Luis Renau and others. – 14 phototransparencies: col; 35 mm. [Embassy Ct and Lawn Road 1930s?]

30698-30708/1 Images collected by Jaqueline Tyrwhitt as part of her projects or writings: planning and construction for the Festival of Britain, 1951. – 54 photoprints: b&w; size varies. [Contains one drawing and two photos of Coates Telekinema]

CWN 50W/1308-CWN 50W/2206 Views of British architecture / [photographed by] Colin Westwood. -268 photonegatives: b&w; 5 x 4 ins or smaller. [One Photo of Isokon]

CWN 51W/2682-CWN 51W/2703 Photographs of buildings and exhibits for the Festival of Britain, London, 1951 / [photographed by] Colin Westwood. – 25 photoprints: b&w; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. [One Photo entrance to Telekinema]

MAL15587-MAL UN-NUMBERED Photographs of buildings and exhibits for the Festival of Britain, London, 1951 / [photographed by] John Maltby. – 26 photoprints: b&w; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. [Two views of Telekinema with pavement café]

40731-40739 Images of the work of Erno Goldfinger or prints collected by him as part of his projects or writings. – 22 photoprints: b&w; size varies. [Contains photo of Wells Coates with Corbusier, Goldfinger et al]

AC14 N1170 [Shop for Cresta Silks, Brompton Road, London, designed (1929) by Wells Coates: exterior view by night showing illuminated window display and use of bold lettering]. – 1 photoprint: b&w; 51 x 41 cm.

72.036.6(064) // MAR New architecture: an exhibition of the elements of modern architecture / organized by the MARS group (Modern Architectural Research), held at the New Burlington Galleries, January 11-29, 1938 [London]: Mars group, 1938. [illustrated]

729.098 // CAR Design and decoration in the home London: Country Life, 1938. [Interiors including Coates and Chermayeff]

ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW Co-operative Association’s showrooms, Bread Street, Edinburgh; Architects: T. P. Marwick & Son 1937 Aug., p. 65, 75.[Architects include Wells Coates]

ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW Hairdressing shop at Canterbury; Architects: Wells Coates & Edric Neel 1937 Aug., p. 65, 75.

RE2 [BBC studios, Newcastle, designed (1935) by Wells Coates: interior view] / [photographed by] Dell and Wainwright. – 1 photoprint: b&w; 35 x 59 cm.

728.036.6 // MAC Twentieth-century houses / by Raymond McGrath London: Faber, 1934. 124 illustrations including Sunspan House [by Coates]

729.098 // DES Design in the home / edited by Noel Carrington London: Country Life, 1933. [interiors]

725.21 // EDW The architecture of shops London: Chapman & Hall, 1933. [Some illustration(s) of Coates’ shops]

727.94(42.1) // BRI Broadcasting House London: BBC, 1932. [196 pages of illustrations, including Coates’ studios]

727.94(42.1) // BRI A technical description of Broadcasting House London: BBC, 1932. [Illustrated]

AC14 N1170 Shop for Cresta Silks, Brompton Road, London, designed (1929) by Wells Coates: exterior view by night showing illuminated window display and use of bold lettering]. – 1 photoprint: b&w; 51 x 41 cm.

AC Images of international architecture from the Inter-War Collection: shops. – 28 photoprints: b&w; 24 x 18 in. or smaller. [Includes Cresta Shop]

BA Images of international architecture from the Inter-War Collection: large and small houses. – 18 photoprints: b&w; 24 x 18 in. or smaller. [Two photos of Sunspan House]

BB Images of international architecture from the Inter-War Collection: middle class and luxury flats. – 26 photoprints: b&w; 24 x 18 in. or smaller. [Includes one of Embassy Court]

KA Images of international architecture from the Inter-War Collection: interiors. – 29 photoprints: b&w; 24 x 18 in. or smaller. [Includes Embassy Court original kitchen]

NB Images of international architecture from the Inter-War Collection: pleasure – theatres and concert halls. – 25 photoprints: b&w; 24 x 18 in. or smaller. [Includes one of BBC Sound effects studios]

OA Images of international architecture from the Inter-War Collection: pleasure – exhibition buildings. – 31 photoprints: b&w; 24 x 18 in. or smaller. [Includes Coates’ exhib stand for Venesta Plywood]

RE Images of international architecture from the Inter-War Collection: public service buildings – radio stations. – 10 photoprints: b&w; 24 x 18 in. or smaller [includes interior of Coates’ Newcastle Studios]

PB885/3(2-9), DR42/1(10-12) Design for 32 Newton Road, Paddington, London, by Denys Lasdun ca. 1937 – 1939 [Collaboration of Coates and Denys Lasdun] [Quite a lot on this building]

PB885/3(1) Design for a block of flats at 10 Palace Gate, Kensington and Chelsea, London, by Wells Coates 12 March 1937, revised 15 March 1937

RIBA16638-RIBA16640, RIBA16651-RIBA16652 Embassy Court, Brighton, designed (1935) by Wells Coates / [photographed by] Dell & Wainwright. – 3 digital images: b&w.

BWN A17/1-BWN A17/90 Views from Britain / [photographed by] Bryan Westwood. – 72 photonegatives: film, b&w; 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 in. or smaller. [probably 1930s includes Embassy Court]

46408-46410 Images collected for the exhibition ‘Pavilions near and far: the architecture of international exhibitions 1929-1992’, held at the Building Centre, London, 23 April – 15 May 1992. – 31 photoprints: b&w; sizes vary. [Photo of Coates’ Telekinema]

RIBA JOURNAL From the RIBA Photographs Collection. The birth of the studios, vol. 109, no. 8, 2002 Aug., p. 110. Article with one illustration of Newcastle studios]

COATES W [Collection of drawings by W. W. Coates (1895-1958)] [Contains 14 original drawings by Wells Coates]

COW/1/19 List of drawing equipment entitled ‘Toronto list’, no date [ca. 1954] 1 folder

COW/1/18/1-3 Ball-pen sketches of method of multi-storey unit construction, no date 3 pages

COW/1/17/1-2 Two photographic prints of plans and sections showing the relation of a cinema to its site, no date 1 folder

 COW/1/16 Ink sketch, no date 1 folder [Includes “sea-side blocks of flats”]

COW/1/15 Design entitled ‘Electric fire in ballroom’ (pencil on tracing paper), no date1 folder

COW/1/14/1-9 Rough sketch designs for a house, placed in a folder with the name ‘Mr Maltby. Temple Bar 7166’ pencilled on the front, no date 1 folder

COW/1/13/1-4 Pencil designs for a study (including furniture and fittings) at 73 Portland Place, London W1 for Dr Pryne Hopkins, no date 1 folder

COW/1/12/1 Duplicated memorandum, with plans and perspective view, of proposed block of flats at The Drive, Hove, East Sussex [no date, 1955] 1 folder

COW/1/11/1-6 Six photographic prints of plans, section and elevation of South Bank Telekinema for 1951 Festival of Britain [no date] 1 folder

COW/1/8/1-26 Folder of correspondence between Wells Coates and Commander Christopher Powell R.N (client) concerning proposed alterations and additions to Share Farm, Horsmonden, Kent, August 1944-January 1945

COW/1/6/1 Three sketch designs by Wells Coates for Ekco’s intended new models of wireless receivers, plus office memo form, 22 October 1935 1 folder

COW/1/5/1 Sketch design for an exhibition pavilion, titled ‘Sketch design for estate office pavilion. E.F.F.’, plus office memo form, 24 August 1935 1 folder

COW/1/18/1-3 Ball-pen sketches of method of multi-storey unit construction, no date 3 pages

COW/1/9/1 Pencil sketch plans and notes (2 pages) by Wells Coates of Sunspan House D 27.B4 [no date, 1934-1935] 1 folder

COW/1/6/1 Three sketch designs by Wells Coates for Ekco’s intended new models of wireless receivers, plus office memo form, 22 October 1935 1 folder

COW/1/13/1-4 Pencil designs for a study (including furniture and fittings) at 73 Portland Place, London W1, for Dr Pryne Hopkins, by Wells Coates, no date 1 folder

LS3319 [Isokon flats, Lawn Road, Hampstead, London, designed (1933) by Wells Wintemute Coates] / [photographed by] Dell & Wainwright. – 1 photoprint: b&w; 400 x 550 mm. One photo of Lawn Road

PA236/1 Survey drawing of service quarters, Lawn Road Flats, Lawn Road, Camden, London, by Louis Osman c1935

PA236/1 Survey drawing of service quarters, Lawn Road Flats, Lawn Road, Camden, London, by Louis Osman c1935

DESIGN (LONDON) Isokon furniture no. 518, 1992 Feb., p. 76. Illustrations of Coates’ furniture

PA207/6(1-6) Design for Delta, East Strand, West Wittering, West Sussex, by intemute Wells Coates & Michael Lyell 1955-56 Plans Elevations and details

PB628/1(1-7), PB603/3(1-3) Record drawings, done for publication, of Homewood, Esher, Surrey, for Commander A L Gwynne, by Patrick Gwynne & Wells Coates 1937-38 [plans and details]

AP115/86-AP115/116 Photographs collected for use in Misha Black (editor), Exhibition Design 31 photoprints: b&w; sizes vary [includes “Television Pavilion” designed by Wells Coates.

Photographs and Drawings in other collections

The National Archives (Kew) lists 218 items, mainly drawings and sketches, relating to Coates’ designs for the Festival of Britain formerly held by the Department of Works Ref: WORK 25/ 39,103, 104, 105, 106, 163, 254, 255, (sub-series SB15 – SB16)

Cumbria Record Office, Kendal: Archive of Thomas H Mawson & Son, Landscape Architects, Lancaster – Design for a modern hotel building by Wells Coates, Undatedref. WDB 86/A 73

Wells Coates’ Correspondence files

NEA/1 Four letters by Wells Coates to Alfred Neumann, Dec 1952-Apr 1953 4 items, typescripts, signed

 ROFAM/2/1 Copy of a letter by Wells Coates to Mark Hartland Thomas, 25 Feb 1947 2p., typescript

ROFAM/2/1 Copy of a letter by Wells Coates to Mark Hartland Thomas, 25 Feb 1947 2p., typescript

LUB\13\4\1-36 Letters concerning articles by and on Lubetkin; tss. 1933-1966 38 pages on 38 leaves [Contains a letter from Lubetkin to Coates on theory and practice in preparation for an article]

LUB\11\2\1-37 Correspondence concerning Lubetkin’s applications for wartime service; mss. & tss. 1941-1943 64 pages on 49 leaves [In return for the above Coates tried to get Lubetkin a job in the RAF.]

 HIO/30/1-3 Dorland Hall, Lower Regent Street, London W1: Contemporary Industrial Design in the Home Exhibition, 1934, 1933-1936 5 folders

HIO/37/1 14 Grosvenor Street, London W1: Correspondence concerning project to set up Rondo, a private decorating company, 1930 1 file

HIO/28/2-4, HIO/29/1-3 Dorland Hall, Lower Regent Street, London W1: British Industrial Art in relation to the home exhibition, 1932-1933 11 folders

SAG/90-95 Godfrey Samuel’s papers as a member of the MARS Group and as a delegate to the CIAM and the CIRPAC (Comite International pour la Realisation des Problemes Architecturaux Contemporains), 1933-1946 – includes work by George Bernard Shaw

LAD/238/1-6, LAD/239/1 Biographical material on Denys Lasdun, 1935-2000 7 files [Includes correspondence with Wells Coates]

LAD/245/2 Correspondence between Denys Lasdun and Wells Coates, 19361995 1 file

Tate Gallery Archive 

TGA 9120 File of correspondence and other papers relating to Unit One, kept by Wells Coates 1933-1935 Tate Gallery Archive ref TGA 9120 (NRA ref: NRA 38813)

TGA 8313/1/2/48 Letter from Wells Coates to Paul Nash 17 Nov 1931

TGA 8717/1/2/718 Christmas card from Wells Coates, architect, to Ben Nicholson, regarding swapping work Dec 1948

TGA 9120/1-147Letters to Wells Coates from members of Unit One (Paul Nash, Edward Wadsworth, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson) and others closely associated with the group (Douglas Cooper, Herbert Read) 1933-1935,

TGA 200410/1/1/822 Two letters from Wells Coates and one letter from C Vizard, secretary to Wells Coates to John Piper1-19 Oct 1948

TGA 200410/1/1/828 Letter from Laura Cohn to John Piper 15 Jun 1979

Sources for further research

 The University of East Anglia holds an extensive collection of primary source material including correspondence relating to Wells Coates, in its collection of The Pritchard Papers, a bequest by Jack Pritchard (Client for Lawn Road / Isokon). The index can be found at: The main page of the Pritchard collection:

Brighton Museum  A complete Wells Coates designed kitchen from a flat in Embassy Court is on loan to Embassy Court and installed in the rooftop archive area. The Museum also holds a small collection of original brochures and other materials related to Embassy Court. Worth visiting their Brighton History Centre to see what they have.

The Getty Research Institute Holds some resources on Wells Coates related to the CIAM period. Coates attended and contributed to CIAM conferences (Congrès internationaux d’architecture moderne). The collection contains correspondence between Coates and Paul Fitschy, secretary of the Belgian section of CIAM and a report to L’Equerre (CIAM’s Belgian affiliate) entitled “Architecture and town planning in England” dated 1934. Location:

idx?c=utf8a&cc=utf8a&type=boolean&rgn=Entire+Finding+Aid&q1=CIAM+Belgia n

[Coates’ report might be in Ove Arup or Godfrey Samuel papers at BAL above]

 Canadian Centre for Architecture – Montreal CCA reference AR1989:0011 A very significant collection of Wells Coates materials containing 530 drawings and prints, 1,937 photographs and, well… a lot of documents, including Coates’ diaries, all of which seems to be collected under this single reference.  It’s not even very clear how much they’ve got – the “object” reference says “three linear centimetres” of textual documents while the notes say there’s three linear meters of them. Much of this may have originated with the sale of Laura Cohn’s collection of Wells Coates materials to the CCA. If this is the case then (remarkably) Embassy Court’s own archive contains a photocopy of a document itemising the collection.


British Architectural Library British Architectural Library
Drawings and Archives Collections [At RIBA]
Victoria and Albert Museum 66, Portland Place
Cromwell Road London
London W1B 4AD
SW7 2RL Tel: +44 207 580 5533.
England Fax: +44 207 251 1541.

Tel: 020 7307 3708

Fax: 020 7589 3175




The Brighton Museum          University of East Anglia
Brighton History Centre (For the Pritchard Papers:)
Brighton Museum & Art Gallery     Archives Department
Pavilion Gardens                     The Library
Brighton University of East Anglia
Enquiries: 01273 296972       NR4 7TJ
Machine bookings: 01273 296971    Telephone:  +44 (0)1603 593491 


  Fax: +44 (0)1603 591010 Email:
The British Library,Sound Archive   Tate Gallery Audiovisual Archives
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Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7676 London SW1P 4RG
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7441 020 7887 8838

CCA                                           The Getty Research Institute,  
The Reference Assistant Research Library,
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Montréal, Québec, H3H 2S6 Los Angeles, CA 90040-1688, USA
Email: Phone: (310) 440-7390 Fax: (310) 440-7780


Getty Institute email request form can be found at

The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU.

[follow the links for “Where to find us” and “ordering documents in advance”]


Appendix: Bluestorm and the Legal battle:

Bluestorm Ltd v Portvale Holdings Ltd [2004] H.L.R. 49-service charges-disrepair-set-off in HOUSING LAW REPORTS 2004, NOV/DEC, pages 939-955 Full appeal court ruling in favour of Bluestorm.

Case law reviewed by Nicholas Dowding QC in CASE LAW KALEIDOSCOPE – A REVIEW OF THE YEAR’S SIGNIFICANT CASES by Nicholas Dowding QC, 2004 available at: A discussion of the implications of the Bluestorm Ltd vs Portvale Holdings Ltd case in 2004.

http://www.parliament.thestationery  Embassy Court featured in a parliamentary debate 2003

References to Wells Coates in other works

Elsa Lanchester, Charles Laughton and I (Faber&Faber, 1938) contains a description of Laughton’s flat in the Isokon Building.

Wells Coates’ Ecko Radio model AD65 featured in BBC Radio 4’s History of the World in 100 objects 2010.

Look out for articles by maverick modernist designer, poet and educator Norman Arthur Potter, try his collected writings Models and Constructs Potter with Robin Kinross 1990 and his What is a Designer, 1969.

Moholy Nagy and Walter Gropius lived at Lawn Road between 1935 and 37

Try Andrew Weaving and Lisa Freedman Living Modern: Bringing Modernism Home (Chronicle Books, 2002) [contains an article on Coates, some very good illustrations]

Little is written on Wells Coates’ war work for the Air Ministry but there may be something in the following:

Watkins, David. de Havilland Vampire: The Complete History. Thrupp, Stroud, Great Britain: Budding Books, 1996. ISBN 1840150238.

The national archives contain many references to this aircraft – which featured moulded plywood in its body and wing design, hence the involvement of Coates presumably. Catalogue search the National Archives for “Vampire” and follow the links under Ministry of Aviation, Air Ministry, and others.


Note on Unit 1: Unit One was founded in 1933, and was nearly named the ‘English Contemporary Group’. Its purpose, as defined by Paul Nash, was to unite the three visual arts of painting, sculpture and architecture. The unit stood for “an expression of a truly contemporary spirit, for that thing which is recognised as peculiarly of today in painting, sculpture and architecture” (See: Tate gallery Archive TGA 9120/23). Works by the group were on show in the

Mayor Gallery from June 1933 and articles about Unit One were published in ‘The Observer,’ ‘The Listener’ and ‘The Architectural Review ‘during the summer and autumn of 1933.  ‘Unit One, the Modern Movement in English Architecture, Painting and Sculpture’, was published with Herbert Read as editor, in 1934 by Cassell and Co., to coincide with the group’s first exhibition which opened on 10 April 1934 at the Mayor Gallery. [Notes from the Tate Gallery Archive]

Elsa Lanchester, Charles Laughton & I, (Faber & Faber, London, 1938) contains a memoir of life in a Victorian flat remodelled by their friend Wells Coates in 1935; pp 190 – 192 including sliding doors decorated by painter John Armstrong.

From Avery index to architectural periodicals

Elizabeth Darling and Laura Cohn, Wells Coates: maker of a modern British Architecture, in Architectural Review Sep 2008

No author, Apartment House in London, Detail (English ed.), jan-Feb 2007 [renovation of Lawn Road, by Avanti Architects]

Robert Elwall “The bar councel” in World of Interiors, Nove 2005 [Lawn Road]

Jan Carlos Kucharek “History Lessons: Modernism restored” in RIBA Journal Oct 2005 [Comparison of restorations at Embassy Court, De La Warr Pav and Isokon]

The Times 12/05/1992, Obituary of Jack Pritchard.