(Sir) Hubert Bennett

Place of Birth
Swinton Manchester

  • Born                      4 September 1909
  • Died                       13 December 2000
  • Married                30 December 1938 at St Mark’s Church Worsley
  • Knighthood        1970

The youngest son of Arthur Bennet and Eleanor Peel, Hubert Bennett was born at Dales Brow Swinton on 4 September 1909. His father was employed as surveyor to the Duke of Bridgewater's Worsley estates near Manchester. He received his education at Eccles Grammar School, before training at the School of Architecture, Victoria University, Manchester. His qualities as a designer were recognised by various awards (among them the RIBA's Silver Medal and the Sir John Soane Award), and at the age of 24 he was appointed assistant lecturer at Leeds School of Architecture. From there, in 1935, he joined the staff at the Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster). In the early 1930s he spent some time in American offices, much admired for their efficiency.In 1943 he become Southampton's first chief architect. After two years there, designing layouts for estates of wartime bungalows, he transferred to the post of architect to the West Riding county council. Based on his American experiences, he set up a new headquarters at Wakefield known as "Bennett's Plan Factory, where the talented few sat up on an open balcony doing the designing, and the masses down below sorted out the banalities.” This organisational arrangement was also adopted by Skidmore Owings and Merrill, their Chicago office nicknamed “The Factory”


In 1956 he was appointed head of the London County Council's architect's department in succession to Sir Leslie Martin. It was then at the height of its prestige, with a staff of over 3,000 and a boundless prospect for rebuilding the capital. By the time he left in 1970, the optimism had faded. The LCC had given way to the Greater London council, a change which deprived Bennett of his planning powers. Many of his best architects had been tempted away to private firms and Thamesmead, the flagship project of the Bennett years, was mired in Erith marshes. Bennett has been described as a vigorous and debonair figurehead, and many of the LCC's best projects were completed under his leadership. However, “It was Hubert Bennett's misfortune to be architect to the Greater London Council between 1956 and 1971 - the most disastrous period of architecture in British history. His predecessor, Sir Leslie Martin, is remembered chiefly for the Royal Festival Hall, but Bennett, who was a gifted, extremely knowledgeable and conscientious architect, is identified instead with mass housing projects, tower blocks, system building, concrete and asphalt - what in London came to be known as GLC style. Yet it was a grave injustice to architects in the public sector to blame them, together with local authorities, for what went wrong. The truth was far more complex. When Bennett took over at County Hall, 90 per cent of houses in the East End had been damaged by air raids, and policies were already in place which were to determine the direction of design across the country. [Times Friday 15 December 15 2000].

Hubert Bennett married the freelance textile designer (Florence) Louise Aldred on 30 December 1938 at St Mark’s Church, Worsley. She was born in Winton, Eccles, in 1910 and at the time of her marriage was living at 15 Houghton Lane Swinton. She died in 1996.

Sir Hubert Bennett died on 13 December 2000 at Mount Alvernia, Guildford, Surrey, and was survived by his three daughters.


1936: Hubert Bennett ARIBA Dales Brow Worsley Road Swinton

1936: Hubert Bennett ARIBA 1 Chester-terrace, Regents Park, London NW1

No date: Broadfields, Liphook, Hampshire (Who was Who)

1968: Linton House, Snowdenham Links Road, Bramley, Guildford Surrey GU5 0BX

2000: Mount Alvernia, Guildford, Surrey,


Obituary: Andrew Saint Guardian Saturday December 23, 2000

Obituary: The Times Friday December 15 2000

Obituary: The Independent 25 January 2001

Obituary: Building Design 12 January 2001. Page 3

 Reference: Building Design, 31 16 October 1970,

Reference:  Who Was Who,

Reference: Elain Harwood, ‘Bennett, Sir Hubert’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,

Buildings and Designs

Building Name District Town/City County Country
Swinton and Pendlebury Open Air School Barton Road Swinton   Swinton  GMCA  England