Town and Townscape: The Work and Life of Thomas Sharp

Thomas Sharp (1901-1978) was a key figure in town planning in the mid-twentieth century. The concepts he developed in his writings and plans have been of enduring significance and influence on thinking about planning and design for both practitioners and academics in the UK and beyond. He was a key figure in defining thinking about the forms that town and countryside should take; in reconciling existing and valued character with modernity, and; in making these arguments accessible through a series of polemical books. The plans he produced in the 1940s, primarily for historic cities such as Oxford, Exeter and Durham, were also hugely influential and were a major contribution to the development of ideas of townscape.

This project makes a unique collection of the personal papers of Sharp accessible through archival cataloguing and conservation. The papers held at Newcastle consist of some 67 files including correspondence, reports, photographs and plans. The major part of the collection consists of papers collected from Sharp's Oxford house on his death by the now-retired Professor Brenikov of this University. The papers were subsequently put into storage. They were 'rediscovered' by John Pendlebury, their significance realised and deposited with the University Library Special Collections.

The development of this web-site will include the collection catalogue, a brief biography of Sharp, an annotated bibliography of Sharp’s published writings and plans and a finding aid for other publicly accessible Sharp material selected digitised items. The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Principal investigator
Mr John Pendlebury
Principal project staff
Mr J Pendlebury
Start date
Monday, May 1, 2006
Completion date
Friday, February 1, 2008
Source material
Thomas Sharp collection held at Newcastle University. The collection comprises extensive professional and personal correspondence, maps, pland, drawings, and related illustrated material, reports, papers, novels, poetry, photographs. It includes a two-volume unpublished autobiography, "Chronicles of Failure".