An Architect’s Sketchbook

Mr D.M.Jones, MA ARIBA AA Diploma

When Mr D.M. Jones was a student his tutor advised him always to carry a sketchbook. He has done so all his life and now has over a hundred sketch-books. Over the years he has exhibited them at RIBA and many in other galleries to great interest. He says:-

“I always carry an A5 size sketchbook in a poacher’s pocket and that is an essential part - always to have a sketchbook to hand. It is no good saying that you will come back tomorrow – you won’t.”

Here is are a few of his sketches of Hampstead, London, which he drew as a student, soon after the Second World War One can sense his enjoyment at recording the environment, or an event. Look at the spontaneity and at the speed of some of the lines. The hundred sketchbooks are a different form of biography and some of the sketches record buildings long gone.

Jack Straw’s Castle is one example. Today it has been completely altered, enlarged and looks like a ticky-tacky set for a sit com. Nobody can go back now and see the view which Mr Jones drew in 1948.

Jack Straw’s Castle, Hampstead, in 1948 before it was rebuilt

High Street, Hampstead,
on the way to the Heath

The Spaniards, near Ken Wood

The small house on the left opposite the inn, used to be a toll house when this was a turnpike Road. It still slows the traffic both ways every day of the year.

St Mary’s Church Hampstead, 1982


The Constable Memorial in Hampstead


The old wooden house on the right contrasts with the brick front of all the other houses in the Row. Go into the churchyard behind and you will see that they are all wooden houses. Over the years the other houses have been re-fronted in brick. The bricks are in different colours: the door-cases differ, yet the styles match each other to form a harmonious whole. Go inside, and they are still wooden houses, carefully cared for and original. For years the wooden house belonged to the local builder, so, just as the cobbler’s children were always the worst shod, his house was never re-fronted. Today it is listed and nobody would be allowed to alter it.


Sledging on Hampstead Heath, 1.2.1947

This was the year of the Great Freeze, soon after the war, when the canals froze solid and power stations ran out of coal.

The Du Maurier Blue Plaque on the house in Hampstead
where the actor lived for years
and a study of a tree on the Heath.

These are a few sketches of Hampstead made soon after the Second World War. Since then Mr Jones has made sketches all over the country and over a long period of time, but that is another story. This is just one example of the many other drawings he has made made in the ever ready sketch books.

Appletreewick, Yorkshire, 1946

Here is a fine stone house with an outside staircase, worn hollow by constant treading. The drip beads over the door and windows are to throw off the rain and let it fall from the ornamental bosses at the bottom, instead of soaking into the wall. Notice the huge stone lintel over the side door, hewn in one block from some quarry or outcrop, and the split stone roof tiles. All is heavy, strong and made to endure hard weather.


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Revised: February 14, 2012 2:46 PM