11: Telephone Exchange



Skipton has very few examples of  good mid 20th century architecture and with the 2015 demolition of  the WRCC (West Riding County Council) Clinic, 9 High Street, we have one example less. It appears to be a fact of life that good modern architecture is not appreciated by the general public, at least until it has been in existence for many decades. I  therefore bring to your attention the Telephone Exchange in the hope that some will begin to appreciate good recent architecture.

It is a very simple, well proportioned structure, beautifully detailed and constructed in sympathetic natural stone. The general form of the building is very reminiscent of Art Deco pre second world war structures, with a tower to the West linking the two storey main frontage with the set back second floor storey, all capped by flat roofs. The general walling is in coursed snecked sandstone masonry with ashlar between the ground floor windows and to either side of the main doorway. Note the beautifully detailed radiused jambs to each side of these openings. Further ashlar  can be seen to the plinth. The windows are metal framed, sub divided and proportioned much as an Art Deco building. To the North is a later extension, sympathetically detailed and graced with metal oriel windows.

Other good examples of this period, can be found in the first extensions to Aireville School and the original parts of Greatwood School, both designed by the WRCC Architects’ Department under the leadership of Hubert Bennet. He was later to move to the London County Council Architects’ Department and received a knighthood for his services.


Barry Rawson