Letter: Farm buildings: Palladian pigsties, Baroque barns and metal prefabs

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Queen Mother was the first to focus attention on modern farm building design. This was in 1957, when she opened the National Farmers' Union headquarters in Knightsbridge. Consequently, the NFU funded a two-year fellowship to research the problem and which I was lucky to hold. At the 'Countryside in 1970' conference, the Duke of Edinburgh brought together all parties concerned by amenity and design within food production.

By 1970, the Design Council had a committee devoted to the problem of farm building design. This published several reports over several years in the 1970s. Perhaps the most important was that concerned with the use of colour cladding, with the assistance of Professor Alex Hardy of Newcastle University.

Following the Duke of Edinburgh's lead, all the main government agencies published design studies for farm buildings. However, the Country Landowners Association changed farming opinion through its annual competition for the appearance of farm buildings, which it introduced at this time. Many award- winners disprove Roger Hawkins's concern that nothing has been done in the past 50 years. Among so many examples, it is difficult to select one - but he should spend time on the Chatsworth Estates to see the care taken from the Fifties.

Yours faithfully,

JOHN WELLER

Bildeston, Suffolk

10 March

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