Reprinted from Newsletter 114, dated 2005 February

Doctoral dissertation on Bligh Bond

Susan Rands

A talk by Tim Hopkinson-Ball

A black and white photograph of a middle-aged white man. His hair is quite short and slightly receded, and is combed to the side. He sits facing just the the side of the camera, and rests his face lightly on a loosely closed hand, with his index finger extended and touching near his ear. He has a slight smile. He wears a three-piece suit in a dark colour. A handkerchief is visible in his breast pocket. His tie has horizontal stripes.

Frederick Bligh Bond, photographed in 1921. According to Wikipedia, he was generally known by his second given name, Bligh.

An excellent talk on the eccentric architect Frederick Bligh Bond (1864–1945) awaited members of the Conservation Society who attended the Antiquarian Society’s annual general meeting on November 12 in the library.

Dr Tim Hopkinson-Ball, whose doctoral thesis (University of Kent, 2003) is on Bligh Bond, concentrated not on Bond’s interest in the paranormal and mysticism, for which he is probably best known, but on his substantial achievements as a talented architect. He gave a full account of Bond’s family circumstances, professional life, successes and troubles.

A closeup portrait of a white man who looks to be in his thirties. He looks slightly downwards towards the camera. He has brown hair with a side parting, and is clean-shaven. He smiles slightly. He wears a brown jacket over a dark V-neck sweater, a hatched white shirt, and a patterned red tie. Behind him is an ornately carved stone archway.

Tim Hopkinson-Ball, who lives in Glastonbury, is now an Abbey trustee.

The slides were of particular interest, from Bond as a rather wistful young child, to Bond as an old man beside the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey; this was one of only two surviving stills from the film that was made of the Abbey restoration nearly a century ago.

Other slides were of Bond’s elaborate civic buildings, and a very rare early colour photograph taken by Bond himself of a handsome house he designed.

Bond’s interest were wide. He experimented with the scientific development of photography, was a keen mathematician and wrote copious curious poetry.

In Somerset he did much church restoration work, as at St John’s, specially on rood screens, inspired by a fragment excavated from the Abbey. In Glastonbury his best known work is the war memorial beside St John’s Church and the cover for the Chalice Well.

We look forward to Dr Hopkinson-Ball’s book on Bond with the greatest interest.