CURRICULUM VITAE /
j o h n c u n n i n g t o n
RIBA/ARB/AABC/Dip (arch cons)/BAarch (hons)/BA (hons)
Position: Partner - Walker Cunnington Architects (Matlock)
Profession: Conservation Architect
- Architects Accredited in Building Conservation (AABC)
- Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
- Architects Registration Board (ARB)
- Diploma in Architectural Conservation (De Montfort University, Leicester) 1989
- BArch (Hons) (Newcastle University) 1984
- BA(Hons) in Architectural Studies (Newcastle University) 1981
- Derby Diocesan Advisory Committee from 1989-2004
- English Heritage
- The National Trust
- Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
- Ancient Monuments Society
- Centre for Accessible Environments
- Expert Advisor to the Heritage Lottery Fund carrying out casework in the Yorkshire and Humber Region
- Acted in an advisory capacity for the Council for the Care of Churches when considering major faculty applications
- Consultant conservation architect to the Churches Conservation Trust
- Lectured in Building Conservation at the University of Central England in Birmingham
- Speaker at various DAC, Diocesan and SPAB events on conservation, Conservation Management Plans, Funding Sources for historic buildings and the Disability Discrimination Act
- Articles on conservation for Church Building, the Building Conservation Directory, ASCHB Transactions and the Architects’ Journal
- Radio and television interviews relating to significant projects including my work at St Mary’s, Ingestre and Abbey House, Whitby.
Walker Cunnington Architects (2013+)
John Cunnington Architects has been rebranded as Walker Cunnington Architects with the partnership between John Cunnington and John-Paul Walker, bringing together over forty years experience and expertise in the field of architecture and conservation.
John Cunnington Architects, Matlock (1990-2013)
John was the founding Practice Principal and Senior Conservation Architect of John Cunnington Architects, a nationally respected conservation and regeneration practice . In the first few years of developing the practice John began building up a portfolio of church projects which included a major redevelopment project at St Matthew’s, Nechells in Birmingham. This project quickly established John's reputation for the sensitive re-use of historic buildings which maintained and enhanced the existing character and spaces of this underused, grade II listed Victorian building, in a sustainable way, introducing commercial uses on new floors and enhancing existing community use.
John was appointed as inspecting architect to St Mary’s, Ingestre in Staffordshire which is reputed to be by Sir Christopher Wren and his only church outside London. In this capacity he undertook a number of schemes of repair, renewal and upgrading to this grade I listed building over a period of nineteen years including a new ramped access through the churchyard and major structural repairs to the original roof timbers (winning a Georgian Group Award in 2005).
At the same time, John began developing a long-term relationship with English Heritage initially working on their properties at Gainsborough Old Hall, Sutton Scarsdale Hall and Hardwick Old Hall. This work has involved a wide range of projects on significant listed buildings and ancient monuments across the country all of which are open and accessible to the public and include cafes, shops, visitor centres, education rooms and interpretative displays in a museum environment. 1996 saw a significant development of the practice, firstly with the project to rebuild the grade I listed church of All Saints’, Cotgrave following a disastrous fire and subsequently with my appointment by the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers as Project Manager for “Ringing in the Millennium”. This involved John in the administration of a grant of £3m from the Millennium Lottery Fund to a total of 150 projects on church bells throughout the UK. John was responsible for setting up the scheme, assessing (including visiting) all applications, presenting monthly recommendations to a Committee, liaising with each project and the trade during the works and processing the grant claims.
The “Bells” project, as it became known in the office, continued until the end of 2000 during which time the practice also undertook a significant project for Mansfield District Council at White Lion Yard to convert existing redundant historic buildings and caves to a visitor centre, restaurant and offices as well as our work on a £3.6m project at Bolsover Castle for English Heritage. Early in 2000 the practice secured a contract for Birmingham City Council at Handsworth Park, a framework agreement to act as conservation architects for English Heritage in the Yorkshire & Humber Region and the London Region, and John was appointed as inspecting architect to the Minster Church of All Saints’, Rotherham.
The framework agreement involved the practice in projects at Winchester Palace, Lincoln Medieval Bishops’ Palace, Scarborough Castle, Kenwood House, Chiwsick House, Marble Hill, Rangers House, Eltham Palace, The Jewel Tower, Down House, Abbey Lodge Whitby, Rievaulx Abbey and Clifford’s Tower York.
In 2002 the practice began working with the Youth Hostels Association with a £2.8m project to convert the redundant grade I listed Abbey House, Whitby to a 100-bed youth hostel including public consultation and engagement, restoration and the provision of museum standard interpretative material, displays, presentations, guide books and an audio tour. Other projects for the YHA have included Carter Lane, London (the former St Paul’s Choir School), Barrow House Derwentwater, Castleton Hall, Carlisle Castle, Dover Castle, Boggle Hole and Saffron Walden.
This work helped to develop John's particular skills in writing and researching Conservation Management Plans many of which involved securing external funding from a variety of sources including the Heritage Lottery Fund.
John’s particular experience of condition surveys has developed from quinquennial inspection surveys and reports of a large number of churches as well as a variety of monuments and historic buildings for English Heritage. Condition surveys were an integral part of the practice's work in developing Conservation Management Plans, described above, but also including a complex of listed buildings and an ancient monument at Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes for the City Discovery Centre. Subsequently, John completed two condition surveys of major building complexes for local authorities at Buxton Pavilion Gardens for High Peak Borough Council and Kelham Hall for Newark & Sherwood District Council.
Throughout this time John continued his ecclesiastical work, although on fewer but larger projects, and with John-Paul Walker, he completed a major scheme of reordering and internal alterations at St John’s, Carrington, Nottingham and is are currently completing a project to insert new floors and community facilities into the grade II* listed church of St Giles’, Pontefract. Both of these projects involved John in the procurement of a wide variety of external funding and local fundraising initiatives. The project at St Giles’, has had a particularly high profile in the town with widespread support and recognition.
Derek Latham & Company, Derby (1986-1990)
A multi-disciplinary practice of architects, landscape architects, historic buildings advisors, town planners and interior designers. John became an Associate with the practice in July 1988 with responsibilities for running the Historic Buildings Team of five people as well as office maintenance (the office was in a converted Victorian church).
In this role John was able to develop my particular skills in the direction of architectural conservation with particular emphasis on the innovative re-use of existing buildings and the public presentation and interpretation of monuments.
John was responsible for a wide range of projects at all stages from inception to completion including job costing and programming. These included work at Tickhill, Tutbury and Pontefract Castles for the Duchy of Lancaster; condition surveys, reports and alteration works at the Bishops’ Houses in Lincoln, Southwell and Derby for the Church Commissioners. I also carried out a condition survey and report of Harewood Castle for English Heritage.
John represented the practice at seminars on Conserving the Contents of an Historic House and Access to Churches.
The experience and skills John developed at Derek Latham’s provided him with the opportunity to set up his own practice to pursue his particular interests in architectural conservation in 1990.