Liverpool: University Press, 2020
ISBN 978 1789628142, p/b, 174pp, [pounds sterling]30
Francis Xavier Velarde was born in Liverpool in 1897. Dubbed the 'mutt' of the family for his dyslexia, his proficiency in drawing led him to Art School after late teenage years spent with the Merchant Navy and then service in the Great War. The city's shipping industry featured large in his world and a discernible flavour of Art Deco naval design would become a feature of his architectural output. His talent as a draughtsman was spotted by the Head of the School of Architecture at Liverpool University, Charles Reilly, a commanding personality who diverted Velarde's degree studies to architecture and continued as a lifelong mentor and friend.
This recent monograph, published by Liverpool University Press on behalf of Historic England and the Twentieth Century Society, gives a much-warranted spotlight on an unsung hero of modern church architecture. Although celebrated in his lifetime--particularly as a protegee of Reilly, who considered Velarde in the same company as 'Caichemaille-Day, Chermayeff, Armstrong and Maxwell Fry'--his name and reputation are now not well known and some of his churches are at...