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Evening Meeting With Amanda Mckean, Director Canterbury Festival

30th April 2024
Venue: Cricket Ground

Evening meeting with Amanda McKean, Director, Canterbury Festival.
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Lunchtime Meeting Agm & May Business Meeting

7th May 2024
Venue: Cricket Ground
Lunchtime meeting 12.30pm for 1pm meal Annual General Meeting to be followed by the May Business Meeting.
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Evening talk – Andrew Clague, architecture job talk.

Job talks at our Rotary club are always popular – and architect Andrew Clague faced a packed room for his presentation on Tuesday. During his talk Andrew took us on a journey through his career, demonstrating how he’s followed in his father’s footsteps

While Andrew is one of our “newest” members, he’s no stranger to Rotary. A returning member and a second-generation Canterbury Rotarian, Andrew proudly showed us his father’s Rotary badge at the start of his talk, emphasizing the familial ties that bind him to both his profession and the Rotary community.

Andrew’s educational path started when he was a boarder at St Edmund’s School; this was followed by five years at the Kent Institute for Art and Design and two years of practical training. His impressive qualifications include architectural qualifications and Architect Accredited in Building Conservation (AABC). His architectural journey started with a brief period at his first architecture job before he joined his father’s firm: John Clague. Over the forty-plus years since then he’s continued the family link and currently works for his son, James Clague.

Specializing in masterplanning, hotels, high-end residential projects, almshouses, churches, private schools, and listed buildings generally, Andrew shared insights into his day-to-day work. Describing his role as “translating clients’ briefs into remarkable designs while providing sensible financial solutions”, he humorously expressed his ultimate goal: “to bring about a happy ending … and hopefully make a bit of money along the way!”

Out of the 2000+ projects Andrew has worked on (with others) during his long career, he highlighted fifteen-or-so during his talk. These projects ranged from sympathetically converting a Grade 1 mansion into a luxury hotel, to masterplanning for the Old Tannery development in Canterbury.

Andrew started his talk by stating he “loves architecture”; he made the audience think similarly with stunning photos and interesting highlights of his work. He also shared some of his core beliefs, such as creating a “project of beauty”, always having “excellent” build quality, and even incorporating a bit of Feng Shui!

The Grade 1 project involved the development of a 400-room hotel with a golf course at Luton Hoo; a picture of a lavish and historical “Queen’s bedroom” was met with “ooohs” from the audience. Other notable past projects included the Horsebridge in Whitstable (one of his happiest jobs), high-end residential homes in Devon and at Western Esplanade in Herne Bay, the new Gads Hill School in Higham (in the Grade 1 context of Dickens’ former home) and new accommodation at the Sir Roger Manwood Almshouse Charity.

Restorations have included St Andrew’s Church in Wickhambreaux, and a new lighting scheme and extension at St Mary’s Church in Patrixbourne. Canterbury projects included working on the restoration of the Old Weavers (in the heart of the city, by the river) and of Mercery Court (where the old Boots was situated).

One of Andrew’s current projects is a new clubhouse for a cricket club – but of course the project that all our members have particular interest in is the development of The Point, a water bottle filling station and visitor attraction planned as a “green” gift from our club to the City of Canterbury to mark our Centenary in 2022.

Interestingly, in keeping with his immense experience and interests, Andrew sits on The National Almshouse Association committee that suggests new almshouse projects for consideration by King Charles for a Patron’s Award.

Closing his talk with a reflection on the rollercoaster nature of being an architect, Andrew shared the excitement of commissions but also acknowledged the challenges when things don’t go as planned.

The talk concluded with Andrew’s simple yet impactful message to clients: “new development should reflect its context … and be distinctive of its setting” – a reminder of his sympathetic but innovative approach to architecture that defines his successful career.

At the end of his talk the audience asked questions about working with both his father and son, learning from architectural giants like Lutyens, and his personal experiences from working on iconic projects.

The evening ended with Rtn Farrukh Hussain giving the vote of thanks during which he shared fond memories of Andrew’s father, John, and other generational Rotarians as he did so.

Picture: Andrew delivers to a packed room, with many members having to stand or sit perched on ledges! Visiting guests included Reverend Patric Irwin (who spoke to us some time ago about his experiences as a padre in Bosnia). Picture credit: Andrew Clague/The Rotary Club of Canterbury.

 

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The Rotary Club of Canterbury
St Lawrence Cricket Ground
Old Dover Road,
Canterbury, Kent,
CT1 3NZ,
United Kingdom

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