JOHN George Timothy West (1861 – 1931) was a true son of Abingdon. Born in the town in 1861, he was one of the first pupils to attend the Grammar School – now known as Abingdon School – soon after it relocated to the developing suburb of Albert Park. Timothy West, as he was generally known, was articled to Edwin Dolby, a well-regarded local architect who had been a candidate for the post of architect to the Oxford Diocese in 1881. Dolby, however, is better known locally for designing many of the houses in Park Crescent and the first building of the new Grammar School in Park Road. When West set up in business in The Square in the 1880s, architecture as a career was very much in its infancy and, as an advertisement from a Baylis’s Directory shows, he augmented his income initially by offering other services such as house agent, rent and debt collecting and surveying. Two years later Kelly’s Directory of 1887 has an entry which lists him as 'Architect, Surveyor, and Auctioneer' at The Knowl. West had a close association with the ancient charity known as Christ’s Hospital of Abingdon. He was commissioned to design the Free Library and Reading Room in the High Street, which opened in April 1896. It was an awkward site and the local press congratulated him on his design ‘which promised a structure with some pretensions to architectural beauty’. The Free Library served the town for 80 years closing its doors on Saturday, September 25, 1976 when the facilities were moved to the new building in The Charter. The charity had been aware for some time of the lack of housing for the town’s working classes. The original scheme envisaged by the charity was to build small blocks of houses on the south side of what is now Bostock Road. In the event West was asked instead to produce plans for a single block of 22 artisans’ dwellings. When first constructed, Tesdale Terrace as it became known, would have faced directly towards Albert Park. These attractive tile-hung red brick houses with terracotta finials and shared porches are in sharp contrast to the much plainer terrace on the north side of Exbourne Road that West also designed for Christ’s Hospital in the early 1900s at a time when the economy was not so buoyant. This latter design included an innovative feature: the plan incorporated a small corner shop which later housed the West End post office. One of its owners was known to many older readers as ‘Rasher’ Tombs. West also designed the Isolation Hospital in Marcham Road, known today as Abingdon Community Hospital, a building similar in style to the houses in Tesdale Terrace, in addition to houses for private clients. In the early years of the 20th century the West association with Abingdon School was inaugurated with the construction in 1902-3 of a further extension incorporating a new classroom wing, chapel and gymnasium. West’s original drawings, and his handwritten estimate to the school’s governors dated June 1901, have both survived. His sons Archibald Buller West and John Lacey West were educated at Abingdon School. A B West followed in his father’s footsteps as architect to the school and designed the school’s 1951 science block; Timothy’s grandson, Duncan West, provided the plans for the Grundy Library, opened in 1963 by HRH Princess Margaret. Today the practice is known as West Waddy ADP, a consultancy combining architects, town planners and experts in urban design. Timothy West lived most of his life at The Knowl in Stert Street, directly opposite the Beehive public house once kept by his grandfather William Honey, who had at one time combined his duties as mine host with those of beadle, town crier and inspector of weights and measures for the Corporation. West played a role in the civic and social life of the town, being involved in the organisation of both the Golden and Diamond Jubilees of Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne. In 1896, West was elected to the borough council and served as Mayor of Abingdon in 1903-4. He was a Justice of the Peace and churchwarden at St Nicolas’ Church for many years. Perhaps it was his role as Honorary Secretary of the Abingdon Horticultural Society and an interest in pollination which persuaded him, in his mayoral year, to clamber on to the roof of the old borough buildings to capture a swarm of bees settling there.