W.H.H.Van Sickle B.A.,M.Sc.(Pl.)

Topographical and Building History Research
(Last updated October,2013)

To download this CV and practice statement in pdf format, click here.


Born: Winnipeg, Canada, 15 July, 1952.
Nationality: dual British and Canadian Citizenship.

11 Hillary Road
Hampshire RG21 5TN

Telephone/Fax:  01256 211 858
Mobile:  07941 652 458
e-mail: office@whhvs.co.uk


Since 1985 Site and Building History Research.
Independent and retained consultant undertaking detailed archival research and providing assessment, advice, and support services relating to historic buildings and areas for public and private clients.

1983-1985 Doctoral Research (as noted below).

1982-1983 Lecturer, Dept of Town and Country Planning, University of Manchester.
Urban Design studio supervision and lectures on the application of urban design theory to professional practice.

1976-1982 Planning and Urban Design Consultant, Edmonton, Canada.
Preparation of strategic plans for public and private clients; historic preservation project and policy work; design and layout of estate developments; negotiations.

1975 Research Studentship, City of Ottawa Planning Department.
Preparation of an income projection sub-model for the City's computerised community planning system. The results were published as the Department's Research Bulletin No. 4.


B.A. (Hons. Geography), University of Ottawa, 1974.

M.Sc. (Urban & Regional Planning), University of Toronto, 1976.
Field of Study: Urban Design.
Thesis: Criteria for Designating Historic Buildings and Sites.

Doctoral Research, Art History, University of Essex, 1983-1985.
Research: British and North American linkages in the Arts and Crafts movement (not submitted).


Farrell, Sir Terry. Shaping London. 2009. Contributory material on historical aspects of London development.

Getting it Right: Conservation and Research in Practice. Seminar "break-out" session presented to Building Surveyors' Annual Briefing, Nottingham, 8 April, 2000.

Visit of H.M. The Queen to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, 29 July, 1999. Preparation of text and images for display on the history of the RICS headquarters building, and presentation of the history to Her Majesty.

Robinson, John Martin. The Regent's Park Terraces: 50 Years of Restoration. Supporting research for a short history to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Gorell Report. The Crown Estate, 1997.

Author, book review of How Buildings Learn, by Stewart Brand, in Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society, Vol. 40, 1996.

James Fisher, in The Times, 23 February, 1994. Article featuring my research work on historic buildings.

Terry Farrell: Urban Design, 1993. Sourcing and supply of archival images.

Author, "Visible Mending", in Building Design, 21 August, 1992. Practice profile of Purcell Miller Tritton & Partners.

Author, Parishes and Churches in Romney Marsh, Published by Ronald Spinney and the Romney Marsh Historic Churches Trust, 1991.

Binney, Marcus. Palace on the River, 1991. Co-ordination of text for images of Terry Farrell's "Embankment Place" building.

St John's Lodge and Hanover Lodge, Regent's Park. Architectural and biographical histories, used for marketing purposes. (Knight, Frank & Rutley and The Crown Estate.)

The Diorama, Regent's Park, and Ca'Dario, Venice. Architectural and social histories, used for marketing purposes.

Topographical and historical resources tend to be under-used by property developers, general architects, and even historic-buildings architects. One reason for this is that much historical work is focused upon themes rather than places, and material which might be of interest relates only marginally to specific buildings.

Nonetheless, a great deal of site-specific material exists in archives, and when placed in its historical context can be invaluable in documenting aspects of design and development. Such work is often done in a casual manner and/or is poorly related to building projects, but there is no obvious reason why archival and topographical research should be any less thorough and rigorous than other aspects which are routinely explored prior to restoration, design or development. Since 1985, I have combined an academic background in urban design and architectural history with professional experience as a consultant dealing with historic buildings legislation, procedures and projects, in order to locate, analyse and summarise archival material relating to buildings and sites.

The following consulting services are offered:


Public Agencies and Amenity Groups
Property Section, The Royal Household

  • A continuing arrangement was held for project-based archival research using the Property Section's archival plans relating to the Occupied Palaces.

  • In 2005 I began a programme of writing Conservation Management Plans for the Occupied Palaces, including plans for Buckingham and St James's Palaces.

    Crown Estate Commissioners

  • Site-specific research for Regent's Park, Kensington Palace Gardens and other estates, and general research on exterior Regency paint colours, the design of gas lamps and railings in Regent's Park, and administrative aspects of the Crown Estate and associated agencies. A retainer was held for six years for such research with the Crown Estate's consultants in Regent's Park.

    Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

  • In addition to research for the Institution, professional involvement has included acting as a judge in 2000 for the RICS Conservation Awards.

    National Monuments Record (English Heritage, formerly part of the R.C.H.M.E.)
    Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
    Fulham & Hammersmith Historic Buildings Group

Architectural Firms - Historic Buildings
Martin Ashley Architects

  • Archival research and documentation, synthesising information, and drafting of numerous Conservaton Plans (including Dorchester Abbey, thte Chapel and College of St George at Windsor Castle, and Farnham Castle).

    Giles Quarme and Associates

  • Primary projects with the firm involved drafting Conservation Management Plans, in particular for the former Royal Naval College at Greenwich.

    Purcell Miller Tritton & Partners, Norwich and London

  • Work has included drafting of Conservation Plans and the preparation of fully-researched dated plans for the Reform Club in Pall Mall.

    Caroe & Partners
    Erith & Terry Architects

Architectural and Design Firms - General
Terry Farrell & Partners

  • Since researching the history of Charing Cross in 1985, I have undertaken site history research for many of the firm's major competitions and projects, and have also contributed to a number of books by Terry Farrell.

Hawkins Brown Architects

  • I have undertaken a wide variety of site history commissions for the firm since it was founded in 1988.

Kelly Hoppen Interiors
Paul Brookes Architects
John McAslan and Partners
Indigo Planning Ltd
Simon Sturgis & Co., Architects
Zeidler Roberts Partnership

Estates, Surveyors and Development Firms
Howard de Walden Estates Limited
Commissions related to expert witness testimony on historical matters for hearings at the Leasehold Valuation and Lands Tribunals.
Knight Frank
In addition to site-specific research, included the preparation of a data base of the firm's property archival sales information since 1896.
Prudential Portfolio Managers Limited
Included appearing at the High Court in December, 1997 as an expert witness in PPML vs Waterloo Real Estate Inc.

Jones Lang LaSalle
City and Provincial Properties
Cory Environmental
Greycoat Group Plc.
MEPC Developments Ltd.

Private and Other Clients
Mr Guy Ritchie, Fitzroy Square, London
Messrs C. Hoare & Co., Bankers
Ms N. Jones, Daintry House, Petworth, Sussex
Lord Lloyd Webber, Sydmonton Court, Hampshire
Mr. Brian Stein, Ockwells Manor, Berkshire
Mrs. Anne Mead, Queen Hoo Hall, Hertfordshire
Mr. Geoffrey Wilson (Greycoat Plc)