Gertrude Leverkus

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Gertrude Leverkus
Oldenburg, German Empire
Died1989 (aged 89–90)
NationalityGerman, British
Alma materUniversity College London

Gertrude Leverkus (1899–1989) was a German-British architect.

Early life and education[edit]

Gertrude Leverkus was born on 26 September 1898 in Oldenburg, Germany.<family history> Shortly after her birth, her family migrated to Manchester, England, and moved to Forest Hill, London, in 1910. She attended Sydenham High School and subsequently University College London (UCL).[1] She completed her Bachelor of Arts in architecture from 1916 to 1919 at UCL, and was the only woman among 500 men to take the final exams.[2] In 1922, she became an associate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), making her one of the first three women to do so. She completed a certificate in town planning at UCL in 1925.[3]


In 1923, Leverkus was hired by the Women's Pioneer Housing Limited to convert its properties into flats for women.[1] One of these projects was the conversion of 31 Gledhow Gardens, also known as the Gunter Estate, in Earls Court into flats to house women workers.

In 1930 she moved into a flat she converted from the former ballroom of one Women's Pioneer property, 65 Harrington Gardens in Earl's Court, and remained a tenant of the association until her retirement.

She designed an extension of the Annie McCall Maternity Hospital in Clapham in 1938 to create an outpatients department; the hospital is now a grade II listed building.[3]

During World War II, Leverkus left private practice to work as an inspector of stately homes to use for the war effort[2] and as an organiser of evacuees from London. From 1943 to 1948, she worked as a housing architect for the West Ham Town Planning Office. From 1948 until her retirement in 1960, she worked for Norman and Dawbarn Architects.[1] During this period, she designed a shopping parade and flats at Swiss Cottage tube station and worked on the new towns in both Crawley and Harlow.[2]

Leverkus was a member of numerous women's groups, and established the women's committee of the RIBA in 1932.[4] She served as the committee secretary in the late 1930s and was also involved in the Women's Provisional Club, the Women's Voluntary Service, and the International Federation of Business and Professional Women.[3]

Later life[edit]

After retiring from architectural practice in 1960, Leverkus served as governor of the Brixton School of Building.[1] She died in Brighton in 1989.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d "Papers of Gertrude Leverkus". The National Archives. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "Leverkus, Gertrude". Historic England. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Gertrude Leverkus". Women in Architecture. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Recognition at last" (PDF). Building Design. 20 July 1984. p. 2. Retrieved 15 October 2015.