Dr Julian Holder


Dr Julian Holder is Departmental Lecturer in Architectural History. Born in Gloucester he studied at Middlesex Polytechnic, University College London, the British Film Institute, and the University of Sheffield. Although his first love is medieval architecture he is an expert in the history of modern architecture. He began his career working briefly in archaeology before training as a librarian at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). He then moved to working in commercial picture libraries and began to lecture part-time in London.

Following post-graduate study at University College London his early academic posts were in a series of art colleges (in London, Kent, and Loughborough) and coincided with the establishment of design history. He was an early committee member of the Design History Society and in 1988 was appointed head of architectural and design history in the school of architecture at London Metropolitan University. Leaving academia in the early 1990’s to work in conservation as the first Casework Officer of the Twentieth Century Society, and later the Cinema Theatre Association, he was involved in the early years of the controversial listing of modern architecture, including stopping the demolition of Bankside Power station (now Tate Modern). He then developed a dual career as an academic and conservationist (including writing regularly for ‘The Architects Journal’, and ’Building Design’) before his appointment to Director of the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies at Edinburgh College of Art School of Architecture in 2000.

Before coming to Oxford he was Inspector of Historic Buildings with English Heritage for a decade. He continues to advise CADW on listing policy, sits on the Northern Buildings Committee of the Victorian Society, the partnership board of the Canals and Rivers Trust in the north-west, and is an Expert Advisor to the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles on twentieth century heritage.



He teaches the Post-Graduate Certificate in Architectural History, and is responsible for the Certificate in Higher Education, and the portfolio of weekly, on-line, and lecture courses in the subject taught by a small team of expert staff. He is happy to consider applications for doctoral research within his areas of interest.



Research interests are centred on the architecture of the last two hundred years with a particular emphasis on the Arts and Crafts Movement, the history of the Office of Works after 1851, and ’Official Architecture’. He has published widely including studies of the Royal Pavilion, W.R. Lethaby, twentieth century classicism, inter-war modernism, post-war pre-fabrication, kitchen design, city and building typology, Manchester’s industrial architecture, Brutalism, and most recently (with Elizabeth McKellar) ‘Neo-Georgian architecture; a reappraisal, 1880-1970’, which grew out of a conference at Rewley House on Suburbia. His next book, ‘Beauty’s awakening’, on the architecture of the Arts and Crafts Movement, is due for publication in 2020. He is a Deputy Editor of ‘Architectural History’, and, as the former Education Officer of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain established its annual PhD Workshop and grants programme.