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He became only the second architect (after Lutyens) to be admitted to the Order of Merit in 1962.As President of the RIBA in 1958-60, and Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy from 1961 to 1968, Spence was an unflagging advocate for his profession.Eric Lyons, a later President of the RIBA, stated that the best of Spence's public buildings 'reflected the spirit and vitality that was shared by the British people in the post-war era.' Fellow architect, Sir Frederick Gibberd, paid tribute to him as 'the best-known British architect, almost the only one known to the general public'.Number 1, Canonbury Place was Spence's London home and office from 1956, until he acquired Number 2, next door, in the mid-1960s; this then became the family home.
He died at his country home at Yaxley Hall, near Eye, Suffolk in 1976 and is buried nearby at Thornham Parva.
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Born in Bombay in 1907, the young Spence was educated until the age of 12 in India before being sent to George Watson's College in Edinburgh.
His reputation has rightly enjoyed a revival in recent years and many of his buildings have been listed.
English Heritage is delighted to commemorate Basil Spence with a blue plaque." "Spence's remarkable talents extended beyond planning and design.