Paul Holden, FSA, was born in Southampton in 1964. He is the son of the Poole, Southampton and England speedway rider Bill Holden (1923-2011). Inspired by his cousin Kevin Holden (1950-77), who raced for Romford, West Ham, Exeter, Poole and England Paul raced for Weymouth juniors before gaining notable success on the Southern Grasstrack circut (below).
Paul worked as a gas engineer for several years. After redundancy he worked first, at Winchester College and then had a brief spell at Southampton University. Winchester College changed his life for, on a scaffold on Old School in 1996, he discovered a passion for architecture. Despite not achieving at school Paul gained a first class part time degree at Winchester, King Alfred’s, in 1998 and, thanks to Professors Tom James and Michael Hicks, gained an MA in 2000 on the ‘Life and Work in Winchester of William Wynford, Retained Master Mason to William Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester’. Part of this work was published in ‘Hampshire Studies’ in 2008 and delivered as part of the ‘Winchester and Memory’ conference at the University of Winchester in 2013 (proceedings forthcoming).
In 1999 Paul took at new post as House and Collections Manager for the National Trust at Lanhydrock (right) in Cornwall. Since this appointment he has published widely on architectural history and curatorial issues in Apollo, British Library Electronic Journal, Furniture History, Georgian Group Journal, Hampshire Studies, James M. MacLaren Society, Journal of Liberal History, Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall and Parliamentary History. He is a regular features contributor to Country Life magazine.
His most recent publications include The Lanhydrock Atlas (Cornwall Editions, 2010) (winner of the Holyer an Gof Trophy for the best Cornish book of 2010), ‘“Of Things Old and New”: The Work of Richard Coad and James M MacLaren’, in Jason Edwards and Imogen Hart (eds.), The Aesthetic Interior (Ashgate, 2010), The London Letters of Samuel Molyneux 1712-13 (London Topographical Society, 2011) and ‘“Is it scientific and safe”: Country House Technology at Lanhydrock House in Cornwall’ in Paul Barnwell and Marilyn Palmer, Country House Technology (Shaun Tyas, 2012). He made a significant contribution to the new Pevsner ‘Buildings of England Series: Cornwall’ by Peter Beacham (2014)and arranged the two day interdisiplinary Cornish Buildings Group Conference in conjunction with Cornwall Heritage Trust, Yale University Press and National Trust that celebrated the publication. His book reviews have appeared in the ‘Antiquaries Journal’, ‘Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians’, ‘Southern History’, ‘Buildings Online’ and several planning journals. He also reviews for the Royal Society journal ‘Notes and Records’.
Paul has lectured in the Czech Republic, Eire, Scotland and United States and has delivered papers at academic venues throughout England including The Wallace Collection, National Museum of Scotland, Royal Institution (London), The Holborne Museum, Maynooth University, National Maritime Museum (Falmouth) and National Trust properties of Montacute and Saltram. He has also made several appearances at the Daphne Du Maurier Literary Festival and Truro Festival in Cornwall. He was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 2011 and gave his first lecture at Burlington House in 2013. Later in 2013 Paul attended the Attingham Royal Collection Study days.
He has published, lectured and advised widely on fire separation in historic buildings. He is currently Chairman of the Cornish Buildings Group and a member of the Fabric Advisory Committee at Truro Cathedral. He has become a great champion of heritage.
Paul is married with one daughter and lives in Cornwall.