Gilbert Mackenzie Trench (1885-1979)

Information from Wikipedia and from the website of the Whanganui Regional Museum:

“Gilbert Mackenzie Trench was born to Gilbert Kennedy Campbell Trench (1855–1937) and Clementina Flett (1857–1938) on April the 4th, 1885, in East Dulwich.

On the 1911 England census Gilbert is described as an: “A.R.I.B.A ARCHITECT” who was living with his family at 50 Marmora Rd, Honor Oak, Forest Hill Rd, S E England. (See image, by kind permission of householders. The gentleman told me that his father bought this and adjoining houses in the 1950s.)

Gilbert at the time was working for H.M. Office of Works.

Marmora, Therapia, Mundania and Scutari Roads, built in the 1880s, all derive their curious names from locations now in modern day Turkey, possibly from associations with the stationing of British forces there during the Crimean War.

Trench is known to have served in WWI, based on his medals from service.

In 1920 he was appointed deputy surveyor of the Metropolitan Police, starting a long career serving the police by designing buildings, both office and residential. He was the architect for the West Wickham Transmitting Station, Limehouse Police Station, Bow Road Police Station including stables and married quarters, Charles Rowan House (built 1930) and Crown Lodge (built 1937).

Limehouse Police Station

In 1928, Trench was commissioned by the Metropolitan Police to design a new Police Box, able to not only take calls from public notifying the police force of a crime, but to also allow a “Bobby On The Beat” to sit inside and make himself a cup of tea whilst he waited for a call-out. It began its installation in 1929, with demonstrations at the 1936 Radio Show. The boxes saw much use over the next 40 years, doubling as air raid sirens in WW2. By 1969, however, walkie-talkies and quick response vehicles such as the Ford Zephyr had made it redundant, and the home secretary James Callaghan had nearly all of them demolished. As of present, only 11 remain of the over 1000 originally constructed. It was immortalised in the British TV show Doctor Who after it became the disguise for the titular character’s space-time machine, The TARDIS.

Published work: “Metropolitan Police Buildings”, in The Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles (Volume: 2 issue: 1, page(s): 91-108) Issue published: January 1, 1929
G. Mackenzie Trench, F.R.I.B.A., F.S.I.
Metropolitan Police Architect and Surveyor, New Scotland Yard.

Trench moved to New Zealand, and is recorded as living in Whanganui from 1949, appearing on the NZ Electoral rolls, as retired and residing at “Arles” on Riverbank Road, Whanganui. In 1978 he is listed as living at 150 Anzac Parade, Whanganui.

Whanganui Regional Museum holds a hand-made wooden model of a twelve gun brig made by Trench, with eleven canvas sails and detailed rigging. The model sits on a custom-built wooden base.

Trench fathered two children, Jean Doris Trench (1913–2008) and Kenneth Mackenzie Trench (1923 – 1923). Gilbert and his wife Dorothy Clare Buswell Trench are buried together at Aramoho Cemetery. Dorothy died in 1970, aged 84 and Gilbert in 1979, aged 94.”

One thought on “Gilbert Mackenzie Trench (1885-1979)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: