London Doorways Research Project

In an increasingly connected and global world, we want to celebrate what makes our community unique.

Standing on the shoulders of our predecessors, Herb Craig and Julia Beck, we are working to further identify, research, and document a unique doorway we call a “London Doorway”. This triple-arched doorway is only found in London and the surrounding area in southwestern Ontario, Canada.

This is an initiative of ACO London Region, a branch of Architectural Conservancy Ontario.

Herb Craig (1919-1997)

After an apprenticeship with an architectural firm in Ottawa, Ontario, Herb Craig became a skilled draftsman and graphic artist. Throughout his life, Herb applied these skills first at the Engineering Branch of the federal Department of Transportation and later as chief draftsman of the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority. After moving to London, Herb became active in historical and architectural groups and projects. He served as the president of Architectural Conservancy Ontario’s London Region branch. Herb Craig identified 60 London Doorways during the late 1980s and the 1990s.

Julia Beck (1928-2012)

One of ACO London’s early members, Julia Beck worked on the City of London’s original Inventory of Heritage Resources and served as chair of the City’s Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee. She organized many early Geranium Heritage House Tours and co-edited two ACO London publications: Brackets and Bargeboards and Heritage Highlights of the Geranium Heritage House Tours. She served as branch president 1985-86 and provincial president from 1992 to 1994. Julia was a driving force in the successful campaign to save and restore the Red Antiquities building in SoHo.

An accomplished scientific scholar, she studied at University of Cambridge and Western University and used her skills to research our area’s distinctive triple-arched London Doorways, published as an ACO London book in 2014.

“[Architectural heritage] enriches, enlarges, and intrigues people,” she said during a 2009 interview with Ian Gillespie of The London Free Press. “Nobody would think of throwing out a 100-year painting, so why do they want to demolish a 100-year-old building?”

Julia received many citations: 2007 Lieutenant-Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award, 2009 provincial ACO Heritage Award, Ontario Heritage Foundation Award, 1990 Mayor’s Honour List, and 2009 ACO London – HLF Heritage Award.