(b. 21 September 1944)
is a British architectural historian
author. He is best known for his conservation work regarding
Early and family life
Marcus Hugh Crofton Binney, born circa 1944, is the son of
Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Francis
MC and his wife, Sonia (née Beresford Whyte).
was held as a prisoner of war in
Italy during the Second World
His mother worked in code-breaking
. Following his father's death
and his mother's remarriage to Sir George
DSO in 1955, Binney took his stepfather's surname.
educated at Eton
College and read history of
art at the University of Cambridge.
The architect Walter
was a family friend, who encouraged the young Binney to
study Sir Robert Taylor
for his PhD.
Binney married The Hon. Sara Anne Vanneck, daughter of Sir Gerald Charles Arcedeckne Vanneck, 6th Baron
, on 23 August 1966
. They were divorced in 1976. She died in 1979.
Binney has since remarried to Anne (née Hills).
Binney has two children: Francis Charles Thomas Binney and
Christopher George Crofton Binney, a marine biologist and a chef
a co-curator of the seminal exhibition The Destruction of the Country House held at the
V&A in 1974, with Roy Strong
and John Harris, which gave
impetus to the movement to conserve British country houses.
He was a driving force
behind the foundation of SAVE
(SAVE) the following year, and remains its
president. As its name suggests, it is devoted to the salvation of
Britain's architectural heritage and retention of such buildings
for the nation. It campaigns for the preservation and reuse of
endangered historic buildings, placing particular emphasis on
finding new uses for them. In 1975 he was awarded the London
Conservation Medal. He was also involved in the foundation of the
Railway Heritage Trust
the Thirties Society
, and SAVE Jersey's Heritage
, was made an
Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British
in 2004, and has been a vice-president of the
Architectural Heritage Society
instrumental in saving Calke Abbey and its contents for the nation in 1984; he had
highlighted and publicised the loss to the nation of such historic
houses following the failure of SAVE's attempts to preserve
Mentmore a decade earlier.
He also writes widely on the conservation of the built environment.
From 1977 until 1984 he was Architectural Editor of the British
magazine. He served as Editor from 1984 to 1986 and continues to
contribute articles to the magazine. He has been the architectural
correspondent of The Times
1991. He was founding Chairman of Heritage
Binney is also the author of numerous books, mostly concerned with
the preservation of Britain's architectural heritage; while many of
these can be typified by such titles as "The Country House: To
Be or Not to Be
" and "Re-use of Industrial Buildings" he has
also written books dealing with the experiences of those involved
in secret operations during World War
, such as "Secret War Heroes: The Men of Special
" and "The Women Who Lived for
lectured on architecture in the USA, and
narrated a 39-part television series "Mansions: The Great Houses of
Europe" from 1993 to 1997, broadcast widely in North America, the
Middle East and the Far East.
In recognition of his services to conservation and Britain's
heritage, he was awarded an OBE
in 1983, and
advanced to CBE
- Lost Houses of Scotland (1980) with John Harris and Emma Winnington, Save
Britain's Heritage, ISBN 0905978056, ISBN 978-0905978055.
- The Country House: To Be or Not to Be (1982) with
Kit Martin, Save Britain's Heritage, ISBN
0905978129, ISBN 978-0905978123.
- Chatham Historic Dockyard: Alive or Mothballed (1984)
with Kit Martin, Save Britain's Heritage,
ISBN 0905978196, ISBN 978-0905978192.
- The Ritz Hotel, London (1999) Foreword by HRH the
Prince of Wales, Thames & Hudson, ISBN 0500019347, ISBN
- The Women Who Lived for Danger: The Women Agents of SOE in
the Second World War, London, Hodder & Stoughton, 2002,
ISBN 0 340 81840 9.
- The Ritz Hotel, London (2006) Centenary
Edition, Foreword by HRH the Prince of Wales, Thames & Hudson,
ISBN 0500512795, ISBN 978-0500512791.
- In Search Of The Perfect House: 500 Of The Best
Buildings In Britain And Ireland (2007) Weidenfeld &
Nicolson, ISBN 0297844555, ISBN 9780297844556.