fonds PS - Pace and Sims Archive

Identity area

Reference code



Pace and Sims Archive


  • [1940s]-2007 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

32.7 cubic metres

approx. 910 boxes, 517 bundles of rolled plans, 14 ringbinders and assorted oversize folders and loose material.

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

George Gaze Pace was born in Croydon, Surrey, on 31 December 1915, the son of George Henry Pace, a shipowner’s clerk, and his wife Alice Gaze. He was educated at Addiscombe New College and then studied architecture at London Polytechnic whilst working for several architectural firms; James Ransome and Cootes, Darcy Braddell and Humphry Deane, and Pite, Son and Fairweather.

He qualified as an architect in 1939 and, after serving in the Royal Engineers during the Second World War, settled at York where he established his own practice, specialising in ecclesiastical buildings. In 1941 he married Ina Jones and the couple had five children together. Their son, Peter, also became an architect.

During his career George Pace worked on approximately 700 churches, combining modernist and traditional style. He was surveyor to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where he was responsible for the King George VI memorial chapel and tomb, as well as surveyor to the Diocese of Sheffield. He was also honorary consulting architect to the Historic Churches Preservation Trust and served as consultant to the cathedrals of Durham, Peterborough, Lichfield, Chester, Liverpool, St Albans, Newcastle and Southwark.

His notable works include the postwar restoration of Llandaff Cathedral, which included the new chapel of St Michael, the building of a new cathedral at Ibadan in Nigeria in 1960 and of Durham University Library in 1966. He also restored the bomb damaged church of St Martin le Grand on Coney Street, York, in the 1950s and built the new church of the Holy Redeemer at Acomb, York, in 1962 using materials salvaged from the demolished medieval church of St Mary Bishophill Senior.

He became a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1949 and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1950. In 1971 he was appointed CVO (Commander of the Royal Victorian Order). He was also active in York conservation circles, as a member of the York Civic Trust and York Georgian Society.

George Gaze Pace died at York on 23 August 1975. His architectural practice was continued by his assistant Ronald Sims, who had joined the firm in the 1950s.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Ronald Sims was born in Hull in 1926, the son of Claude and Jenny Sims. Educated at Nunthorpe Grammar School and then at Leeds School of Art, where he studied architecture, he joined the Royal Engineers as part of his National Service and was given charge of a military building project in Kiel, Germany.

He returned to England and qualified as an architect in 1952, joining the architectural practice of George Gaze Pace in York. Pace specialised in ecclesiastical architecture and his work included St George’s Chapel, Windsor, and Llandaff Cathedral. Pace and Sims worked together until Pace’s unexpected death in 1975, when Sims inherited the business.

Over his career, Sims worked on 13 cathedrals and more than 1000 churches. His notable work includes the interior of St Mary’s Church, Putney in 1983, and the Chapter House at Southwark Cathedral in 1989. At York he remodelled the interior of Heslington Church. He also sat on the Diocesan Advisory Committee for nearly 25 years and was a member of York Civic Trust.

In 1999 his contribution to church architecture was recognised by the Archbishop of Canterbury who awarded him a Lambeth Degree.

Ronald Sims died in York in 2007.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was deposited at the Borthwick Institute in 2008. Further additions were made to the archive in 2009, 2012 and 2014.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Architectural records of George Gaze Pace and Ronald Sims, 1940s-2007, including project proposals, specifications, invoices, site and building plans, correspondence, press cuttings and other papers concerning architectural projects principally in the UK but also in countries including America, Ireland, Malta, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.


Further accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws. 24 hours' notice is required to access photographic material.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

The archive has not yet been catalogued, please contact the Borthwick Institute for further information.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

George Pace's notes on Surrey churches, c.1933, are also deposited at the Borthwick Institute as the Pace Family Papers (Reference: PACE).

Plans by George Pace of Durham Cathedral, the deanery and the College, 1954-1975, are held by Durham University Library, Special Collections as part of the Durham Cathedral Muniments (Reference: DCD/B35). Correspondence with George Pace concerning alterations to St Nicholas Church, Newcastle, 1966-1976, is held by Northumberland Archives (Reference: EP/86) and correspondence between George Pace and John Hitch, 1948-1971, is held by the Royal Institute of British Architects (Reference: PaGG/1).

Photographs and negatives of projects by Ronald Sims and George Pace, 1955-2007, are held by the Historic England Archive (Reference: SPA01).

Further papers concerning architectural projects by Pace and Sims in the UK may be deposited in local and county archive repositories.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier


Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by S. A. Shearn, 24.04.17.




Accession area