Heaven & Hell with architect Max Milburn

PUBLISHED: 12:09 31 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:56 31 August 2019

Max Milburn



Throughout Max Milburn’s long local professional life, his phenomenal vision in virtually every aspect of architecture, is evident throughout Suffolk and the East Anglian region.

A previous Classic and Sports Cars by the Lake.

Max Milburn, Chairman of the St Nicholas Hospice Care Special Events Committee, and wife Betty with Roger Williams from Woodbridge based Suffolk Jaguar Engineering and at the wheel of a Suffolk SS100 JaguarA previous Classic and Sports Cars by the Lake. Max Milburn, Chairman of the St Nicholas Hospice Care Special Events Committee, and wife Betty with Roger Williams from Woodbridge based Suffolk Jaguar Engineering and at the wheel of a Suffolk SS100 Jaguar

His prolific output has included work in construction, design and planning of commercial and industrial buildings, community architecture, country houses and listed building renovations. Max has also devoted much of his life to charity, setting up a number of organisations that he continues to be associated with to this day. Here Max talks to Gina Long.

What is your connection to East Anglia?

I was born in a house in the centre of Norwich at the outbreak of war. Sadly, Mr Hitler's demolition gang later reduced it to rubble and consequently the majority of my childhood and early education was to be in Guildford in Surrey. After study and training in the north of England where I met my wife Betty, we both returned to settle back in Bury St Edmunds in 1964.

What is your East Anglian Heaven i.e. what do you love most about East Anglia?

The magnificent Holkham Beaches and vast skies.

What is your East Anglian Hell i.e. what you hate most about living here?

The downside of living in the heart of East Anglia must be the tortuous train connections to London.

What's your favourite East Anglian restaurant?

It has to be either, the incomparable Maison Bleue or the ever-reliable and charming Scutchers in Long Melford.

What's your favourite way to spend an East Anglian evening?

Relaxing with friends over supper....preferably in a beautiful house and garden.

What's your favourite East Anglian landmark?

My favourite East Anglian landmark is the exquisite brick facade of Blickling Hall.

What's the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?

Of course, I would have to say that the best thing that happens here each year is the Classic Car Show!

What your specialist Mastermind subject?

My interests and activities are many and varied but my hobbies are few and I'm really no expert .....but maybe .."Immediate Post War motor vehicles".

What is always in your fridge?

Almond milk for breakfast and a bottle of Chablis Premier Cru. Fresh eggs and some locally produced cheeses.

What's your simple philosophy of life?

My philosophy in life has been to maintain a sense of humour and always try to see others' points of view!

What's your favourite film?

I haven't a favourite movie but my most disliked is "Gone with the Wind"!

What was your first job?

Among my earliest employers were architects Piper Whalley in Lowestoft who later acquired a Practice in Bury St Edmunds and shipped me off to run it in 1963.

What is your most treasured possession?

My most treasured possessions are my wife and three sons. Thankfully, all of whom are achievers!

Who do you admire most?

The person I admire the most is the Queen, who has set us all such a splendid example of service above self.

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What is your biggest indulgence?

My indulgences have usually been motor cars that cost just a little more than I could comfortably afford!

What do you like about yourself most?

It's difficult to make a self assessment. I hope others may see me as fair and reliable.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Death Valley.....I was introduced to this favourite holiday destination in California by our erstwhile MP. Sir Eldon Griffiths. It's wild, hot and arid beauty defies description!

Best day of your life?

I have been fortunate to have had many 'best days'.

What's your favourite breakfast?

Boiled eggs and "soldiers"!

What's your favourite tipple?

Adnams bitter.

What's your hidden talent?


When were you most embarrassed?

When asking the Peruvian Ambassador, who lived in Lima, how he coped with the altitude sickness, for him to reply 'Lima is at sea level'!

What's your earliest memory?

As a child, I was forever drawing plans of houses and I daresay that set the die for my future career.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

I have lived a good fun life, I am hoping this will be reflected in any music played at my funeral.

Tell us something people don't know about you?

We all have our secrets and mine are staying that way!

What's the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

Being called 'Copper-nob' at school.

Tell us why you live here.

Because I was lucky enough to be born here.

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

Please come along to "Classic and Sports by the Lake" at Hall Farm, Fornham St. Martin, IP31 1SL tomorrow, It's our glorious 10th year, and over 700 fabulous cars and bikes will be the stars of the show. As I am standing down this year, we will have supported St Nicholas Hospice Care to a tune in excess of over £300k. Local people are always so incredibly supportive, and this is a very well run charity event with an excellent organising committee. I have been proud and honoured to serve as it's President.

To follow Gina Long @geewizzgee1 or email

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