Lancelot Keay was born in Eastbourne in 1883. He studied at Eastbourne College and Brighton School of Art. Keay arrived in Liverpool after a period of working as Chief Assistant Architect with Birmingham Corporation. He was appointed City Architect and Director of Housing for Liverpool in 1925. An important part of his job in the early years was overseeing the large-scale clearance of slum housing in the city.
Keay served as Director of Housing in Liverpool until 1948. During his time in the post more than 35,000 new houses and flats were built across the city and four large-scale redevelopment schemes were implemented. Recognised for his flair and innovation in housing development, one of Keay?s most notable achievements was the creation of the township of Speke. Speke became a model for self-contained municipal housing estates throughout the world.
He was rewarded for his contribution to public housing when he received a knighthood in 1947. He served as Director of Housing until 1948 and was also president of the Royal Institute of British Architects from 1946 to 1948.