Architects by Ken Brand


T. C. Hine.

For architects and others Nottingham was in effect three towns in the nineteenth century. The first, the medieval core of about 355 ha. (876 acres) surrounded by 453 ha. (1,120 acres) of common land remained intact until a small, tentative enclosure of a mere 21 ha. (52 acres) in 1839 broke the stranglehold. The second, which soon followed, was the addition by enclosure of the remaining 432 ha. (1068 acres) of the common lands from 1845. It was of such complexity that the Enclosure Act took twenty years to implement. Finally the third was the result of the Borough Extension Act of 1877, which brought within the boundary of the town the parishes of Basford, Bulwell, Lenton, Radford, Sneinton and Wilford, increasing the area of the town to 4,425 ha. (1,996 acres).

It was not until the last quarter of the nineteenth century that secular buildings by ‘national’ architects made any real impression on the townscape of Nottingham. Thus local architects carried out the bulk of the work, mostly good, some very good. Few of the town’s clubs and societies built their own premises, relying on facilities in Bromley House, the Mechanics Institute etc. It is worth contemplating whether the non-conformists who ran the town for much of the century – whether by prudence or timidity – put constraints on public buildings in general.

The appointment of Edward Staveley (1768-1837) of Melton Mowbray as Corporation Surveyor on 10 June 1796 can be taken as the starting point of formal architecture and planning in Nottingham. For his annual salary of £20 he also acted as Borough Treasurer. Two of his buildings survive: the Baptist Chapel, on George Street (1815), now the ‘Arts Theatre’ and the Plumptre Hospital, Plumptre Square. 

Three of Staveley’s pupils later made their mark: Henry Moses Wood (1788-1867) became a noted architect and his successor as Corporation Surveyor; Thomas Hawksley (1807-1893) was the pre-eminent water engineer of the nineteenth century and Robert Jalland (1801-1883) a prominent local architect. Staveley is remembered now mainly as a cartographer, particularly working with Wood on the well-respected Staveley and Wood maps of Nottingham at different scales published 1829-30.

In the thirty years 1801-31 the population of Nottingham increased from 28,801 to 50,220. This increase in population was largely of work-seekers from outside the town; the result being that the historic town became intensely overcrowded. The number of houses in 1801, 5,077 more than doubled to 10,842 in 1831. Most of this increase came from the building of the notorious back-to-backs in rows at right angles to the street, with each end sealed by another row thus forming a court, with access through a long tunnel.

There were few architects around; Sutton in his 1818 Directory had no architects but seven surveyors and 24 builders and bricklayers. Four years later in Pigot’s Directory of 1822, architects are recorded but besides Staveley and Wood only William Surplice is noted; he had then recently taken over the premises and practice of the builder/architect William Stretton. In the1828 edition Pigot added Robert Jalland and Thomas Surplice.

1834 is a suitable point to start examining architecture in Nottingham. Dearden’s Directory of Nottingham for that year starts to acknowledge the professional standing of the architect. Fourteen ‘Architects and Surveyors’ are listed as well as 31 builders and 37 bricklayers. Some names that later became more widely known appear for the first time. By coincidence 1834 was the year the Institute of British Architects was founded, the royal charter of approval followed in 1837. It was also the year the 21-year-old Thomas Chambers Hine (1813-99) returned to his hometown after being articled to the London architect Matthew Habershon and formed a partnership with the builder William Patterson. This business relationship was formally dissolved in March 1849. For over 40 years Hine’s later career formed a stable backbone for the emerging architectural profession in the town and beyond. He soon moved onto a whole string of successes starting in the 1850s, first with Robert Evans (1832-1911) as a pupil then as a partner until early in 1867 and thereafter with his son George Thomas Hine (1842-1916) until his retirement around 1890. Hine’s influence was such that in his old age he was fondly known as “The Father of the Midland Architects”.

Hine’s arrival was too late for the 1834 Directory but the new names are William Booker (1801-1861), the founder of a ‘family’ of architects, William Dudley known initially only as a partner of Staveley; Thomas Hawksley; S.S. Rawlinson, (1809-1880) architect of Canning Terrace (1837-40) and the Wesleyan Chapel Broad Street (1843) the heart of the Broadway Cinema; and Thomas Winter, agent for the Duke of Newcastle and architect of the Savings Bank, Low Pavement. William Booker, who came from H.M. Wood’s practice, later became Referee to the Enclosure Commissioners and died ‘in harness’ late in 1861.

James Orange’s Directory for 1840 does not differentiate between Architects and Surveyors. The listing does include the partnerships Hine and Patterson; and Hawksley, Jalland and Staveley, even though Staveley had died in 1837. William Dudley now has his own office. Rawlinson; William Surplice; Winter; and Wood are still there. A new entry is Samuel Walker & Sons. Surplice is best remembered for St. John Evangelist, Carrington (1843).

Eight years later, Lascelles and Hagar’s Directory still links Architects with Surveyors. Isaac Charles Gilbert (1822-1885), then involved with the design of the first People’s College, Francis Williamson (1822-1883) and Robert Clarke (1819-1877) appear for the first time. Clarke produced several surviving buildings in central Nottingham: the Artisan’s Library on Thurland Street (1854), nearby on Pelham Street the Journal Chambers and Printing Offices (1860) and the Factory, Lace Dressing Rooms etc for Messrs Lambert on Talbot Street (1863) – now the Driving Standards Agency. His St. Ann’s Church of 1864 was demolished in 1971. Little is known of Williamson’s early work; later work includes a warehouse at the top of Hollowstone (1873), another on Spaniel Row/Houndsgate (1874?) and a pair of shops on the corner of the Poultry and Bridlesmith Gate (1875).

Regular editions of three Directories of Nottingham and District start to appear in the 1850s. These are by White, Wright (most useful), and Kelly’s/Post Office Directory. They give progressive information on architects then practicing in the town. Alas the legal requirement to submit plans for Council approval did not commence until September 1874 so details of the building work from 1850 to that date relies on careful research.

Frederick Jackson (d.1893), George Place, John Jackson (1827-c1906), William Arthur Heazell (1831-1917), Frederick Bakewell (1825-1881) and Thomas Simpson (1816-1880) are the principal new faces of the 1850s. Robert Evans’ progress from pupil to partner in T.C. Hine’s office has already been noted.

Frederick Jackson was also a surveyor and produced maps of Nottingham for the Enclosure Commissioners in the early 1850s and his ‘Jackson’ maps of the town date from 1861. He also had the young Fothergill Watson as a pupil from 1856. Thomas Simpson’s career had an early set back when his plans for the School of Art, approved by the Council, were rejected by the Science and Art Department, South Kensington. Subsequently plans submitted by Bakewell were approved and the building erected. Simpson went on to design the Nottingham Boys’ High School – with assistance from Hine and Evans, together with various minor works. He later became a Town Councillor.

John Jackson and William Heazell, later in partnership, were responsible for some of the early buildings of 1870-72 on the west side of Market Street after it was formed by the widening of Sheep Lane in 1865. 

The 1850s was Hine’s great decade with designs for warehouses, factories, churches, railway stations, hospitals and houses among a prodigious output in the town and around. In Nottingham he transformed the Lace Market, the Wellington Circus area and started his creation of the Park Estate. At the opening of the enormous Adams and Page warehouse in July 1855 Hine referred to ‘the twelve new warehouses, which I have erected in this town since 1851.’He was setting a standard for others to follow.

Henry Moses Wood produced his lodge at the eastern end of the Forest, a complex ‘Greek Revival’ structure, which served as a police post, in 1857. But, as indicated, details of much of his architectural work hidden in newspapers. In October 1859 Marriott Ogle Tarbotton (1834-1887) was appointed Nottingham’s first full time Borough Surveyor and Engineer, replacing Wood whose post had always been part time. Wood’s Post Office of 1848 (demolished 1928-9) on the site of Marks & Spencer’s Store, Albert Street later became Tarbotton’s offices. 

The most important newcomer to make an impact in the early years of the 1860s was Richard Charles Sutton (1834-1915), son of the editor of the radical newspaper The Nottingham Review. He was a pupil of S.S. Teulon (architect of Bestwood Lodge1862-5) and actually set up in St. Peter’s Church Walk around 1858. His early commissions included a new Grand Jury Room at the Shire Hall (1859) and works for public safety at the public execution outside the Shire Hall in 1860. He soon became engaged in church building; Castle Gate Congregational Chapel, St. Saviour’s Arkwright Street, and the Peas Hill Road Unitarian Church are all of 1863. Sutton went on to design a number of further churches, warehouses, factories and commercial premises, including Jesse Boot’s first purpose built premises.

Young Fothergill Watson (1841-1928) started the decade as an architectural assistant to I.C. Gilbert but by 1868, after some time travelling and getting further experience away from Nottingham, he had started his own practice in Clinton Street, sharing premises with his former boss I.C. Gilbert. The Walker family parted to form two practices, Samuel Dutton Walker (1833-1885) being the better known, particularly for the ornately decorated Terrace Royal on Clarendon Street (1863), now offices for Nottingham Trent University.

Another name to appear was William Knight, perhaps better known as the father of the artist Harold Knight and thus father-in-law of Dame Laura Knight. St Andrews Church on the corner of Mansfield and Mapperley Roads and the warehouse on Plumptre Street now housing the High Pavement Unitarians are his best-known works. R.C. Clarke (1843-1904) joined his father to form R. Clarke & Son.

Robert Evans left Hine in 1867 and set up what was to be a very prolific practice. He was soon to be joined by William Jolley (1837-1919) another Hine pupil, who returned after working for George Gilbert Scott in London. Evans early work included the Imperial Fire and Life Insurance Office, Victoria Street, now the Victoria Club and St. Andrew’s Church, Belgrave Square. After Evans’ departure George Thomas Hine was promoted from within to form T.C. Hine & Son. The son’s own work included the Radford Boulevard Schools (1885) and the award winning design for Mapperley Hospital (1885-7).

It is worth noting here that Nottingham Architectural Association was instituted at a meeting of the town’s architects on 11 November 1862. The steering committee, which arranged the meeting, was chaired by T.C. Hine. Its first President was H.M. Wood (1862-3); followed by Hine (1863-73), and then by Evans (1873-9 and later in 1892-3 and 1899-1901).

Watson Fothergill.

Watson Fothergill.

As the 1870s unfold Fothergill Watson comes into prominence. Plans of his first public building, a school for the Society of Friends (demolished), Park Street now Friar Lane, were of 1871. His own house on Mapperley Road (demolished) was started at this time. Another early assignment was for a pair of houses on Lenton Road in the Park Estate dated 1873. His plans were chosen for the first Albert Hall, East Circus Street, which opened in 1876. In this year new premises for the Nottingham Daily Express were completed and subsequently enlarged in 1899. In 1877-8 Fothergill received his first commissions from two regular clients: the Nottingham and Notts Bank for a new Head Office on Thurland Street and, through his Mansfield connections, the Black Boy Hotel on Long Row, initially for minor extensions; extensive rebuilding and enlargement were a decade away. In 1892 he transposed his forename and family name becoming Watson Fothergill. His own office at 15-17 George Street is the most interesting building by this ‘new’ architect!

By 1874 Albert Nelson Bromley (1850-1934) had been promoted from pupil to partner by his uncle Frederick Bakewell. One of their first assignments was the Huntingdon Street Board School (1874); another was Victoria Buildings (1875-6) the competition for which they entered under the name ‘Economy’. The buildings, the Council’s first venture into housing, were beset with problems from its completion. Nevertheless they have been extensively refurbished in recent years and are known as ‘Park View’, Bath Street. Within two years Bakewell went into retirement and Bromley set had up his own practice. After a slow start he became principal architect to the Nottingham School Board and undertook several projects for the Tramway Company. The 1880s witnessed his arrival as one of the town’s principal architects; his classical detailing graced several banks. Much of his best work is of the 1890s and later; the flagship of the Boot’s retail chain on High Street is dated 1903/4. About this time T. Cecil Howitt, the future architect of the Council House and Council housing, joined Bromley’s office as a pupil.

The other new names appearing in the 1870s include Lawrence Bright (1847-1908), John Collyer, A.H. Goodall (1848-19**), Richard Hardy (1850-1904), W. Bliss Sanders, S.R. Stevenson, Henry Sully (1845-1940), and J.W. Woodsend. Some became better known through their involvement with larger projects. Bright’s work includes the corner building of Waterstones on Bridlesmith Gate and a large textile factory on Radford Boulevard, recently converted to student housing. Goodall is remembered, if at all, for the former Poor Law Offices on Shakespeare Street (1887) but in 1895 he produced designs for a warehouse for Boden & Co., Fletcher Gate now an entertainment venue and Sycamore Road School. Sully designed a number of formidable houses, including most likely Malvern House, Mapperley Road (1874). Hardy was one of the first local architects to be designated ARIBA. He specialised in work for the brewing industry and his only building locally was the Malt Rooms for W.H. Hutchinson and Sons Ltd. on Alpine Street, Basford (1899). Bliss Sanders is relatively unknown except for the highly criticised facade of his enlargement of the Crown Court at the Shire Hall, High Pavement in 1875-6.

One of Collyer’s early successes was the Albert Hotel near the bottom Derby Road (1876), but it has long been demolished. In the same year he designed the Dog and Bear on Bridlesmith Gate, facing the present Waterstone’s. It survives – as shops!

S.R. Stevenson is a peripheral architect from the mid 1870s designing a variety of houses; one in particular is rather splendid, on Forest Road for Dr. Chicken (1879). Chicken is credited with preparing the Index for Deering’s An Historical Account of Nottingham. Stevenson in partnership with A.H. Goodall was an unsuccessful entrant for the Bagthorpe Workhouse. (See below)

One of the most interesting architects of the 1880s is Gilbert Smith Doughty (1862-1910?). His career starts modestly enough with work for his father, a lace manufacturer in Heskey Street. Soon he is designing some grand houses on the recently set out Gregory Boulevard and more modest villas on Cavendish Hill and Foxhall Road. His impressive commercial work comes in the 1890s. This encompasses the Thurland Public House, Pelham Street; the boldly gabled terraces of shops on Derby Road close to Canning Circus, and near Carrington Street Bridge; and the former premises of Smart & Brown, furnishers, on Bridlesmith Gate facing St. Peter’s Gate, now with other tenants.

Samuel Dutton Walker formed a partnership with John Howitt (1851-1923), a former pupil, in 1879 and the early 1880s saw impressive examples of their work: shops on Derby Road for Pullman now the residential Regent Court (1880-84), shops and offices ‘Carlton Buildings’ on Carlton Street (1881) and the shops, offices and warehouses forming ‘King John’s Arcade’ on Bridlesmith Gate (1882). Howitt took over the practice after Walker’s death in 1885 and later produced several large office blocks, including Bentinck Buildings on Wheeler Gate and another on Milton Street turning into Trinity Square.

Arthur Marshall (1858-1915) is another architect who arrived in the early 1880s; he started his own practice in 1881. His first commissions were mainly for houses, the most notable being ‘Brightlands’ for Samuel Bourne in the Park Estate (1885), which was prominently featured in the British Architect. His later work included Russell Chambers on the King Street/Long Row corner (1895-6) and the award winning entry for the new Workhouse at Bagthorpe (1896-1903). This is now part of the City Hospital.

Three partnerships are listed by the mid 1880s: Calvert & Wright, Parry & Walker, and Truman & Pratt. As things worked out one from each pairing is better known as an individual architect. In the 1880s Parry was County Surveyor and later the engineer for the extension of the Great Central Railway from Annesley southwards through Nottingham, work that included the construction of the Victoria Station. A.R. Calvert was involved preparing plans for some of the first roads in the southern portion of the Mapperley Park Estate and in Carrington/Sherwood from 1881. Herbert Walker’s work is not widely known but it does include houses and an Infection Hospital for the Basford Union (1894)

William Dymock Pratt (1854-1916) worked widely in Nottingham and district from the 1880s, producing houses; some are in Mapperley Park and commercial premises, a jam factory in Castle Gate for example. Perhaps his finest memorial are the warehouses of 1911 facing ‘Adams’ on Stoney Street for the lace manufacturer A. Schmidt. These were the last great lace warehouses built in Nottingham.

Another architect of merit is Arthur Brewill (1861-1923), a pupil of Dutton Walker and one of several architects who designed some of the early houses on the Mapperley Park Estate, his first in Red Lane (Radcliffe Road) and Magdala Road are of 1881; others followed. Later work in partnership with Basil Baily (1869-1942) includes the former St. Columba’s Presbyterian Church, now the Christian Science Church, Mansfield Road (1896). He served 44 years in the ‘Robin Hoods’ in which regiment he rose to become Lieutenant Colonel. In Brewill’s later years he designed several war memorials: to Captain Albert Ball V.C. in the Castle Grounds, for the High School and at Burton Joyce and was the architect of the Albert Ball Memorial Homes in Lenton.

The lists of architects in the Directories of the 1890s show that many of the architects already mentioned are still professional active. Sons have joined fathers: Evans & Son, Heazell & Son. R.C. Clarke has taken over his father’s practice, producing designs for St. Catherine’s Church, St Ann’s Well Road (1896) and Nottingham’s new Higher Grade School, Mundella School (1896/7) - alas demolished.  Ernest Sutton (1861-1946) occasionally worked along side his father Richard getting second prize in the Mundella School competition, and entering the competition for the Bagthorpe Workhouse. In his own right he designed Albion Chambers on the corner of King Street (1898) and an ornate pair of Edwardian shops, 8-10 the Poultry for example.

W. R. Gleave.

W. R. Gleave.

Some of the new names that later became more widely known include Harry Gill (Snr), William R. Gleave, William Higginbottom, Hedley J. Price (18**-1907) and William Beedham Starr. Gill (1858-1925), long a stalwart of the Thoroton Society produced a number of houses in Mapperley Park and in Old Woodthorpe. In the centre of Nottingham he designed the furniture store that currently houses the Central Library on Angel Row  (1898).  W.B. Starr (1865-1953) produced a number of inter-war public houses but his greatest ‘mark’ is his layout of the larger, northern, part of the Mapperley Park Estate from 1904 and designing many of its splendid houses.

Hedley Price and Higginbottom are among the architects producing designs for some of the later Lace Market warehouses. Gleave becomes more prominent in the next century; he was for example the architect responsible for the development of the Council’s first post World War 1 housing estate at Stockhill.