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Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Richard Lethaby
Designation: Architect
Born: 18 January 1857
Died: 17 July 1931
Bio Notes: William Richard Lethaby was born at Barnstaple on 18 January 1857, the son of a radical nonconformist carver and gilder, Richard Pyle Lethaby. He was educated at Barnstaple Grammar School and at the local Literary and Scientific Society. In 1871 he was articled to the Wesleyan architect Alexander Lauder and remained there until 1878 when he joined the office of Richard Waite at Duffield, Derbyshire followed by an office in Leicester.

In 1879 Lethaby won the Soane Medallion and Travelling Scholarship and travelled in France. His drawings were published in the Building News and attracted the attention of Richard Norman Shaw who engaged him as his chief assistant to his return to London. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1880 winning the Silver Medal, a was co-founder of the St George's Art Society which became the Art Workers' Guild.

In 1889 Lethaby left Shaw to commence practice on his own account at 10 Hart Street and with Reginald Blomfield, Mervyn E Macartney, Ernest Gimson and Sydney Barnsley founded the furniture-making firm of Kenton & Co. Thereafter he became first art adviser to the Technical Education Board of LCC in 1892 and one of the founders of the Central School of Arts and Crafts where he taught architecture with Halsey Richards and was principal 1902-1911; and in 1900 he became first Professor of the Royal College of Art a post he retained until 1918. These commitments, together with a mishap in the practice induced him to retire from architectural practice in 1902.

Lethaby declined the Gold Medal in 1924 and died in London on 17 July 1931.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1111, Inverness Terrace, London, EnglandPrivateBefore 1906After 1914 

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1Richard Norman Shaw18791891Assistant 


RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Louis David Blanc20 March 1911for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 3Arnold Dunbar Smith3 December 1906for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3Charles Sydney Spooner1906For Fellowship

Buildings and Designs

This architect was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 61897Eynhallow Church EynhallowOrkneyScotlandConsolidation of ruins
Item 2 of 61898Chapel of St Colm and St MargaretMelsetterHoyOrkneyScotland 
Item 3 of 61898Melsetter HouseHoyHoyOrkneyScotland 
Item 4 of 61898Orgill LodgeHoyHoyOrkneyScotland 
Item 5 of 6c. 1900Hoy LodgeHoyHoyOrkneyScotlandReconstruction
Item 6 of 61902Rysa Lodge HoyOrkneyScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 3British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 3Rubens, Godfrey1986William Richard Lethaby, his life and work, 1857-1931   
Item 3 of 3Who's Who in Architecture1914    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 5Builder24 July 1931   
Item 2 of 5RIBA Journal8 August 1931 London: Royal Institute of British ArchitectsObituary p 696 by F W Troup
Item 3 of 5RIBA Journal19 September 1931 London: Royal Institute of British ArchitectsObituary by Arthur Keen, p737
Item 4 of 5RIBA Journal20 February 1932 London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp293 Tribute by Sir Reginald Blomfieldp 314 Review of drawings by Noel Rooke,
Item 5 of 5RIBA Journal2 April 1932 London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp439 Letters by J A Morris, P J Waldram and P M Johnston


© All rights reserved. RIBA Library Photographs Collection 

© All rights reserved. RIBA Library Photographs Collection