Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||W & T R Milburn |
|Designation: ||Architectural practice |
|Started: ||1896 or 1897 |
|Ended: ||1990(?) |
|Bio Notes: ||William and Thomas Milburn were the sons of Captain William Milburn, a shipowner and shipping surveyor in Sunderland. |
William Milburn was born in 1858. He was articled to John Tillman of Sunderland and remained as assistant, studying at Sunderland School of Art. He commenced independent practice in Sunderland in 1879 at the early age of twenty-one, but appears from his nomination form to have taken what was probably a short career break to study at the South Kensington Schools in 1880.
Thomas Ridley Milburn was born in 1861 (1862 in Earl & Sell) and articled to John Tillman in 1877. He remained as assistant after the end of his articles but spent some time with Liverpool Corporation before setting up in practice in Sunderland in 1884 independently of his brother. Throughout his time with Tillman and at Liverpool he studied in 'various science and art classes' and passed the qualifying exam in 1886, being admitted ARIBA on 18 April 1887. His proposers were Tillman, Joseph Hall Morton of South Shields and Thomas Oliver of Sunderland, with whose firm he was shortly to become connected. In 1893 Thomas designed the first of his theatres, the Olympia in Newcastle upon Tyne, in association with Oliver & Leeson, and in 1896-97 William and Thomas merged their practices as W & T R Milburn. In the same year they began their association with the Moss Empires circuit by designing the South Shields Empire Palace for which Frank Matcham was consultant, the experience gained there making them the premier theatre firm in the north of England. On 4 January 1904 William and Thomas were both admitted FRIBA, their proposers being William Henry Knowles of Newcastle, John Gibson, also of Newcastle and Alfred William Stephens Cross of London.
The practice was Valuer to the Board of Guardians; Valuer to the Rating and Assessment Committee of Sunderland Corporation and architect to the Sunderland Co-operative Society.
In the following year, 1905, William's son William Junior, born 1885 (1886 in Earl & Sell) was admitted as an apprentice, having previously attended Armstrong College at Newcastle upon Tyne, 1902-05. While an apprentice he studied at the Sunderland Schools of Art & Technology, won the Saxon Snell prize in 1908, passed the qualifying in 1909 and was admitted ARIBA on 28 February 1910, his proposers being William Alfred Pite of London, George Thomas Brown of Sunderland and John Hall also of Sunderland. He won the Godwin bursary in 1910. By that date he had already travelled in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
William's younger brother, Stanley Wayman Milburn, born 1888, was educated at Durham University and apprenticed to his father and uncle, 1904-09 and remained as an assistant until 1912 when he became a partner. During that period he studied at the Sunderland Schools of Art and Technology and passed the qualifying exam, being admitted ARIBA on 3 March 1913, his proposers being George Thomas Brown of Sunderland, Henry Clement Charlewood of Newcastle upon Tyne and Hugh Taylor Decimus Hedley if Sunderland.
William Milburn Senior retired about 1931. He died in 1935, his brother Thomas on 5 December 1943. By that date the theatre side of the practice had come to an end with the Southampton Empire in 1929 and major alterations to the South Shields Empire in 1929 and at the Glasgow Empire in 1931 and the New (Apollo) Theatre in Oxford (with T P Bennett) in 1933. Thereafter the Milburns specialised in cinema design but they also had a large general practice. The firm divided in 1947 when Stanley left with one of the firm's assistants, William Eric Dow, to set up his own practice, S W Milburn & Partners. William Junior died in 1953 and Stanley in 1961.
The practice closed in 1990.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|20, Fawcett Street, Sunderland, County Durham, England||Business||1904 *|| || |
|17-18, Fawcett Street, Sunderland, County Durham, England||Business||Before 1932||After 1937|| |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
Employees or Pupils
Buildings and Designs
|This architectural practice was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Date started||Building name||Town, district or village||Island||City or county||Country||Notes|
|1921||Union Mill||Montrose|| ||Angus||Scotland||Conversion|
|1922||Coliseum Theatre|| || ||Glasgow||Scotland||Alterations|
|1927||Empire Palace Theatre|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Rebuilding of Matcham's theatre|
|1928||Empire Theatre|| || ||Glasgow||Scotland||Internal rebuilding of Matcham's theatre on larger scale and alterations to exterior|
|The following books contain references to this architectural practice:|
|British Architectural Library, RIBA||2001||Directory of British Architects 1834-1914|| || || |
|Johnson, Michael and Potts, Graham||2014||The Architecture of Sunderland 1700-1914|| ||The History Press|| |
|The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMS||Inventory of office drawings|| ||Information per Graham Potts|
|Tyne & Weir Archive||Milburn Papers DT.TRM|| || |