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Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||George Edmund Street |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||20 June 1824 |
|Died: ||18 December 1881 |
|Bio Notes: ||George Edmund Street was born at Woodford, Essex on 20 June 1824, the son of Thomas Street, a London solicitor and his second wife Mary Anne Millington. He was educated at Mitchan and at Camberwell Collegiate School, but in 1839 his father retired taking the family to Crediton, Devon. Early in 1840 he was sent to London to train as a solicitor but in May his father died and he returned to live with his mother first at Crediton and then at Exeter. He took lessons in drawing and painting from an uncle by marriage, Thomas Haseler, in Taunton, and studied the medieval architecture of Devon. In the spring of 1841 he was articled to Haseler's cousin Owen Carter for two years only followed by a further year as an assistant. In 1844 Street's mother went to live at Lee with her eldest son Thomas Henry, a solicitor in the family firm, enabling Street to seek experience with George Gilbert Scott and his partner William Bonython Moffat. While with Scott and Moffat, Street and his brother Thomas travelled and sketched extensively in Sussex, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Yorkshire and Cumbria. In 1845 he joined the Ecclesiological Society to which he was to contribute papers from 1848 until 1863. |
In 1847 while still an employee of Scott's Street was commissioned to design a new church at Biscovey in Cornwall. This was followed by other Cornwall commissions enabling him to set up his own office in London in 1849, but in 1850 through the influence of a client the Rev William Butler, the Vicar of Wantage, he was appointed architect to the Diocese of Oxford and moved office first to Wantage and then Oxford where in May 1852 he married Mariquita Proctor and took Edmund Sedding as assistant. The appointment of Philip Webb followed two years later in 1854.
In 1850 Street travelled in France the first of many visits to the Continent; and in the following year and again in 1854 he toured northern Germany and published in 'The Ecclesiologist'; and in 1855 he published the hugely influential 'Brick and Marble in the Middle Ages: Notes of a Tour in the North of Italy', based on his extensive tour there in 1853. In 1855-56 he entered the international competition for the new cathedral at Lille, coming second to Henry Clutton and William Burges, the executed building being an amalgam of the two designs concocted by a previously unsuccessful competitor based in Lille.
In 1856 Street returned to London and was appointed architect for the Crimea church in Constantinople, as the winning design by Burges could not be made to fit the site. His practice was essentially an ecclesiastical and collegiate one with commissions for churches as far afield as Paris, Vevey, Lausanne, Genoa and Rome until he was appointed architect for the London Law Courts in 1868 following an unsatisfactory competition in which he had been invited to take part. Street had particularly good connections in Yorkshire through the patronage of the Sykes family and in Aberdeenshire, initially through the Earl of Crawford & Balcarres's additions to Dunecht begun in 1867, although the Rev Frederick George Lee may have obtained a sketch design from him for St Mary's Carden Place, Aberdeen some years earlier. In the limited competition for St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral Edinburgh in 1872 his design was recommended by the assessor, Euan Christian, but the actual appointment went to George Gilbert Scott.
In 1861- 63 Street made a series of study tours of Spain which resulted in his major book 'Some account of Gothic architecture in Spain', published in 1865, but from about 1870 onwards the sources of his architecture were more English than continental and at Marlborough College he even experimented with 'Queen Anne' in deference to the original buildings there. Street was elected ARA in 1866 and a full Academician in 1871, becoming the Academy's Professor of Architecture in 1880. He was Royal Gold Medallist in 1874 and was appointed a Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur in 1878. His last two years were, however, clouded by personal tragedy and official harassment from the First Commissioner of Works, Acton Smee Ayrton. His first wife died following a tour of France and Switzerland in October 1874; in January 1876 he married Jessie Holland, but the marriage only lasted eight weeks as she died of a fever during a study tour in Rome.
Street commenced his RA lectures in the Spring of 1881 but in the summer he began to suffer from severe headaches. He died of a stroke on 18 December of that year. The practice was continued by his son Arthur Edmund Street who published his lectures as an appendix to his Memoir.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|33, Montague Place, London, England||Business||1856||1863|| |
|5, Russell Square, London, England||Business||1863||After 1870|| |
Employment and Training
Employees or Pupils
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|British Architectural Library, RIBA||2001||Directory of British Architects 1834-1914|| || || |
|Brownlee, David B||1984||G E Street and the Royal Courts of Justice|| || || |
|King, Georgiana Goddard||1916||Unpublished notes and reprinted papers|| ||Hispanic Society of America, no 100|| |
|Street, A E||1888||Memoir of George Edmund Street, RA|| || || |
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Builder||31 December 1881|| || ||Report of funeral (not obituary)|
|RIBA Journal||11 November 1916|| ||London: Royal Institute of British Architects||By Walter J N Millard pp13, pp17-24|
|RIBA Journal||February 1918|| ||London: Royal Institute of British Architects||By Walter J N Millard p97|
|RIBA Transactions||between 1883 and 4|| || ||By A J Beresford Hope|
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