© All rights reserved. Building News 3 January 1890 

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Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Loughborough Pearson
Designation: Architect
Born: 5 July 1817
Died: 11 December 1897
Bio Notes: John Loughborough Pearson was born in Brussels on 5 July 1817, the grandson of William Pearson, topographical artist and son of a Durham lawyer. He was educated in Durham and articled to Ignatius Bonomi, the County Surveyor in 1831 with whom he remained until September 1841 when Bonomi took John Augustus Cory into partnership, ending Pearson's hope of inheriting Bonomi's practice.

Pearson then commenced practice on his own account in Durham but had little work and in January 1842 he left for Sunderland to assist George Pickering on a short-term basis. In the following month he moved to London first as assistant to Anthony Salvin for six months, and then as assistant to Philip and Charles Hardwick, both of whom became ill, leaving him with the responsibility of building New Hall, Lincolns Inn. Having made some Tractarian connections he commenced independent practice at Delahay Street, London in 1843. He made his reputation with Holy Trinity, Bessborough Gardens, Pimlico in 1849 but at that date his clients were mainly in Wales and the East Riding of Yorkshire. In the 1850s he resumed travelling on the continent, having made an early visit to Hamburg in 1836, his studies there having a marked effect on his practice, particularly in the design of vaulting. He was admitted FSA in 1853 and FRIBA on 5 March 1860.

On 5 June 1862 Pearson married Jemima Christian at Hampstead. She was the sister of the architect Joseph Henry Christian and cousin of Ewan Christian, a close friend of Pearson's. They lived in a combined house and office at 22 Harley Street to which he had moved in 1855 or 1856. They had one son, Frank Loughborough Pearson, born 14 January 1864. Jemima died of typhoid fever on 25 March 1865, their son being then sent to Cronkbourne, Isle of Man, to be brought up by her unmarried sister Sarah in the household of their married sister Hannah Moore.

In the aftermath of Jemima's death Pearson found it difficult to concentrate on work and the Sykes connection in the East Riding was lost to Street. In 1867 he moved house and office further along Harley Street to number 46. But in 1870 his practice picked up dramatically with his appointment as architect to Lincoln Cathedral, inaugurating a somewhat controversial career as a restorer of major churches, and in 1874 he was elected ARA. The commission for Truro Cathedral followed in 1878, and in the same year he was awarded the Gold Medal at the Paris International Exhibition of 1878 and made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. In the following year he was awarded a bronze medal at the Sydney International Exhibition, and in the year after that (1880) he was made Royal Golf Medallist and elected full academician.

In May 1881 Pearson moved to 13 Mansfield Street, a house by Robert Adam, but his health was severely affected by the deaths of William Andrews Nesfield, Dr Spreyers, Salvin and George Edmund Street with whom he had recuperated at St Gervais and Aix-les-Bains, and he began to depend increasingly on his assistant William Douglas Caröe to see his designs carried out. Frank Loughborough Pearson joined the office in 1881. He had been brought back from the Isle of Man in 1871 to attend Dr Spreyers' school at Halstain Lodge, Weybridge prior to being sent to Winchester. He had hoped to go to Cambridge and become a civil engineer, but was persuaded to become an architect because of the very long timescale of the building of Truro Cathedral. He had to undertake exceptional responsibilities very early as Caröe left in 1883 to become the partner of Pearson's brother-in-law Joseph Henry Christian, leaving John Ernest Newberry, only two years older than Frank, as the most experienced person in the office. Frank was formally taken into partnership in 1890.

The elder Pearson died of asthenia following an operation at Mansfield Street on 11 December 1897, leaving moveable estate of about £52,000. His only known Scottish assistant was William Leiper who was with him for about twelve months about 1861; John Thomson worked on the drawings for Truro, but apparently on a fee-paid part-time basis only.

Pearson's practice was continued by his son Frank who was admitted FRIBA on 11 June 1900, his proposers being Sir William Emerson, Caröe and Aston Webb. He subsequently moved the practice to 22 Ashley Place Westminster and died in retirement on 8 October 1947.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 413, Mansfield Street, London, EnglandPrivate   
Item 2 of 4Delahay Street, London, EnglandBusiness1843  
Item 3 of 422, Harley Street, London, EnglandPrivate/business1855 or 1856  
Item 4 of 446, Harley Street, London, EnglandPrivate/business1867  

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 5Ignatius Bonomi September 1841Assistant 
Item 2 of 5Ignatius Bonomi1831 Apprentice 
Item 3 of 5George PickeringJanuary 1842 Assistant 
Item 4 of 5Anthony SalvinMarch 1842 Assistant 
Item 5 of 5Philip Hardwickc. September 1842 Assistant 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 6Frank Loughborough Pearson  Assistant 
Item 2 of 6William Leiperc. 1859c. 1860Assistant 
Item 3 of 6William Douglas CaröeBefore 18801883Assistant 
Item 4 of 6James Thomas Irvine18841886Clerk of Works 
Item 5 of 6Frank Loughborough Pearson1890 Partner 
Item 6 of 6James Thomas Irvine18901897Clerk of Works 


RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 2William Leiper7 November 1881for Fellowship
Item 2 of 2Walter John Nash Millard16 March 1885for Associateship

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 5c. 1851St James the Great Episcopal ChurchDingwall Ross and CromartyScotlandDesign of church - James Ross as executant architect
Item 2 of 51861Trinity College Glenalmond, SanatoriumGlenalmond PerthshireScotland 
Item 3 of 51888Holy Trinity ChurchAyr AyrshireScotlandEast end built
Item 4 of 51890Sidney Sussex CollegeCambridge CambridgeshireEnglandSuperseded John James Stevenson
Item 5 of 51896St Ninian's Episcopal CathedralPerth PerthshireScotlandAlterations to choir, new reredos and south chapel, new chapter house - but died at the sketch plan stage, his son Frank taking over job.


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2Newberry, J E John Loughborough Pearsonv 1Architectural Review, pp1-11, 69-82 
Item 2 of 2Quiney, Anthony1979John Loughborough Pearson   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 7Ancient Monuments Society Transactions1992xxvi p1-12
Item 2 of 7Builder22 January 1889  Obituary of John L Pearson
Item 3 of 7Builder18 December 1897  Obituary of John L Pearson
Item 4 of 7Builder25 December 1897  Obituary of John L Pearson
Item 5 of 7RIBA JournalDecember 1897 London: Royal Institute of British Architectspp106, 112-113 Obituary of John L Pearson
Item 6 of 7RIBA JournalNovember 1947 London: Royal Institute of British ArchitectsObituary of Frank p39
Item 7 of 7The Times13 December 1897  Obituary of John L Pearson


© All rights reserved. Building News 3 January 1890 

© All rights reserved. Building News 3 January 1890