Basic Biographical Details

Name: Cuthbert Welby Pugin
Designation: Architect
Born: 1840
Died: March 1928
Bio Notes: Cuthbert Welby Pugin was born in 1840, the son of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin and his second wife Louisa Burton. When his father died in September 1852 he was aged twelve. The practice was then taken over by Augustus's third wife Jane Knill and her stepson Edward Welby Pugin, born in London on 11 March 1834, Augustus's eldest son by his second wife Louisa Burton. Edward had been brought up in his father's office and was 'his right hand man' by the age of sixteen and kept the practice going through his father's periodic fits of madness from February 1852 onwards. The sole beneficiary of his father's will was, however, his third wife, Jane Knill, and on the advice of the stained-glass manufacturer John Hardman Powell who had married Pugin's eldest daughter Anne, Jane Pugin moved both household and practice to Birmingham partly to be near their main patron the 17th Earl of Shrewsbury, but in 1856 the Earl died. The Pugin family resettled in Gordon Square, London, in the same year becoming sufficiently prosperous to resume full occupation of the Grange at Ramsgate by 1861.

In 1857 Edward opened a branch office in Liverpool and formed a partnership with the Irishman James Murray, who had already been practising there. In 1860 he formed a second partnership with his brother-in-law George Coppinger Ashlin and opened a Dublin office for Irish work. The Murray partnership was, however, dissolved in 1860, Murray thereafter practising on his own account until his early death, and in 1862 Edward merged his practice with that of the older and well-established Joseph Aloysius Hansom. That partnership closed acrimoniously in the following year.

Edward Pugin was admitted FRIBA on 16 June 1862. Two years earlier in 1860 he had founded the South East Furniture Company to manufacture his designs, the management of it being largely in the hands of his brother Cuthbert. The break-up of his partnership with Ashlin in 1869 may have been related to a much more high-risk business venture, the Granville Hotel at Ramsgate, a vast hotel and hydropathic complex. This failed in 1873 leaving Pugin bankrupt with liabilities of 187,000. He left for the United States where he quickly obtained commissions for some thirty churches and a monastery in Cuba. The English and Scottish work in hand was continued by his brothers Cuthbert Welby and Peter Paul (born in 1851 to Jane Knill), both of whom had been assisting him since the 1860s and had recently been taken into partnership, the practice becoming Pugin & Pugin.

Edward Pugin died suddenly on 5 June 1875 as a result of overwork and 'injudicious use of chloral hydrate'. He was unmarried and the main responsibility for the practice passed to his brother Peter Paul, Cuthbert being principally concerned with the furniture making and furnishing side of the family business. Although Peter Paul's offices remained in London and Liverpool, the practice was largely Scottish through Charles Eyre. Eyre came of a landed Northumbrian family and had been a parish priest at Pugin's church at Newcastle; Stephen Eyre, one of Edward Pugin's clerk of works, was probably a relative. Charles Eyre was appointed administrator of the Catholic church in the Glasgow area from 1869 and Archbishop of Glasgow when the Catholic hierarchy was re-created in 1878. Although his earlier churches were strongly influenced by his father and brothers, by the 1880s he had developed a very recognisable curvilinear Gothic style, usually in red sandstone with elaborate altarpieces in coloured marbles.

Peter Paul Pugin married the third daughter of the Catholic builder John Bird of Hammersmith in 1886. They had five children, but none entered the practice. Peter Paul died in March 1904, the firm being continued by his nephew Sebastian Pugin Powell, born in 1866, the son of John Hardman Powell. He became a member of the firm in 1884, Cuthbert having withdrawn in 1880 to run the family's furniture workshops. It is not clear at what date he became a partner.

Cuthbert lived on in retirement at Ramsgate until March 1928. Sebastian Pugin Powell died in 1949, but the practice was continued by his cousin Charles Henry Cuthbert Powell, born 1874, until his death in 1958.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 6London, EnglandPrivate18401852Place of birth
Item 2 of 6Birmingham, EnglandPrivate18521856 
Item 3 of 6Gordon Square, London, EnglandPrivate1856  
Item 4 of 625, Savile Row, London, EnglandBusiness1868 *  
Item 5 of 6Victoria Street, London, EnglandBusinessc. 18701880 
Item 6 of 6Ramsgate, Kent, EnglandPrivateAfter 18801928 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 2Edward Welby PuginEarly 1860s(?)Early 1870sAssistant 
Item 2 of 2Pugin & PuginEarly 1870s1880Partner 

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 51877St Mary RC ChurchCleland LanarkshireScotland 
Item 2 of 51878Franciscan Church and FriaryHutchesontown GlasgowScotlandChurch built (perhaps still involved?)
Item 3 of 51878St Benedict's AbbeyFort Augustus Inverness-shireScotlandCompleted conversion by Hansom including Abbey Church - also tower in east block, great staircase, chapter house etc added
Item 4 of 51880Benedictine Convent of the Perpetual Adoration, Corbelly HillDumfries DumfriesshireScotlandMain buildings and chapel (and reredos)
Item 5 of 5Before 1890RC PresbyteryMaryhill GlasgowScotland 


Currently, there are no references for this architect. The information has been derived from: the British Architectural Library / RIBA Directory of British Architects 1834-1914; Post Office Directories; and/or any sources listed under this individual's works.