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Basic Biographical Details

Name: Edward La Trobe Bateman
Designation: Architect
Born: 8 January 1816
Died: 30 December 1897
Bio Notes: Edward La Trobe Bateman was born at Lower Wyke, Halifax on 8 January 1816 the son of John Bateman, a financially unsuccessful inventor (described as 'manufacturer' in Edward's baptismal record) and his wife Mary Agnes, daughter of Benjamin La Trobe, Moravian missionary and granddaughter of Benjamin La Trobe Senior (1728-86), head of the Moravian congregation in England: the English-American architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe [sic] and the English-German composer John Frederick La Trobe were her uncles. Edward was baptised in Lower Wyke Moravian church; his brothers John Frederick (b.1810, who did not adopt his mother's surname until later in life), Christian Henry (b.1913), and his sister Anna Justina were all baptised in the same church (b.1908). Frederick was to become a very distinguished water engineer, responsible for Glasgow's Loch Katrine scheme in 1852-9. A third brother, Henry, was a hymnologist. They were educated at Moravian schools.

Edward La Trobe Bateman entered into partnership with William Reid Corson in Leeds c.1848, both partners having spent a period working for Owen Jones on Little Woodhouse in 1847. In 1849 they were joined by Corson's brother George, but in the same year Bateman left Leeds for London, leaving the Corsons in charge of the office.

In London, Bateman became acquainted with the sculptor Thomas Woolner and the painters John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and worked for Owen Jones on his chromo-lithographical books and on the Fine Arts Court of the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851. At that date Bateman lived at The Hermitage in Highgate, to which he made some alterations, and had an independent practice in illuminated missals and the design and manufacture of rustic furniture.

In 1850 Bateman became engaged to Anna Mary, daughter of the writers William and Mary Howitt, on the eve of her departure for Munich, where she was to study art, but in June 1852 William Howitt left for the goldfields in Australia, where Bateman's cousin once removed (his mother's first cousin) Charles Joseph La Trobe was lieutenant-governor. A month later, in July, Bateman, Woolner and Bernhard Smith also set off for the goldfields, Bateman transferring to Howitt's party after his arrival.

Anna Mary Howitt broke her engagement to Bateman in 1853. William Howitt returned to England in 1854, but Bateman remained close to the Howitts, apparently living with Dr Godfrey Howitt at Collins Street, Melbourne and Barragunda, Cape Schank, where he appears to have remodelled the garden. He had an extremely successful career as an illustrator, muralist and garden designer, and, according to later accounts, laid out the Botanic Gardens, the Treasury Gardens and Fitzroy Gardens, all in Melbourne.

Bateman had no formal training as an architect. He has been credited with the design of the neo-medieval houses at Barragunda and Heronswood at Dromana, but the former was built by the architects Joseph Reed and Barnes, probably from Bateman sketch-designs.

On 13 September 1867 Bateman was badly injured in a buggy accident while on a three-year contract to landscape Chatsworth in the Western District for John Moffat. This resulted in his right hand being so badly injured that he had to learn to draw with his left. After lawsuits arising from this accident he returned to Britain and was appointed landscape gardener to the 3rd Marquess of Bute at Mount Stuart, Bute. There he lived in an old Rothesay schoolhouse which was renamed The Hermitage and remodelled to his designs with an extensive landscaped garden. While on Bute he had a private practice, and may have had some hand in St Mary's Episcopal Church, Glen Creran, where his brother the Rev J Henry Latrobe [sic] Bateman 'devised the fabric'.

In person Bateman was tall and lanky, described as 'odd-looking' with long red hair and beard: he had 'gentle but determined ways, and picturesquely humorous denunciation of inartistic things'. He died at The Hermitage, Rothesay on 30 December 1897.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 5Leeds, Yorkshire, EnglandBusinessBefore 18481849 
Item 2 of 5London, EnglandBusiness1849  
Item 3 of 5The Hermitage, Highgate, London, EnglandPrivate1851 *  
Item 4 of 5AustraliaPrivate/businessMid 1852  
Item 5 of 5The Hermitage, Rothesay, Bute, ScotlandPrivateAfter 186730 December 1897 

* 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 2Owen Jones1847 * Assistant 
Item 2 of 2Bateman & Corsonc. 18481849Partner 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 71847Little WoodhouseLeeds YorkshireEnglandAs assistant to Owen Jones
Item 2 of 71850Crystal Palace, Great Exhibition, Fine Arts Court  LondonEnglandAs assistant to Owen Jones
Item 3 of 7After 1854Barragunda, neo-medieval housesCape Shank VictoriaAustralia 
Item 4 of 7After 1854HeronswoodDromana VictoriaAustralia 
Item 5 of 7After 1867Mount StuartRothesay (near)ButeButeScotlandLandscaping work
Item 6 of 71870sAscog Hall, fernery and landscapingRothesayButeButeScotland 
Item 7 of 7c. 1885The HermitageRothesayButeButeScotlandRemodelling and extension (conversion to house)


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 5Australian Dictionary of Biography Australian Dictionary of Biography  Entry on Edward La Trobe Bateman by Daniel Thomas
Item 2 of 5Binnie, G M1981Early Victorian Water Engineers   
Item 3 of 5Howitt, William1855Land, Labour, and Gold   
Item 4 of 5Saunders, D1966Historic Buildings of Melbourne Melbourne 
Item 5 of 5Woolner, A1917Thomas Woolner RA London 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1The Times3 January 1898  Obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Lower Wyke Moravian Church Baptismal recordsInformation courtesy of Pauline Scott Sent October 2009
Item 2 of 2State Library of New South WalesGeorge Gordon McCrae, letters to Tom Roberts, June 1927  


© All rights reserved. Courtesy of National Archives of Australia 

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of National Archives of Australia