Francis Octavius Bedford

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Francis Octavius Bedford
Former St George's Church, Wells Way, Camberwell, London (IoE Code 471458).JPG
Born 1784
Died 1858
Nationality English

Francis Octavius Bedford (1784–1858) was an English architect.


In 1812-13 Francis Bedford made a tour of Greece, Turkey, Italy and Sicily in the company of Sir William Gell, Keppel Craven and John Peter Gandy, recording Classical antiquities on behalf of the Society of Dilettanti. He is also known to have corresponded with Charles Robert Cockerell on the subject of Greek architecture.[1][2]

In 1818 Bedford came second to William and Henry Inwood in the competition to design St Pancras New Church[3]

Bedford was the architect of four south London Greek revival commissioner's churches: St George, Camberwell (1822-4),[4] St John, Waterloo Road, Lambeth, (1823-4),[5] St Luke, West Norwood, (1823–25) and Trinity Church, Newington, Southwark,(1823-4).[6] At St John, Waterloo Road and St George, Camberwell, Bedford used the Doric order with a portico at the west end. He chose an unusual variant of the order, based on that of the Choragic monument of Thrasyllus in Athens, with myrtle wreaths replacing the triglyphs on the frieze.[7] His other two South London churches used the Corinthian order, although one contemporary critic said the version used at St. Luke's was so bare of ornamentation, that, to the unpractised eye it more resembled the Ionic.[8]

All four have a portico with a tower just behind it, after the pattern of St Martin-in-the-Fields. At Holy Trinity (now the Henry Wood Hall), standing in the southern part of a square, Bedford varied the formula by placing the portico against the long north side of the nave.[9][10] The interiors had flat ceilings and galleries supported on columns although St Luke's was originally built with a gallery at the west end only.[11] Reviewing St John, Waterloo Road, in 1827 the Gentleman's Magazine commented:

After the description of St. George's Church, Camberwell... it will be unnecessary to go into a minute detail of the present edifice. The monotony of Mr. Bedford's designs has already been noticed under the head of that building, as well as Trinity Church, Newington.[11]

Bedford later used the Gothic style for churches, at St Mary-the-Less, Lambeth,[12] St George, Newcastle-under-Lyme (1828),[13] Holy Trinity, Little Queen Street Holborn (1829–31)[14] and St James, Ridding, Derbyshire (1832).[15] In 1849 he built, or rebuilt, a stuccoed House for Richard Arabin at High Beach, Essex.[16]

He exhibited drawings of Greek architecture at the Royal Academy between 1814 and 1817, and designs for Trinity Church, St. Giles's and A Chapel for a Cemetery in 1831 and 1832 respectively.[17]

He died at his home at Greenhithe, Kent on 13 March 1858.[18] His son Francis Bedford was a notable photographer, and his grandson Francis Donkin Bedford was an artist and book illustrator.


Gallery of architectural work[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Summerson, John (1962). Georgian London. Penguin Books. p. 224. 
  2. ^ "British Architectural Library Catalogue". Retrieved 30 May 2011. 
  3. ^ 'St. Pancras Church', Survey of London: volume 24: The parish of St Pancras part 4: King’s Cross Neighbourhood (1952), pp. 1-9. [1] accessed: 31 May 2011.
  4. ^ English Heritage. "Details from listed building database (471458)". Images of England. 
  5. ^ English Heritage. "Details from listed building database (204772)". Images of England. 
  6. ^ English Heritage. "Details from listed building database (47149)". Images of England. 
  7. ^ Allen, Thomas (1827). The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Lambeth. London: J. Allen. p. 291. 
  8. ^ Allen, Thomas (1827). The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Lambeth. London: J.Allen. p. 430. 
  9. ^ Jones, Edward; Woodward, Christopher (1992). A Guide to the Architecture of London (2nd ed.). London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson. p. 285. 
  10. ^ English Heritage. "Details from listed building database (471419)". Images of England. 
  11. ^ a b "New Churches.—No. XII. St. John's Church, Waterloo Road, Lambeth.". The Gentleman's magazine 141: 393–5. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Sir Howard Roberts and Walter H. Godfrey (editors) (1951). "Black Prince Road and Doris Street". Survey of London: volume 23: Lambeth: South Bank and Vauxhall. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  13. ^ English Heritage. "Details from listed building database (385967)". Images of England. 
  14. ^ "New Churches.— No. XXXIII. Trinity Church, Little-queen-st. Holborn,". The Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle CII: 9–10. 1832. 
  15. ^ English Heritage. "Details from listed building database (79087)". Images of England. 
  16. ^ Bettley, James; Nikolaus, Pevsner (2007). Essex. Buildings of England. Yale University Press. p. 489. ISBN 978-0-300-11614-4. 
  17. ^ Graves, Algernon (1905). A Dictionary of Contributors and their work from its foundation in 1769 to 1904 1. London: Henry Graves and George Bell. p. 157. 
  18. ^ "Obituary". TheGentleman's Magazine: 455. 1858. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  19. ^ "Parish Churches - Church of England". Peckham History. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  20. ^ "Waterloo, St John the Evangelist". The Diocese of Southwark. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  21. ^ "History of Henry Wood Hall". Henry Wood Hall. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  22. ^ "History: The Church Building". St Luke's Church, West Norwood. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  23. ^ "Church of Holy Trinity, Horwich", British Listed Buildings, retrieved 18 June 2010