William Henry Ansell
|William Henry Ansell
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
|Died||11 February 1959
West Ham, London, England
|Occupation||architect and engraver|
Ansell was born in Nottingham in 1872 the son of Henry George and Catherine Ansell. His father was a grocer, and Ansell was educated at Derby School. He was articled to a firm of architects in Derby and began his own architectural practice in London in the year 1900. In 1902, he married Florence Leman, of Chipping Norton. As well as designing buildings, Ansell was also an etcher of architectural subjects.
In 1914 Ansell designed a new Temple of Humanity for the Positivists at Upper Parliament Street, Liverpool, built in brick with patterns in tiles. It has a five-bay nave with narrow aisles, a chancel with a canted apse, and a projecting organ loft. The clerestory has Diocletian windows and there is a baldachino with Byzantine columns. Now a Grade II listed building, in 2012 it was in use by the Church of Christ, Scientist.
After the War, Ansell returned to his profession. Although not showing notable originality, he designed elegant buildings with modest dignity, specializing in hospitals and convalescent homes. In 1928 he was elected as President of the Architectural Association School of Architecture. He chaired the Board of Architectural Education from 1931 to 1933, then was Vice-President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 1933 to 1935, and finally was elected President of RIBA in 1940, continuing until 1943. He led his profession through the most difficult years of the Second World War and was unanimously elected as President for a third year, which had only rarely happened before. He also served as Vice-Chairman of the National Buildings Record, a body created in 1940 to record significant buildings threatened by enemy bombing.
Ansell had married Florence Leman in 1902, she died in 1946. Ansell died on 11 February 1959.
Ansell's designs for buildings constructed include:
- Hospitals: Westbury, Sevenoaks
- Country houses in Surrey, Derbyshire, and Devon
- Churches in Liverpool, London, and Suffolk
- New head office for the National Deposit Friendly Society, London
- New head Office for the Butchers' Charitable Institution, Hounslow
- Convalescent Homes at Skegness, St Margaret's Bay, Everleigh, and Banstead, Surrey
- Sanatorium at Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk
- Commander of the Order of the British Empire, 1955
- Honorary ARE, United States
- Member of Master Art Workers Guild, 1944
- James P. Cramer, Jennifer Evans Yankopolus, eds., Almanac of Architecture & Design 2006 (2005), p. 301
- ‘ANSELL, William Henry’, in Who Was Who 1951–1960 (London: A. & C. Black, 1984 reprint, ISBN 0-7136-2598-8)
- Joseph Sharples, Richard Pollard, Liverpool (Pevsner Architectural Guides), New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-300-10258-5, p. 245
- THIRD CHURCH OF CHRIST SCIENTIST, UPPER PARLIAMENT STREET at english-heritage.org.uk, accessed 7 December 2013
- William Henry Ansell at bbc.co.uk/arts/, accessed 7 December 2013