Charles Driver

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Charles Henry Driver
Abbey Mill Pumping station.JPG
Abbey Mill Pumping station
Born(1832-03-23)23 March 1832
Died27 October 1900(1900-10-27) (aged 68)
BuildingsLondon, Brighton and South Coast Railway stations, Thames Embankment and pumping stations

Charles Henry Driver FRIBA (23 March 1832 – 27 October 1900) was a significant British architect of the Victorian era, with a reputation for pioneering use of ornamental iron work for which he was seen as a leading authority. He was also an expert in its casting and manufacture[citation needed].

He started his career as a draughtsman in the office of Frank Foster, Engineer to the Commissioners of Sewers, London. In 1852 he was employed by Liddell and Gordon as a draughtsman, and he completed designs for bridges and stations for the Midland Railway on their Leicester and Hitchin Railway.

From 1857 he worked under Robert Jacomb-Hood in the Engineer's Office of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway including designs for their London Bridge terminus. In 1866 he provided designs for the Three Bridges to Tunbridge Wells Central Line stations.[1] In 1867 he provided the designs for Box Hill & Westhumble railway station[2] on the new Leatherhead to Dorking line.

In 1862 he provided a drinking fountain in Kennington Park.[3] In 1863 he submitted designs for Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral in Cork, but although his design was admired, he lost out to William Burges.[4]

From 1864 he assisted Sir Joseph Bazalgette with designs for the landing stages and masonry of the Thames Embankment, and for the Pumping-stations at Abbey Mills and Crossness.

Between 1869 he worked for the Crystal Palace company designing and building the Aquarium, Orangery, and repairing the Water Towers. He also pioneered the use of ornamental tile work in industrial interiors. Based on the success of the Crystal Palace aquarium, Driver won a contract in 1872 with the Council of the Vienna Exhibition for a permanent aquarium in Vienna.[5]

In 1872 he completed the Horton Infirmary at Banbury in Oxfordshire.[6]

From 1873 he worked with Sir James Brunlees and Alexander McKerrow on designs for King's Lynn Bridge, Clifton and other stations. He also worked on piers for Llandudno, Nice, and Southend-on-Sea

From 1882 he assisted Sir Douglas Fox and Francis Fox with designs for Preston Fishergate Hill railway station and for Southport railway station and others on the Cheshire lines extension.

From 1888 he assisted Edward Woods in preparing designs for Mercado Central de Santiago, and stations on the Buenos Aires and Ensenada Port Railway.

From 1894 to 1895, he assisted with designs for stations on the Tottenham and Forest Gate Railway.

He designed the West Pier Pavilion at Brighton, and was Architect for the stations (including the "Station of Light" in São Paulo, Brazil) on the São Paulo Railway.

He was also responsible for Dorking Town Hall, Dorking Waterworks, Dorking Union, many shops and houses in Dorking, Banbury Hospital, the late Sir Tatton Sykes and Ellesmere Memorials,[citation needed]. and the Mark Masons’ Hall in Great Queen Street.[citation needed].

He also painted oils and water colour pictures some of which survive.

He died on 27 October 1900[7] and is buried in West Norwood Cemetery, leaving an estate of about one million pounds, a massive sum.


  1. ^ "Opening of the Tunbridge Wells and East Grinstead Branch of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway". Sussex Advertiser. British Newspaper Archive. 3 October 1866. Retrieved 8 August 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  2. ^ "Opening of the Dorking and Letherhead Railway". Brighton Gazette. British Newspaper Archive. 21 March 1867. Retrieved 8 August 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  3. ^ "Drinking Fountain in Kennington Park". South London Chroncile. British Newspaper Archive. 31 May 1862. Retrieved 8 August 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  4. ^ "The Architectural Exhibition". Illustrated Times. British Newspaper Archive. 11 April 1863. Retrieved 8 August 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  5. ^ "Epitome of News British and Foreign". Tamworth Herald. British Newspaper Archive. 21 September 1872. Retrieved 8 August 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ "Miscellaneous". Merthyr Telegraph and General Advertiser for the Iron Districts of South Wales. British Newspaper Archive. 12 April 1872. Retrieved 8 August 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ "The Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers". 143. Institution of Civil Engineers. 1901.