George Allen Underwood

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George Allen Underwood (1793 – 1 November 1829, Bath) was an architect in Cheltenham.

He was a pupil of Sir John Soane from 1807 to 1815 and then started his own practice in Cheltenham. He was Surveyor for Somerset, Dorset and the Dean and Chapter of Wells before moving to Bath in the 1820s.

Among the buildings in Cheltenham he designed were the Montpellier Spa (1817), Sherborne Spa (1818, demolished 1938), Cheltenham Masonic Hall (1818-1823), Holy Trinity Church (1820-1822) and the Plough Hotel (before 1826, demolished 1982 to build the Regent Arcade).

His other works include enlarging Beaminster Manor (1822) and rebuilding Ashwick Church (1825).

His brothers Charles and Henry were also architects.

In regard to Cheltenham Masonic Hall this building is reputed to be the world's first purpose built provincial Masonic Hall after London's Grand Lodge. Presently it is 'home' to 10 Masonic orders and 12 masonic side orders and houses a Gentleman's organ, played most days, from the late 17oo's. Brethren of Foundation Lodge 82, constituted 1753 were responsible for its construction and initiated Brother Underwood just prior to his design for the Hall which cost £4,000.00 to build. It was financed by £25.00 shares and is now run by the Cheltenham Masonic Association. It is the only public building in Cheltenham, other than ecclesiastical still used for the purpose for which it was designed

References[edit]

  • Dyke - History of Foundation Lodge 1753 to 1965
  • H.M. Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840 (1997) ISBN 0-300-07207-4