James Brooks (architect)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

James Brooks (1825–1901) was an English Gothic Revival architect.


Brooks was born near Wantage, Berkshire, in 1825. In about 1847 he was articled to the London architect Lewis Stride. He attended Thomas Leverton Donaldson's lectures at University College, London, and enrolled as a student at the Royal, Academy Schools. He set up in practice in about 1852,[1]

He was architect to the Diocesan Society of Canterbury, and a consulting architect to the Incorporated Society for Building Churches.[1] He became a fellow of the Royal Society of British Architects in 1866, and was its vice-president from 1892–96. He received its Royal Gold Medal in 1895.[1]

He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1853 and 1899; from 1894 as "James Brooks and Sons".[2] His address is given in the Academy catalogues as 6 Bloomsbury Street between 1853 and 1862; 11, Serle Street, Lincoln's Inn, between 1871 and 1875, and 35 Wellington Street, Strand from 1876.[2] He lived, however, for much of this time at The Grange in Stoke Newington (now numbered 42, Clissold Crescent), a red-brick house built to his own design in 1862.[3]

Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo was his pupil[4]

East London churches[edit]

St Columba's, church, Haggerston

Brooks attracted attention early in his career for several large brick-built churches in East London: St. Michael and All Angels, Shoreditch, St Saviour, Hoxton, St. Columba, Haggerston and St. Chad, Haggerston[5]

The last two churches were built as part of the Haggerston Church scheme, which had been set up in 1860, on the initiative of the vicar of St Mary's, the parish church. St Mary's had been designed John Nash in the Gothic style of his time. The first initiative of the scheme was create a chancel and sanctuary of the kind held to be suitable for modern high church ideas of religious ritual. Brooks was brought in to do the work and, according to T. Francis Bumpus, "the boldness with which he grappled with such a monster as Nash's structure won him much praise. It was one of his earliest works, and its cleverness and originality brought him into public notice."[6]

Money was then raised for new churches, and four new parishes were created in Haggerston, and provided with temporary buildings three of which were soon superseded by permanent buildings, dedicated to three British missionary saints: Augustine, Chad and Columba, and completed by the summer of 1869. Brooks designed the last two.[6]

The East London churches were intended for mission work in poor, crowded areas, and built on restricted budgets.[7] The Church Builder said of them

They are spacious in plan, affording ample accommodation for the estimated congregations, and an almost lavish supply of room besides in unseated aisles and transepts. They are all also of unusual height. Their effect is obtained partly by this spaciousness and height, partly by the fine proportions of all the parts, partly by a bold, severe dignity in the style of design.[8]

They were characterised by their broad naves with narrow aisles; transepts which projected hardly, if at all beyond the aisle walls, and brick vaulted chancels with north and south aisles. The exteriors were plain and unbuttressed, in red brick with stone sparingly used for window dressings and plate tracery, and for occasional bands of relief.[9] Another East London church, St Andrew, Plaistow, was similar in conception, but faced in stone.[5]

Brooks tended to use stilted arches, and employed a distinctive type of lierne vault in his chancel, in which the vaults themselves were brick and the ribs stone.[9]

Secular architecture[edit]

Once he had established his reputation as an ecclesiastical architect he built few secular works. An exception was the South Eastern Hotel at Deal in Kent (1894), an asymmetric Renaissance Dutch-style building, in red brick with stone dressings.[10] He showed drawings for the hotel at the Royal Academy in 1893.[2]


St Luke, Browning Road, Enfield
  • School, Hart Street, Henley (1856).[11]
  • Framland, Challow Road Wantage. A house for Judge J. Mackonockie (1862).[12]
  • The Grange, Stoke Newington (1862). Brooks' own house, now numbered 42, Clissold Crescent.[3]
  • St Michael the Archangel, Shoreditch (1863–66).[13] Now an architectural salvage warehouse.[14]
  • St Saviour, Hoxton (1864–66).[13] Destroyed.
  • St Columba, Haggerston (1867–69),[13] with "The Sisters' House" (1898).[15]
  • St Chad, Haggerston (1867–69).[13] with a vicarage of 187[16]
  • St Andrew, Barking Road, Plaistow (opened 1870).[17]
  • Church of the Annunciation, Chislehurst (1868–70).[18]
  • St Saviour, Mortomley, Yorkshire (1869–72).[13]
  • All Saints, Perry Street, Northfleet(1867–71).[13]
  • School, Nutton Road, Wolstanton (1871).[19]
  • Rectory, Maiseyhampton, Gloucestershire (c.1872).[20]
  • St John the Baptist, Holland Road, Kensington (foundation stone laid 1872, completed after many changes of plan, by JD Adkins in 1911).[21]
  • Extensions to Humewood Castle, Kiltegan, County Wicklow (1873–77), for William Wentworth Fitzwilliam Hume Dick. Humewood Castle is a Gothic Revival mansion built in 1867 to a design by William White;[22] Brooks added an extra storey on the north wing, and a circular tower at end of stable block.[23]
  • South aisle of the church at Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow and the adjoining Hume Mausoleum (1875).[24]
  • St James, Marston Meysey, Wiltshire (1874–76).[13]
  • The Ascension, Lavender Hill, Battersea (1876; taken over by J.T. Micklewhite and Somers Clarke in 1882, completed by them in 1898)).[25]
  • St Modoc's Episcopal Church, George Street, Doune, Scotland (1877).[26]
  • Church of the Transfiguration (later St Barnabus), Algernon Road Lewisham (1881).[27]
  • Stables and coach house for the Marquis of Londonderry, Brick Street, Westminster.[28]
  • St Michael, Coppenhall (Chancel 1883, the nave by J. Brooks, Son and Adkins, 1907–10).[29]
  • St Peter, St Leonards-on Sea, Sussex (1885).[30]
  • St Andrew, Willesden (1885–92),[13] and vicarage (1889)[31]
  • All Saints, Prittlewell, Southend (1886–91).[13]
  • Holy Innocents Hammersmith (1886–91).[13]
  • St Mary, Hornsey (1887–89).[13] Demolished.
  • St Peter and St. Paul, St Alphege Road, Charlton, near Dover, Kent (1891–93).[13][32]
  • St Chad, Wybunbury, Cheshire (1891–93).[13] Demolished.[33]
  • All Hallows, Savernake Road, Gospel Oak. Originally the Church of the Good Shepherd (1892–1914).[34][35]
  • St Peter, Hornsey (1896–98).[13]
  • St Luke, Browning Road, Enfield (1897–1900 and 1905–6).[13]
  • St Mary and St Chad, Longton, Staffordshire (1898). Additions by JD Adkins, 1910, remodelled in the 1980s.[36]


  1. ^ a b c "The Late James Brooks". Journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects: 504. 1901. 
  2. ^ a b c Graves, Algernon (1905). The Royal Academy: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors from its Foundations in 1769 to 1904. 1. London: Henry Graves. pp. 500 –1. 
  3. ^ a b "Stoke Newington: Growth: from 1940". A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 8: Islington and Stoke Newington Parishes. 1985. pp. 160–163. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Davey, Peter. Arts and Crafts Architecture. Oxford: Phaidon. 
  5. ^ a b "Mr Brooks's Churches". The Architect. 4: 109. 20 August 1870. 
  6. ^ a b Bumpus, T. Francis. London Churches Ancient and Modern. Second Series: Classical and Modern. London: T. Werner Laurie. pp. 130 –3. 
  7. ^ Eastlake 1872, p.363
  8. ^ Quoted in "Mr Brooks's Churches". The Architect. 4: 109. 20 August 1870. 
  9. ^ a b "LIII.— SATURDAY, MAY 13, 1882. Visit to some Churches designed by James Brooks, Esq., F.R.I.B.A.". Transactions of the St. Paul's Ecclesiological Society. 1. 1882. 
  10. ^ "Queens Hotel, Deal". British Listed Buildings. 
  11. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (246173)". Images of England. 
  12. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (251147)". Images of England. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "'BROOKS, James: b. 1825 - d. 1901 of London". church plansonline. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  14. ^ "Site Unseen: St Michael and All Angels, Shoreditch". London: The Independent. 14 October 1994. 
  15. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (424253)". Images of England. 
  16. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (423955)". Images of England. 
  17. ^ W.R.Powell (editor) (1973). "West Ham: Churches". A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  18. ^ Cherry and Pevsner, p.175
  19. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (385948)". Images of England. 
  20. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (129079)". Images of England. 
  21. ^ F. H. W. Sheppard (General Editor) (1973). "The Holland estate: Since 1874". Survey of London: volume 37: Northern Kensington. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  22. ^ "Humewood Castle, Kiltegan, County Wicklow". Buildings of Ireland. Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  23. ^ "Selected: BROOKS, JAMES". Dictionary of Irish Architects. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  24. ^ "1875 – Hume Mausoleum, Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow". archiseek. Retrieved 24 September 2013. , showing a drawing published in the Building News for 12 November 1875.
  25. ^ Cherry and Pevsner, p.667
  26. ^ "Site Record for Doune, George Street". RCAHMS. 
  27. ^ Cherry and Pevsner, p.413
  28. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (433548)". Images of England. 
  29. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (56691)". Images of England. 
  30. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (294071)". Images of England. 
  31. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (198783)". Images of England. 
  32. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (446143)". Images of England. 
  33. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (57020)". Images of England. 
  34. ^ "Additional Churches". Survey of London: Volume 24: The Parish of St Pancras part 4: King’s Cross Neighbourhood. 1952. pp. 140–6. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  35. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (477992)". Images of England. 
  36. ^ "Churches and Chapels of North Staffordshire An Architectural and Historical Review" (PDF). The Architectural History Practice for English Heritage and the Diocese of Lichfield. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 


Cherry, Bridget; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1990) [1983]. London 2: South. The Buildings of England. London: Penguin Books.