John Young (architect)

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John Young
John Young (1797-1877) English architect and surveyor, c.1870.tiff
John Young at 70
Died23 March 1877 (aged 79)
OccupationArchitect, surveyor
Known forThe Cancer Hospital, Brompton, London, 23–25 Eastcheap, London City of London surveyor

John Young (1797 – 23 March 1877) was an English architect and surveyor whose career spanned the grace of the Regency period and the pragmatism of the Industrial Revolution. While based primarily in the City of London, his practice, John Young & Son, Architects, was both eclectic and wide-ranging in South East England. He is particularly noted for his creative use of polychromatic brickwork whether in industrial, civic or residential contexts.

Early career[edit]

Nothing is known about his early life in Suffolk, save that he was a Catholic,[1] until Young came to London at the age of twenty two and became assistant to the ageing William Porden. He next assisted the prolific architectural prodigy and member of Nash's circle, Decimus Burton, by preparing in 1823 the drawings for the London Colosseum in Regent's Park and supervising the framing of the dome. A period followed in the employ of Thomas Cubitt creating the houses in Eaton Square and the Pimlico Estate. His own practice opened at 46 Clarges Street, Piccadilly.[2][3] In 1828 he published a book of 'Shopfronts, Porticos and Entrances ...',[4][5] which would have served as a catalogue of the time. On 1 January 1828 he married Caroline Pettis at St. George's, Hanover Square.[6] By 1830, the first of their nine children, John Edgar who would later join his practice, was born.

City Surveyor[edit]

1862 signature in stone relief of Young & Son

He was Principal Assistant to William Montague, Clerk of the City's Works at the Guildhall and on his death, appointed by the Corporation of London locum tenens Clerk. He was subsequently District Surveyor of the Eastern Division of the City for twenty five years. If not destined for celebrity status in the architectural profession, his reputation as a highly skilled and safe pair of hands, meant the Lindsay family's solicitor insisted he supervise the three architects, including Lewis Vulliamy, building their luxury residence at 10 Grosvenor Square.[7] He was, however, photographed by society photographer, Henry Maull. Alongside survey work, Young moved his practice, John Young & Son, Architects to 35 King Street, Cheapside. Immediately prior to 1843 when Young built his family home in Stoke Newington,[8][9] the family are known to have lived in Thomas Cubitt's Albion Road in North London.


Brompton Cancer Hospital, Kensington, London;
Polychromatic brick and stucco house (1865) in Empress Place, the house where composer William Hurlstone was born in 1876

By 1845 he was architect and surveyor to the City and Camden Town (Birmingham Junction) Railway Company[10] and continued with extensive design projects: The Ebbw Vale Co. in Dowgate by the Thames Docks, 1845, The Religious Tract Society's quarters at 56 Paternoster Row, 12 Little Britain, schools in Cripplegate, Tower Hill and Hackney.[11] In the City, his striking warehouse at 23–25, Eastcheap on the corner with Philpot Lane, in Lombardic Gothic style,[12] survives singled out by Pevsner as 'exceptional'.[13] He was responsible for many improvements in the City of London. Outside the City, he designed the original Cancer Hospital in Fulham Road in 1859.[14] Edward Walford described the hospital thus: The building, which was founded in 1851, is constructed of plain white Suffolk bricks, relieved with bands of red bricks, and keystones and cornices of terra-cotta. The principal ground floor, approached by a flight of steps, contains the hall and a handsome stone staircase, apartments for the house surgeon and medical officers, and wards for patients.[15]

Down the Old Brompton Road, Young designed shops and terraced houses for the professional and working class influx in Fulham, Richmond (now Empress) Place, birth place in 1876 of composer, William Hurlstone, and along the Richmond (Lillie) Road, 1863–1866, residences in Roehampton, and cottages in Pear Gardens, Southwark.[16] Among the country mansions he designed is the Italianate Laughton Park in East Sussex for Sir James Duke, Lord Mayor of London. He restored churches in his native Suffolk.

Young's assistants included Alfred Millwood,[17] David Mocatta and Frederick Hyde Pownall from 1862 to 1867.[18]


Young & Son's Carved mice on wall in Eastcheap

Young was widowed in 1873, however, he was still working in 1875 surveying dangerous structures in the City as is attested by the Metropolitan Board of Works.[19] Apart from the strikingly ornate civic and commercial buildings he designed, Young's legacy, especially in the City of London, was to ensure in his role as surveyor, that buildings falling into disrepair would be adequately put right and on several occasions, he asked for 'substitutions' with surveyor colleagues so that he could personally superintend the repairs as an architect, notably in Houndsditch and Cannon Street.[20] John Young left a quiet token of his sense of humour in the carved mice on the parapet of a warehouse in Eastcheap. He died at home in St Mary's Lodge in March 1877. He and his wife were buried in the churchyard of St. Mary Stoke Newington. His son, John, continued John Young & Son, specialising in civic and church architecture. He was a friend of the novelist, George Thackeray and became a Fellow of the British Institute of Architects, a distinction that had eluded his energetic father. John Young Junior died in 1910 in Brentwood, Essex.[21]



  1. ^ Roderick O'Donnell, 'English Catholic architects 1791–1939', Ecclesiology Today, 38 May 2007, p.34
  2. ^ John Young's Obituary in 'The Builder', 31 March 1877, under the editorship of George Godwin
  3. ^ Records of the Sun Fire Office for 22 May 1828, Manuscripts – the London Metropolitan Archives
  4. ^ John Young, "A Series of Designs for Shop Fronts, Porticoes and Entrances to Buildings Public and Private" with engravings by Adlard, publ. by Taylors Architectural Publishers of Holborn, 1828. (Accessed British Library, 18 February 2016), reissued by Taylors of the Strand in 1843
  5. ^ Oliver Bradbury, Sir John Soane's Influence on Architecture from 1791: A Continuing Legacy, Ashtead Publishing, 2015
  6. ^ The register book of marriages belonging to the parish St. George, Hanover square, in the county of Middlesex, p. 98
  7. ^ Architecture of the Estate: the Reign of the Cundys
  8. ^ "Stoke Newington: Growth". Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  9. ^ "St Mary's Lodge – 73 Lordship Road Stoke Newington London N16 – N 16". Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  10. ^ Herapath's 'Railway Journal', 21 June 1845, p.983
  11. ^ John Young's Obituary in The Builder Magazine, 31 March 1877
  12. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Sir Nikolaus Pevsner with Bridget Cherry, Buildings of England: London I – City of London 1957 and 2005, ISBN 978-0-300-09624-8
  14. ^ Morning Chronicle, 31 May 1859, 'Laying the foundation stone of the new Cancer Hospital Brompton: List of attenders: Alexander Marsden, Mr.Young (architect)...' The hospital was further expanded in 1885 with a new frontage directly onto Fulham Road.
  15. ^ Edward Walford, 'West Brompton and the South Kensington Museum' in Old and New London: Volume 5, published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878 and British History Online [accessed 19 March 2016].
  16. ^ Frederick Corder Biography of William Yeates Hurlstone Dictionary of National Biography, Supplement 1912. q.v. Wikisource retrieved 20 February 2019
  17. ^ Directory of British Architects, 1834–1914: Vol. 2 (L-Z) edited by Antonia Brodie, British Architectural Library, Royal Institute of British Architects
  18. ^ Roderick O'Donnell, see:
  19. ^ Minutes of the Proceedings of the Metropolitan Board of Works, Reed and Pardon, Paternoster Row, printers to the Metropolitan Board of Works, 1875
  20. ^ Obituary of John Young, The Builder, March 1877
  21. ^ John Hinshelwood: Who built Friern Manor Dairy in Crouch Hill? 1999, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

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