Silvanus Trevail

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Silvanus Trevail
Born(1851-11-11)11 November 1851
Died7 November 1903(1903-11-07) (aged 52)
BuildingsCarbis Bay Hotel
Headland Hotel
Housel Bay Hotel
King Arthur's Castle Hotel
St Lawrence's Hospital
Great Western Hotel (Newquay)

Silvanus Trevail (11 November 1851 – 7 November 1903) was a British architect, and the most prominent Cornish architect of the 19th century.

Early life[edit]

Trevail was born at Carne Farm, Trethurgy, in the parish of Luxulyan, Cornwall on 11 November 1851.[1][2]


Trevail rose to become Mayor of Truro and, nationally, President of the architects' professional body, the Society of Architects.[3]

Trevail rebuilt the derelict Temple Church in 1883

He was Cornwall's most famous architect, certainly of the 19th century. Following the Education Act of 1870 which created Board Schools, Trevail designed around fifty such schools throughout the county. He also designed hotels including the Headland Hotel, Newquay, Carbis Bay Hotel in Carbis Bay, and restored the church at Temple. He was said to be a man ahead of his time, a campaigner for sanitation improvements and an entrepreneur.

Selected works[edit]


His success however, did not bring him happiness. Trevail had a history of depression and had been unwell for some time before killing himself. On 7 November 1903 he shot himself in the lavatory of a train[5] as it entered Brownqueen Tunnel a short distance from Bodmin Road railway station.[6]


  1. ^ Harradence, Hazel (2003). "You Never Know!". Silvanus Trevail Newsletter. The Silvanus Trevail Trust. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  2. ^ Best, R. S. The life and good works of John Passmore Edwards, with an appendix on the architect Silvanus Trevail, who designed nine Passmore Edwards buildings (pp. 47-48). Dyllansow Truran (1982) ISBN 0-907566-18-9.
  3. ^ Shepherd, Matt (5 January 2015). "Silvanus Trevail". BBC. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  4. ^ Morris, Jonathan (22 September 2013). "Historic Bodmin dancehall to be demolished". BBC News. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
  5. ^ "SILVANUS TREVAIL DEAD.; President of British Royal Society of Architects Believed to Have Killed Himself". The New York Times. 8 November 1903. Retrieved 22 April 2009.
  6. ^ Laws, Peter (2002). "Silvanus Trevail Society Newsletter: Talk given by Peter Laws". The Silvanus Trevail Society. Retrieved 27 May 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • Perry, Ronald (2009) "Silvanus Trevail: social reformer, developer, architect", in: Ferry, Kathryn, ed. Powerhouses of Provincial Architecture, 1837-1914. London: Victorian Society; pp. 15–27

External links[edit]