Stephen Dykes Bower

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Stephen Dykes Bower
Born(1903-04-18)18 April 1903
Died11 November 1994(1994-11-11) (aged 91)
Alma materUniversity of Oxford; Architectural Association School of Architecture

Stephen Ernest Dykes Bower (18 April 1903 – 11 November 1994) was a British church architect and Gothic Revival designer best known for his work at Westminster Abbey, Bury St Edmunds Cathedral and the Chapel at Lancing College.[1] As an architect he was a devoted and determined champion of the Gothic Revival style through its most unpopular years. He rejected modernism and continued traditions from the late Victorian period, emphasising fine detail, craftsmanship and bright colour.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Dykes Bower was born in Gloucester as one of four brothers, including John Dykes Bower, later the organist at St Paul's Cathedral. Stephen was educated as organ scholar at Merton College, Oxford[3] and at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London.[1] He set up his own practice in 1931, focusing on church building and restoration.[1] Dykes Bower was a craftsman architect a rare breed of professional gentleman; humble for the teams he led, especially at Lancing College with its rose window noted as being the largest in England. He was also a stonemason and his tools were in the boot of his Rolls Royce. He was a scholar and master of colourful ornamentation.

Surveyor of the Fabric[edit]

From 1951 to 1973, Dykes Bower was the official Surveyor of the Fabric of Westminster Abbey; in charge of restoring, repairing, and maintaining the interior. Restoration work included the tombs, Pearson-designed organ cases, Blore-designed pulpitum, choir stalls, Scott-designed reredos, vestments, ornaments etc.[4]


Dykes Bower died unmarried on November 1994, and his ashes were interred in the Islip chapel of Westminster Abbey on 12 June 1995. His memorial stone of Purbeck marble is situated next to Sir Charles Peers, his predecessor as Surveyor of the Fabric.[5]

Major works[edit]

Other works[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Richards, James (14 November 1994). "Stephen Dykes Bower". The Times. News International.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Symondson, Anthony (2011). Stephen Dykes Bower. London: RIBA Publishing.[page needed]
  3. ^ Levens, R.G.C., ed. (1964). Merton College Register 1900-1964. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 135.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Rome, Alan (1995). "Stephen Dykes Bower". Churchscape (14).[page needed]
  5. ^ "Stephen Dykes Bower". Westminster Abbey.