Next Tuesday, the Central Library (in partnership with the West Yorkshire Victorian Society) welcomes prominent historian Janet Douglas, who will be delivering a talk on some lesser-known local architects of the Victorian and Edwardian period: W.H. Thorp, William Hill and Percy Robinson. Here we present some brief biographical details of those architects, along with some images from the Leodis archive of historic Leeds, to give readers a glimpse into the work done by Thorp, Hill and Robinson. You can book tickets for this talk via Ticketsource.
All the below images are copyright of Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net, unless stated otherwise.
William Henry Thorp (1852 – 1944)
The son of John Hall Thorp, William Henry Thorp was articled to A.M. Fowler, the Assistant Borough Surveyor for Leeds, and in practice on his own account at 33 Grafton Street; Thorp then worked for three years for Edward Birchall. Birchall hailed from an old Quaker family, and set up his firm in Leeds during the early 1860s (Thorp wrote “Possessed of ample means, he did not push his practice, but carried it on in a somewhat old-fashioned leisurely manner.”). Thorp eventually launched his own practice in Leeds in 1876. In the 1890s he was in partnership with G.F. Danby, then with his son, Ralph W. Thorp, and from 1919-1923 with George Herbert Foggitt. He was the first Secretary of the Leeds and Yorkshire Architectural Society and its President from 1890-2. Two buildings designed by him can be seen below.
William Hill (1828 – 1889)
Articled to Perkin and Backhouse, before setting up practice in 1851 at 59 Albion Street. In 1875 he was at 11 Park Square, when Salmon L. Swann was his partner. His firm is said to have been responsible for upwards of 100 Nonconformist chapels, as well as many more public buildings and private residences.
Percy Robinson (1868 – 1950)
Robinson commenced practice in his hometown of Leeds after being articled to G.W. Atkinson and working for Thomas Winn. Most of his buildings date from the beginning of the present century, including Armley Public Library (1902), Leeds Exchange (Briggate, 1907). He was an active member of the Leeds arts collective known as the Savage Club, and is best remembered for his books, Relics of Old Leeds (1896) and Leeds: Old and New (1926).