1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pearson, John Loughborough

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PEARSON, JOHN LOUGHBOROUGH (1817–1897), English architect, son of William Pearson, etcher, of Durham, was born in Brussels on the 5th of July 1817. He was articled at the age of fourteen to Ignatius Bonomi, architect, of Durham, but soon removed to London, and worked under the elder Hardwicke. He revived and practised largely the art of vaulting, and acquired in it a proficiency unrivalled in his generation. He was, however, by no means a Gothic purist, and was also fond of Renaissance and thoroughly grounded in classical architecture. From the erection of his first church of Ellerker, in Yorkshire, in 1843, to that of St Peter's, Vauxhall, in 1864, his buildings are Geometrical in manner and exhibit a close adherence to precedent, but elegance of proportion and refinement of detail lift them out of the commonplace of mere imitation. Holy Trinity, Westminster (1848), and St Mary's, Dalton Holme (1858), are notable examples of this phase. St Peter's, Vauxhall (1864), his first groined church, was also the first of a series of buildings which brought Pearson to the forefront among his contemporaries. In these he applied the Early English style to modern needs and modern economy with unrivalled success. St Augustine's, Kilburn (1871), St John's, Red Lion Square, London (1874), St Alban's, Birmingham (1880), St Michael's, Croydon (1880), St John's, Norwood (1881), St Stephen's, Bournemouth (1889), and All Saints', Hove (1889), are characteristic examples of his matured work. He is best known by Truro Cathedral (1880), which has a special interest in its apt incorporation of the south aisle of the ancient church. Pearson's conservative spirit fitted him for the reparation of ancient edifices, and among cathedrals and other historical buildings placed under his care were Lincoln, Chichester, Peterborough, Bristol and Exeter Cathedrals, St George's Chapel, Windsor, Westminster Hall and Westminster Abbey, in the surveyor ship of which last he succeeded Sir G. G. Scott. Except as to the porches, the work of Scott, he re-faced the north transept of Westminster Abbey, and also designed the vigorous organ cases. In his handling of ancient buildings he was repeatedly opposed by the ultra. anti-restorers (as in the case of the west front of Peterborough Cathedral in 1896), but he generally proved the soundness of his judgment by his executed work. Pearson's practice was not confined to church building. Treberfydd House (1850), Quar Wood (1858), Lechlade Manor, an Elizabethan house (1873), Westwood House, Sydenham, in the French Renaissance style (1880), the Astor estate offices (1892) upon the Victoria Embankment, London, the remodelling of the interiors of Clieveden House (1893) and No. 18 Carlton House Terrace (1894), with many parsonages, show his aptitude for domestic architecture. In general design he first aimed at form, embracing both proportion and contour; and his work may be recognized by accurate scholarship coupled with harmonious detail. Its keynotes are cautiousness and refinement rather than boldness. He died on the 11th of December 1897, and was buried in the nave of Westminster Abbey, where his grave is marked by the appropriate motto Sustinuat et abstinuit. He was elected A.R.A. in 1874, R.A. in 1880, was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and a fellow and member of the Council of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

The following are some of Pearson’s more important works, not already named. Ferriby church (1846); Stow, Lincolnshire (restoration, 1850); Weybridge, St James’s (1853); Freeland church, parsonage and schools (1866), Kilbuin, St Peter’s Home (1868), Wentworth church (1872), Horsforth church (1874); Cullercoats, St George’s (1882); Chiswick, St Michael’s (restoration, 1882); Great Yarmouth church (restoration, 1883); Liverpool, St Agnes' (1883); Woking Convalescent Home (1884); Headingley church (1884), Torquay, All Saints (1884); Maidstone, All Saints (restoration, 1885), Shrewsbury Abbey (1886); Ayr, Holy Trmity (1886); Hythe church (restoration, 1887); Oxford, New College, reredos (completion, 1889); Cambridge University Library (additions, 1889); Friern Barnet, St John’s (1890); Cambridge, Sidney Sussex College (additions, 1890); Middlesex Hospital chapel (1890); Bisho sgate, St Helen’s (restoration, 1891); Maida Hill (Irvingite) church 3891); Barking, All Hallows (restoration, 1893); Cambridge, Emmanuel College (additions, 1893); Ledbury, St M1chael’s (restoration, 1894); Malta, Memorial church (1894); Port Talbot church (1895).  (W. D. C.)