Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bunning, James Bunstone

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BUNNING, JAMES BUNSTONE (1802–1863), architect, born on 6 Oct. 1802, the son of a London surveyor, left school at the early age of thirteen to enter his father's office. He was afterwards articled to George Smith, architect, a pupil of Robert Furze Brettingham [q. v.], and on the expiry of his apprenticeship commenced business as an architect. He held in succession the offices of district surveyor, Bethnal Green, and surveyor for the Foundling Hospital estates circa 1825; to the London Cemetery Company, 1829; the Haberdashers' Company, the London and County Bank, 1840, the Thames Tunnel, and the Victoria Life Office. He took great interest in the work of the Royal Humane Society, and designed their first receiving-house in Hyde Park. He designed in 1835 the building for the City of London School in Milk Street, Cheapside, which was completed in 1837 (the school since removed to new buildings on the Thames Embankment). He also prepared competitive designs for the houses of parliament and the Royal Exchange, and designed the mansion house at Lillingstone-Dayrell in Buckinghamshire, and the towers, since cut down, of Hungerford suspension bridge. His official works included the Bethnal Green Union workhouse, erected about 1840-2 at a cost of 25,000l. On 23 Sept. 1843 he was appointed ' clerk of the city's works,' being the twenty-first in succession from Edward Stone, who on 21 April 1477 became the first holder of that office. In 1847 the name was changed to that of city architect. In this capacity Bunning designed these works: 1845, a new street from the westend of Cheapside to Carey Street; 1846, the widening of Threadneedle Street, and the construction of New Cannon Street, opened in 1854; 1848, the first plan for the raising of Holborn Valley, a work first projected by Bunning, and in which he took the greatest interest; 1849, the Coal Exchange; 1852, City Prison, Holloway; 1853, Freemasons' Orphan Schools, Brixton; 1855, Metropolitan Cattle Market; 1856, two new law courts in Guildhall; 1858, the interior of Newgate, a rearrangement leaving Dance's building of 1788 outwardly untouched; 1858, Rogers's Almshouses, Brixton; 1862, a new open timber roof for Guildhall; and 1863, Pauper Lunatic Asylum at Stone, Kent, which was still unfinished at his death. He also left a number of designs for various city improvements, such as one for poor lodging-houses, Victoria Street; for converting Farringdon Market into baths, &c.; designs in 1858 for increasing the width of London Bridge; in 1860, for improvements in the library of Guildhall; and in 1861 for a new meat market at Smithfield. Bunning's talents were of the practical rather than the artistic order; but he designed successfully decorations for various municipal displays. He was distinguished for integrity as a public official, as well as unvarying kindness and courtesy. He was a fellow of the Institute of British Architects, and of the Society of Antiquaries, in which latter capacity much credit is due to him for the care he took in preserving the interesting remains of Roman building found in excavating the site of the Coal Exchange. He died on 7 Nov. 1863 in London. He married in 1826 Miss Basan, a lady of Italian origin, who survived him. He left no children.

[Builder, vol. xxii.]

G. W. B.