Oakley, Edward (DNB00)

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OAKLEY, EDWARD (fl. 1732), architect, was probably a native of Carmarthenshire. He stated in 1730 that he had been a government civil servant abroad, where he had ‘long contemplated a famous republic’ (Mag. Architect. pt. ii. Pref.) Before 1725 he was residing in the town of Carmarthen, where he held the position of provincial senior grand warden of the freemasons' lodge. In 1725 he was one of the wardens of a lodge meeting at the Three Compasses (or Carpenters' Arms) in Silver Street, Golden Square, London, and there on 31 Dec. 1728, as master of the lodge, he delivered a speech, principally concerned with architecture. At the time he was described as an architect. In 1730 he was residing ‘over against Tom's Coffee House, in St. Martin's Lane.’ In 1732 he designed the greenhouses and hothouses for the Botanic Garden at Chelsea; the first stone was laid by Sir Hans Sloane on 12 Aug. 1732, and they were completed in 1734. Elevations, plans, and sections, drawn by Oakley, and engraved by B. Cole, are in the King's Library, British Museum. Oakley published:

  1. ‘The Magazine of Architecture, Perspective, and Sculpture,’ Westminster, 1730, fol. A second edition was appearing in parts in 1732 (London Mag. 1732, p. 494).
  2. ‘Every Man a Compleat Builder; or Easy Rules and Proportions for drawing and working the several Parts of Architecture,’ London, 1738, 1766 (by which year he was no longer living), 1774.

In 1756 he published three designs for Blackfriars Bridge Maitland, London, 1756, p. 1392).

[Dict. of Architecture; Antient Constitutions of the Free-Masons, 1731, pt. ii. p. 25; Lane's Masonic Lodges, pp. 4–5; Field and Semple's Botanic Garden at Chelsea, pp. 53–4; information from John Lane, esq., of Torquay.]

B. P.