Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/286

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Gibbon
Gibson
274


GIBBON, CHARLES (1843–1890), novelist, was born of humble parentage in the Isle of Man in 1843, and moved with his parents to Glasgow at an early age. After receiving an elementary education at Glasgow he became a clerk, but before the age of seventeen obtained an engagement on a local paper. During Charles Kean's visit to Glasgow in 1860, Gibbon contributed to his paper an account of Kean's acting. Kean was pleased, and, calling at the newspaper office, made Gibbon's acquaintance. A year or so later Gibbon migrated to London, publishing in 1864 a three-volume novel, 'Dangerous Connexions,' which reached a second edition in 1875. 'The Dead Heart' followed in 1865, and before his death Gibbon had published some thirty novels, the best of which were 'Robin Gray' (1869; other editions 1872 and 1877) and 'For Lack of Gold' (1871; other editions 1873 and 1877). Gibbon's Scottish novels have been compared with those of William Black [q. v. Suppl.], and though he possessed none of the qualities of a great novelist, his pictures of Scottish life were the result of personal knowledge, and not mere imitation. Gibbon also edited 'The Casquet of Literature' (6 vols. 1873-4), and wrote a tedious 'life' (2 vols. 1878) of George Combe [q. v.], in whose theories he was interested. Ill-health compelled him to spend his later years on the east coast, and he died at Great Yarmouth on 15 Aug. 1890. He was married and left issue.

[East Anglian Handbook, 1891, pp. 191,202; Annual Reg. 1890, p. 178; Athenæum, 1890, ii. 255; Times, 22 Aug. 1890; Gibbon's Works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; notes supplied by Mr. William Freeland of Glasgow.]

A. F. P.

GIBSON, JOHN (1817–1892), architect, second son of Richard Gibson, a well-to-do farmer and horse-breeder, was born at Castle Bromwich, near Birmingham, in May 1817. After a short training in joinery, under a Birmingham builder, he entered the office of Joseph Aloysius Hansom [q. v.], the architect of the Birmingham town hall, whence, in 1835, his articles being interrupted by the bankruptcy of his master, he passed for the remaining three years of his pupilage into the charge of (Sir) Charles Barry [q. v.] With Barry he worked, first at Foley Place, London, and subsequently at Westminster, whither the office and staff were transferred during the designing of the Houses of Parliament, in the drawings for which Gibson had a share. He remained with Barry for six years after completion of pupilage, and his opening of independent practice was coincident with the competition of designs for the National Bank of Scotland in Glasgow (1844). In this Gibson, who submitted a correct Italian design, was successful among many rivals, and his original conception was carried out in all essential features. Other works rapidly ensued, of which the earliest and not the least important was the Romanesque Bloomsbury Chapel (1847); it was followed in 1848 by the offices of the Imperial Insurance Company in Old Broad Street, and in 1849 by the church in Charlecote Park, Warwickshire, erected for Mrs. Lucy, whose family entrusted him with the restoration of Charlecote House, and secured for him, by introduction to Lady Willoughby de Broke in 1860, his most important ecclesiastical work, the designing of Bodelwyddan Church, near St. Asaph.

After designing Shenston Church, near Lichfield, and Brunswick Buildings, New Street, Birmingham, Gibson built in 1853 a house and studio for F. R. Pickersgill, R.A., at Highgate, and Combroke Schools, and in 1855 Myton Grange, both in Warwickshire. The latter was an Elizabethan residence a favourite class of work with Gibson, who devoted himself chiefly to country houses and banks. Alterations at Plas Power, near Wrexham, and Wroxton Abbey, near Banbury, were entrusted to Gibson in 1858, and in 1861 the building of Woodcote, near Warwick. In 1864 he began his long and successful connection with the National Provincial Bank of England, for which in this year he built, in a dignified classic style, the head offices in Threadneedle Street, and subsequently branch offices at Tamworth, Salisbury, Southampton, Birmingham, Newcastle, Gateshead, Middlesborough, Stockton-on-Tees, Durham, Sunderland, and elsewhere. The chief London branches designed by him were those in Baker Street and Piccadilly, the latter being not the premises now occupied by the bank, but No. 212, further east. Between 1865 and 1870 he undertook various works for the Fielden family, or under their nomination, such as Dobroyd Castle, the Unitarian chapel in Todmorden, and the town hall in the same town. In 1866 he designed the Molyneux mausoleum in Kensal Green cemetery; in 1868, the chancel of St. Nicholas, Warwick; in 1871, Nutfield Priory, Red Hill, and additions to Guy's Cliff, Warwick; in 1873, Bersham Church and Imberhome, a house near East Grinstead; in 1874, Bix Church, near Henley; and in 1875 the City Bank, Exeter. In 1876 Gibson was engaged to build the offices of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, in Northumberland Avenue, to which a top story was subse-