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Henry Roberts

Who was Henry Roberts?

Henry Roberts, architect and housing reformer, was born on the 16th April 1803 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Following his family's return to England in 1818, Roberts was articled to Charles Fowler and developed his draughtsmanship.

Life and Work

He attended the Royal Academy Schools in 1825 having worked in the office of Robert Smirke. A founder member (1835) and fellow (1837) of the Institute of British Architects, Roberts became well established. His reputation however, was bolstered by his attitude towards the reforming of working-class housing. By developing cheap, light and well-insulated bricks as well as championing the campaign to abolish taxes on bricks and windows, Roberts was able to establish a number of important projects. These included Newcomen Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent (1847) and St. George's model dwellings, Bourdon Street, Westminster (1852-3).

Roberts developed a successful practice, designing country-houses for members of the aristocracy with liberal and Evangelical tendencies. These buildings were in a Jacobethan, Tudor Gothic (Norton Manor, Norton Fitzwarren, Som. (1843), or pleasing Italianate (Escot House, Devon (1838) styles.

He died at his home in Italy, the Villa Romana, via Senese, Florence, on the 9th March 1876.

Associated Places