Alfred Waterhouse PRIBA (1830-1905)

The spiky tower of the Prudential, Holborn, by Waterhouse.

The architect Alfred Waterhouse was born in Liverpool and worked at first in Manchester, where he designed the Gothic Law Courts (1859 - destroyed) and the enormous and truly splendid Town Hall (1868-1877). He became one of the more prolific architects, working in a variety of Gothic styles, often choosing terra cotta for details, and favouring polychromy - indeed, some of his works are the brightest coloured of Victorian buildings. His work is among the most recognisable of all Victorian architects, and he is a personal favorite of mine. He won commissions for some of the largest buildings, giving scope for complicated decoration, strongly three-dimensional facades and attractive, spiky skylines.

In Liverpool, Waterhouse designed the Lime Street Station Hotel (1868-71) (sculpture on it shown on the St George's Hall page,) and in London his magnum opus was the Natural History Museum, fantastically decorated inside and out, and with terra cotta facing in yellow, red and light blue. By Parliament Square is his Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and also in London are the red brick St Paul's School in Hammersmith and University College Hospital in Euston, and the Prudential building in Holborn. His other works include several Oxford and Cambridge colleges, and a variety of banks and insurance company buildings - examples are the Prudential buildings in Southampton, Nottingham (noted in passing on the walk there), and Leeds (again, see the walk there), as well as their bright red head office in Holborn mentioned above.

We should also mention his Metropole Hotel in Brighton.

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