Sir George Gilbert Scott and his work in Buckingham
Born on 13 July 1811 at Gawcott, Sir George Gilbert Scott went on to become one of the most celebrated and prolific British architects of the nineteenth century.
Best- known as an exponent of the English Gothic Revival, which dominated architectural style during the middle decades of the century designed many well-known public buildings, churches and memorials..
These include the Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras Station, the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices in Whitehall, King’s College London, St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh and the Albert Memorial.
He also restored and extended a plethora of older buildings, many of which were churches.
As Warren Whyte pointed out in the lecture that followed the Society’s annual general meeting on 26 November, Scott was active locally, not least in Buckingham where he was involved in the design or restoration of four buildings, three of which are still in use.
These are the Old Latin School on Market Hill; the Old Gaol and the parish church of St Peter and St Paul. The fourth building, the Union Workhouse no longer exists..
Together with his friend Sampson Kempthorne, Scott was responsible for the many of the workhouses that appeared in the wake of the Poor Law Reform Act of 1834
Ours was located on a site at the top end of Mary McManus Drive and built in 1836. It was one of Scott’s earliest works.
Three years later he designed an extension of the Old Gaol, including the gaoler’s house at the south end of the building, along with other alterations.
His biggest project in the town was the restoration of the parish church during the 1860s. This, as Warren explained, was in a very poor state of repair and required extensive buttressing to prevent collapse.
Scott did much more than this, however, and effectively transformed a church originally built in the classical style that typified the Georgian era to something more akin to English Gothic.
The restoration included the construction of a new chancel, new windows, a new south porch and turret along with new internal piers and timber vaulting throughout.
Scott’s final project in the town was further restoration work at the Old Latin School.
George Gilbert Scott will always be associated with the English Gothic revival. But as Warren pointed out he incorporated many new techniques and materials in his designs that still impress and delight today.