1874 - George Edmund Street (1824-1881)

The Royal Courts of Justice

Designer: Street, George Edmund (1824-1881)
Copyright: Joe Low/RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection (1992)

George Edmund Street was apprenticed firstly, to an architect in Winchester, and secondly, to Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1844. Just four years later, Street left to establish his own practice, initially in Wantage, Oxfordshire and eventually in London.


Scott’s influence is shown throughout Street’s work as Street tended to favour the Gothic style. His most famous building, the Law Courts in London, however, are a good example of Gothic reticence – but this may be because the Law Courts were completed after Street’s death by his son, A E Street, and Arthur Blomfield. Famously it has been suggested that there were 3,000 drawings for the Law Courts ready when Street died.


Street was much in demand as an architect. He was Diocesan Architect to the cathedrals of Oxford, York, Winchester and Ripon in 1851, as well as undertaking a programme of restoration at Bristol cathedral in 1864 and York Minster in 1871. Notable churches include Kingstone Church, Dorset; St Mary Magdalene, Paddington; and the Garrison Church, Portsmouth.


Contract drawing for alterations to the chapel, Wellington Barracks, London

Designer: Street, George Edmund (1824-1881)
Copyright: RIBA British Architectural Library Drawings Collection (1876)

Considered by many to be one of the greatest Gothic architects in Europe. Street also undertook considerable commissions abroad, including building churches in Rome, Constantinople, Geneva, Lausanne and America.

'The most eminent practical exponent of the art of architecture and an author of no mean eminence.'

In addition to his design work, Street also published books, including 'Brick and Marble Architecture in Italy' (1855) and 'Some Account of Gothic Architecture in Spain' (1865).

For many years, Street was the responsible treasurer of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. He was also President of the RIBA at the time of his death in 1881. As a highly revered architect, he was awarded the rare posthumous status of being buried in Westminster Abbey.