Charles Robert Cockerell

Cockerell was the first ever winner of the prestigeous award, The Royal Gold Medal, which was established by the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1848. It is still awarded and celebrated today





Former branch of the Bank of England, Castle Street, Liverpool Designer Cockerell, Charles Robert (1788-1863) © James Newton / RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Upon winning the Royal Gold Medal, Charles Robert Cockerell had already designed the Bank of England, the Ashmolean Museum, the Sun Assurance office in London, and was Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy. 

Cockerell followed his architect father, Samuel Pepys Cockerell, into the family business, and worked under him for five years. At the end of this time, he was asked to act as confidential advisor to Robert Smirke (himself a Royal Gold Medallist) who was rebuilding Covent Garden Theatre.

© RIBA Library Drawings & Archives Collections

© RIBA Library Drawings & Archives Collections 

Born: 1788 (-1863) 
Nationality:  British

In 1810, when England was at war with Napolean, Cockerell set off on his Grand Tour to visit Italy, Greece and Turkey. It was the Classical architecture that surrounded Cockerell during this trip that would influence his future work. When he returned to England in 1817, Cockerell started working in London, specialising in the Greek revival style. 

By 1819, Cockerell had been appointed Surveyor to the Fabric of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, yet still found time to assist his father with the survey of India House. He also completed Hanover Chapel in Regent Street, London and St George’s Hall in Liverpool, to name but a few. St George's Hall is now considered the masterpiece of the Classic Revival. 

Even after his death in 1863 he was considered a great architect, being buried alongside Christopher Wren and his father-in-law John Rennie in St Paul's Cathedral, London.


  • Royal Gold Medal, 1848

Buildings by Cockerell:

  • Hanover Chapel in Regent Street, London, 1823
  • St David’s College, Lampeter, 1829
  • Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy, 1840
  • Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1842
  • Sun Assurance office in Threadneedle Street, London, 1842
  • St George’s Hall, Liverpool, 1847
  • Bank of England, Liverpool, 1848
  • National Provincial Bank of England, Birmingham, 1868
  • Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, taken on from Basevi in 1837, but not completed until after Cockerell’s death in 1874


National Provincial Bank of England, Birmingham © RIBA Library Photographs CollectionHanover Chapel, Regent Street, London: elevation, section and plan © RIBA Library Drawings & Archives Collections