Friday, 12 November 2010

Architecture: Francis W. Troup

F.W.Troup, RIBA


Troup (1859-1941) was an architect born in Huntly, Grampian.  He is relevant to the Peasant Arts story as he built the main Peasant Arts buildings in Haslemere and the residence of Joseph and Maude Egerton King.  Troup was the second son of Robert Troup and Margaret MacDonald.  In 1877 he was articled to the Glasgow architects practice of Campbell Douglas and Sellers, where noteworthy architects such as J.M.Brydon, W.Flockhart and J.M.MacLaren had worked (Budgen, West Surrey Architecture, 2002).  It was here that in 1860 J.J.Stevenson had worked, who Troup joined in London. 
Sandhouse, Wormley by F.W. Troup 1910.  Built for Joseph King and Maude Egerton King

J.J. Stevenson was a founder member of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) in 1877 which was formed by William Morris, Philip Webb and other notable members of the Pre-Raphelite brotherhood.  J.J. Stevenson set out SPAB's ideals in 'Architectural Restoration: its principals and practice', published in that 1877, the publication was controversial and Stevenson was somewhat belatedly admitted to FRIBA in 1879.  With his initial training complete, in 1883 Troup moved to London and joined Stevenson’s office.  This office had a reputation for being the “stepping stone to London” for young Scottish architects.

Leadwork, St John's College, Oxford renovated by F.W.Troup 1889

In 1885 Troup was awarded a Silver Medal by the Royal Academy for a series of measured drawings of the north porch of St Pauls Cathedral, the drawings were printed in The Builder.  In 1889, then as Clerk of Works at Stevenson’s office, Troup was responsible for the renovation of the fabric of St John’s College, Oxford, this followed thirty foot of library parapet falling into the quad.  At a recent conference (The Traditional Paint Forum 2009), St Johns College, Oxford was described as having the finest examples of decorative leadwork in Britain.  
F.W.Troup drawings of St. John's College, Oxford


F.W.Troup drawings of St. John's College, Oxford
Weaver (English Leadwork: Its Art and History, Donhead Publishing, 1909) says that St John’s College, Oxford, has “four (leadwork) features of which are the elaborate painting and gilding of the lead.  The royal arms and the arms of Archibishop Laud are blazoned in their proper colours, and the turreted face of the heads and the funnel outlets are painted black and white in chevron bands and in many other delightful patterns.  We are indebted to the painstaking care of Mr. F.W. Troup for the restoration of this colour work.  Mr Troup’s measured drawings of the heads are reproduced below” - above actually(!).


This book also includes a photograph of a rain-water pipehead designed by Troup and made by a ‘Mr Dodds’.  Later on Weaver states that “the art of modern leadwork owes a great debt to Mr. F. W. Troup and his own designs always strikes the right note.”  From the references to Troup in this literature, it is clear that Troup was giving inspirational lectures on leadwork to students at the London County Council Central School of Arts and Crafts.
designed by F.W.Troup
Sundial designed by F.W.Troup


In 1889 Troup gained RIBA Associateship status.  In 1898 he worked with fellow Scot, Robert Lorimer, know for his arts and crafts buildings who went onto create large Scots Baronial country houses including Ardkinglas Estate on Loch Fyne in 1906.  Troup supervised the construction of Lorimer's Whinfold in Hascombe (currently for sale in 2010 for £8million).  Robert Falconer MacDonald was also working in the Stevenson office at this time, and is reported to have been designing houses in Haslemere and Hambledon.  In 1899 the building of St. George’s Wood, Haslemere began, the last home of George MacDonald, this was designed by Robert Falconer MacDonald, George’s son.  Greville MacDonald said in his letter to his father dated 8th December 1899 “Yesterday I signed the contract for the building of St. George’s Wood.  For that, an’ it please you, will be your English home for all your earthly time.  Bob’s plans were quite perfect, I think; and there you will easily gather together in your arms - you and Mother – all your children.  It should be a lovely home, set amongst huge beech-trees.  The country is still gloriously lovely.  How exquisite in the Winter months may-be brown and purple all a-glitter in cold sunlight.” (MacDonald, Reminiscences of a Specialist, 1932).
Whinfold, Hascombe


Whinfold, Hascombe


Joseph King and his wife Maude Egerton King had moved to Upper Birtley, Grayswood (near Haslemere) in 1894.  In 1897 they were joined by Maude’s sister Ethel Blount and her husband Godfrey Blount who resided in Foundry Lane.   It would appear that Joseph King owned Foundry Cottage (where the Blounts were residing in 1901) on Foundry Lane, at that time one of the only houses on the land and the surrounding land which was called Foundry Meadow, now part of Kings Road.  It was about this time that Joseph King engaged Troup to design what would become Greenbushes and Honey Hill on Foundry Lane and the Weaving House, the Old Studio and the Dye House on Kings Road.  Joseph King became Troup’s most inspired patron, and the one for whom he built his best country house, Sandhouse in Wormley.   King probably made his connection with Troup through his cousin Greville MacDonald, who was the elder brother of Robert Falconer MacDonald who worked in the Stevenson offices with Troup.
Gilbert Bayes, Bust of F.W.Troup, Artworkers Guild, London , 1932

In 1898 Troup’s diary mentions five separate schemes he was working on for King: “Copse Cottages, the new laundry, the Weavers house and the studio and workroom” (Jackson, F.W.Troup: Architect 1859-1941, Building Centre Trust, 1985).   Jackson tried to identify the cottages and laundry in Wormley, and failed to identify the other buildings, however it is evident that these are the buildings on Foundry Lane and Foundry Meadow.  For example, the Surrey Times (2nd September 1899) reports that “The new weaving house in Foundry Meadow, to be opened on Tuesday next, consists of two large work-rooms, etc., and is a picturesque building, designed by Mr. Frank Troup.  Eleven looms can be comfortably worked in it…”  Greenbushes exhibits Troup’s trademark leadwork around the front entrance. 

Workman's Cottage, F.W.Troup, The Studio, 1901
Ground floor plan, Workman's Cottage, F.W.Troup
First floor plan, Workman's Cottage, F..W.Troup
End Elevation of Workman's Cottage, F.W.Troup


The Studio (vol 20-22, 1901) published an article on workman’s cottages and reported that “The interesting single cottage for a workman, designed and carried out under the direction of Mr. W. Troup, shows an arrangement on both ground and first floor which within certain limits it would be difficult to better.  Built on the side of a hill, a portion of the basement is naturally utilized for a tool-house, coal-shed, etc.  The plan of both ground and first floor is very simple.  A living-room entered from a little porch or lobby, that is reached by a flight of external steps, with a parlour on the right and scullery on the left, is followed by an almost similar arrangement of rooms on the first floor, approached by a staircase leading off the living-room; a passage or landing at the head of the stairs connects the three rooms, the bedroom on the left running over the porch and steps.  The rood is covered with brown tiles, the first floor hung with bright red.  The shutters to the windows are required, and not placed there merely for ornament, as the tenant will occasionally lock up and leave the house.  Up to the first floor the walls are of brick.”  The gradient that the cottage is built on, as shown in the lower picture above, could easily be the steep gradient of Kings Road and Foundry Lane.

Entrance hall with Godfrey Blount's frieze
Inside Sandhouse, F.W.Troup


Sandhouse in Sandhills, Wormley was Troup’s showcase house.  Budgen describes it as “quite remarkable…the elevations are built up in polychrome brickwork, the blue headers forming a pronounced diaper pattern which must have been extremely bright when first built” and links this pattern to Ruskin’s ‘structural polychromy’.  Weaver’s “enthusiastic review of the house for Country Life says that ‘in Sandhouse we have a home where the crafts have had full sway, and its architectural atmosphere befits its owners’”.  Whilst this is no doubt his genuine opinion, it is interesting that from reading Weaver’s Leadwork: Its Art and History it is evident that Weaver and Troup were close friends.   Descriptions of the house include “the dining room (where) the ceiling timbers were left rough-sawn and simply white-washed.  Godfrey Blount’s plaster frieze in the hall was a later addition which detracts from the simplicity of the space.  The craftwork evident throughout the building comes to a climax in the leadwork – in the stable clock, the dormer above the porch and ornate rainwater heads and down pipes.  Next to the tall central bay on the garden front is a rainwater head based on those Troup restored at St John’s, Oxford.” (Jackson, ibid).
The Arts Connected with Building (front page), 1909

Troup contributed the chapters ‘External Leadwork’ and ‘The Influence of Material on Design in Woodwork’ to The Arts connected with Building (B.T.Batsford, 1909).  This is a collection of lectures on craftsmanship and design delivered at Carpenters Hall, London Wall to the Worshipful Company of Carpenters.  This book also contained chapters from notable arts and craftsmen of the time, a number of which are linked to the Haslemere area: Romney Green (working in Foundry Meadow in the early 1900s), C. F. A. Voysey (who built houses on the Hogs Back, Guildford and Norney all nearby to Haslemere), M. H. Baille Scott (who lived in Haslemere in 1912, two houses in Grayshott have been identified as being built during his residence), Guy Dawber (who became president of RIBA) and Charles Spooner (who built St Christopher’s Church in Haslemere, and also lectured at the Central School of Arts and Crafts).
Jackson, F.W.Troup, Architect 1859-1941, Building Centre Trust, 1985

Thereafter Troup's practice was reasonably prosperous, punctuated by a small number of really large jobs, Thistlegate House, Charmouth, Dorset in 1911, Blackfriars House, New Bridge Street, London in 1913, Cambridge University Press in 1920 and from 1921 the Bank of England where his scheme was superseded by that of Sir Herbert Baker, and he was a supervising architect to the Bank of England and prepared designs for the rebuilding of the Threadneedle site. In that year he entered into a partnership with Harold Rooksby Steele which lasted until February 1941 when Troup retired.
Wardrobe designed by Francis Troup, made by Edward Barnsley, 1931, Victoria & Albert Museum

Troup was an Arts and Crafts man throughout his life with a particular interest in leadwork and was an excellent craftsman himself.   He designed the walnut and mahogany and cedar lined wardrobe above for his own home.   The V&A state "It is thought that the sliding handles which conceal keyholes on the cupboard doors were probably his idea. However, the form and materials of the wardrobe are characteristic of Barnsley’s work. In particular, the framed-panel construction of the wardrobe doors and sides, the use of light-coloured wood, and the inclusion of graduated drawers (increasing in depth towards the bottom) are all features commonly found in Barnsley's work".   
Troup, Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen Square, London: The Great Hall, 1918


Troup was an active member of the Art Workers Guild, being Chairman in 1905-6, and Honorary Secretary 1907-19.  Troup became Master of the Art Workers Guild in 1923.  He was Honorary Secretary of the SPAB in 1940.  
Cheap cottage, Letchworth, F.W.Troup, 1905
F.W.Troup, 1905
F.W.Troup, 1905

There is a Francis William Troup archive at the RIBA Library (Royal Institute of British Architects) which has pictures of some of Troup’s commissions.  It contains many pictures of Sandhouse, Witley, but also a house similar in style to the Dye House on Kings Road: 124 Wilbury Road, Letchworth.  It is noted that this house ‘This three bedroom timber cottage was the winner of a competition for a timber cottage costing not more than (£)150 entered at the 1905 Cheap Cottage Exhibition at Letchworth. It has since been altered and extended’.   Budgen notes that “from about 1905, Troup designed a series of very small cottages that he felt offered an inexpensive means of obtaining a roof over ones head.  His first design, for E.P.King, was built in Downton, near Lymington Hampshire, and made use of the latest materials to produce a five-roomed two-storey cottage at the amazing price of £148.  The timber framed building was set on a concrete raft and faced with rendered steel laths and roofed with tiles.” (Budgen, ibid).  It seems clear that this building was designed for Ernest Powell King, Joseph's King's younger brother by two years who died in 1905.  Ernest Powell lived at Wainsford House in Lymington, and in the 1901 census Edwin Lutyens is visiting.


The Letchworth house above which was designed later that year included a walk-in larder and earth closet, and came with weather boarded walls.  His design was used as a basis for a series of designs by others to provide the market with a means of inexpensive housing for the working classes.  If the Dye House was built before these houses, which is certainly what Troup’s other buildings on Foundry Meadow in 1899 who suggest, then it would appear that Troup’s Dye House design was amended to create Troup’s new cheap cottage design.


Sources:
V&A museum-  
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O131467/wardrobe/?print=1
Dictionary of Scottish Architects-  
http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/
Francis Troup RIBA archive- 
http://ribapix.com/index.php?a=wordsearch&s=gallery&w=francis+troup&go.x=0&go.y=0&go=Go




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