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G.H.Hunt (1851-1915). Architect

 

 

George Henry Hunt was the architect responsible for the remodelling of the Hunting lodge in 1897-8, into the present Hall, built in the Victorian Jacobean Revival style and with influences of the Beaux Arts stlye. G.H.Hunt whose architectural practice was based at Evesham, along with designing the present Hall, it is mentioned he was responsible for other buildings on the Estate. Given the high standard of design of these smallholder shelters it is possible G.H.Hunt also designed these structures. At this stage this relationship is a suggestion by the author only and awaits confirmation subsequent to further research, however, it may only ever be at best, a plausible argument.

Below is the the obituary of the architect G.H. Hunt. taken from the JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL INSTITUTE OF BRITISH ARCHITECTS. Vol 30. 20th November1916

 

In his own circle of intimate friends the chief
characteristic that distinguished the late George
Henry Hunt, or “ Jimmie Hunt,” as they familiarly
called him, was the spirit and practice of devotion,
first to his old father, an architect, who still survives
him, then to his friends, and not least of all to his
chosen profession of architecture. To this marked
feature of his character must be added an extreme
generosity and a natural geniality of disposition by
which he built up friendships around him that nothing
short of death could sever. By nature of a somewhat
shy and nervous disposition, he instinctively avoided
societies and meetings (except masonic), and never
wrote or delivered any lecture or paper ; this accounts
for the fact that he did not become a Fellow of the
Institute until the year 1891, and explains why he
rarely attended its meetings in spite of the fact that
so many members of the Institute were Ms personal
friends.

George Henry Hunt was born at Evesham in 1851,
and educated at the King’s College, within the precincts
of Gloucester Cathedral. He served his articles
with Messrs. Nelson & Harvey, in the City of London,
during the years 1867-1872, and having been grounded
in the older classical tradition, he never departed far
from its influence. He could never bnng himself to
study or design anything on Gothic lines. ^ The
Gothic revival, in fact, never touched him, which is
the more remarkable as he passed through the
Academy Schools at a time when the late Sir Gilbert
Scott was giving his famous lectures. At this period he
gave a striking instance of his unselfish disposition,
for, being well in the running for the travelling studen^
ship of the Academy, Hunt omitted to send in his
drawings in order that a less fortunately situated
fellow student might obtain tbe benefits of travelling
abroad. Hunt himself did, however, enjoy this advantage
of travelling and sketching in France and
Italy for a period of twelve months in the years 1873
and 1874. He carefully studied the Renaissance work
of both countries, but it was the work of the Renaissance
in France which appealed to him most and
proved the strongest influence to the end. Hunt’s
praise was ever for France, for the people and for their
artistic methods and ideals, from which he excepted
only their characteristic ornament. This was invariably
absent from his detail ; he might be charged
with looking at Italian architecture through French
spectacles.


Being a rapid draughtsman and caring for work
only for the work’s sake, he soon entered the lists as
a competitor, and in 1875, in partnership with his
friend the late Thomas Verity, achieved an early
success with the Scarborough Spa Buildings. For
this competition Professor Cockerell was the assessor.
In the still remembered great competition in 1884
for the intended joint Admiralty and War 0£Q.ce
buildings in Whitehall, the preliminary design of
Verity and Hunt was amongst the few selected for the
second competition, and it was generally felt that this
was one of the most notable designs produced on that
memorable occasion. About the same time they won
the competition for the Nottingham Guildhall; of
this scheme a portion only was executed at the time,
but at a later period Hunt prepared carefuUy revised
plans for the ultimate completion of the buildings.
In all these joint works Hunt was mainly responsible
for the elevations and sections and for the full-size
details. He was always willing and ready to enter
into[some competition or to work jointly with anyone
who had gained his sympathies, so that during his
whole career there was hardly ever a time when he
was not collaborating with one of his friends.

Always ready to give a helping hand to students or
young architects in their earliest efforts. Hunt treated
his pupils and assistants with the greatest consideration,
succeeded in drawing out of them their best
efforts, and inspiring them with enthusiasm for their
work. Genial by nature, he hated gloom, and once
caused much amusement in his office by countering
the pessimism of an assistant by giving him a penny
to make his usual glass of beer for lunch into threepennyworth.
In his architectural work Hunt was most careful,
accurate and painstaking. His schemes were built
up by assembling parts previously well studied.
Joined piece by piece, ^ these he would then compel to
‘‘ come together ” to his liking. He worked on these
lines rather than by dealing with the problem before
himj^as a whole, and then developing detail of a
scheme whose main lines had been unalterably determined
upon.

With Hunt neatness was almost a fetish, and unless
a drawing was clear, accurate and clean he could not
realise its intention or work with any satisfaction
upon it. Looking at the immense amount of care that
was bestowed upon all his work, it is surprising that
Hunt accomplished so much. Upon one occasion he
sent some quarter-scale '' sketches ” (as he called
them) for a new chancel to a small country, church in
Ireland, and the first intimation he received of their
arrival was in about twelve months’ time when photographs
of tbe executed work were enclosed. He had
few or no real interests outside his chosen work,
always excepting the companionship of his friends.
Having no hobbies nor any liking for sport except
cricket and shooting earlier in life, he laboured
incessantly at architecture, in which he took a real
delight. As building, his work was always strong and
substantial, and Hunt had a' way of getting it well
built, not by bullying, but by the scorn he expressed
for anything shoddy or faked, and by the interest he
inspired in aU who were concerned in its execution,
whether as assistants, builders, foremen or workmen.
The accompanying list of works will give some idea
of the extent of his practice, but it should be pointed
out that it was in municipal and bank architecture
that Hunt was always at his best. Probably the
Guildhall at Gloucester, the city of his earliest attachment,
is the work by which he is best represented.
His death took place on Tuesday, 17th August, at
his father’s house at Evesham, where he was accustomed
to spend more than half his time, and where
he carried on a country practice. His death followed
an illness of only two weeks’ duration, and has thus
ended a professional career which has invoked the
deepest feelings of affectionate regard. Such memories
are due to his unselfish and sympathetic disposition,
and to a kindliness extended to all, and not
least to those architects and students with whom
during a life of 64 years he had entered into the most
genial relations.

Mr. G. H. Hunt’s Frinoiral Works.

In conjunction with the late Thomas Verity, — The Spa and
Houses at Scarborough ; Nottingham Guildhall ; Nottingham
University (Alterations) ; Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington
(Alterations) ; Admiralty and War Of&ce Competition.
With Mr, William Harvey, — ^Two Extensions to the West
London Hospital ; Competition designs for King’s College Hospital.
Premises for the Capital and Counties Bank. — Threadneedle
Street, Head Office j Kingsway ; King William Street ; Evesham
; Chippenham ; Guildford ; West Worthing ; Landport ;
Cambridge ; Gloucester ; Littlehampton j Cranleigh ; Lydney ;
Ginderford ; Newent ; Abergavenny ; Stow-on-the-Wold ;
Broadway ; Moreton-in-Marsh ; Cheltenham.
Miscellaneous Works, — ^The Guildhall, Gloucester ; Manchester
Ship Canal Offices ; Drill Hall, Patricroft ; Parr’s
Bank, Seven Kings ; German Bank, St. Peter’s AUey ; Premiated
design for the Birmingham Law Courts ; Large Offices
and Buildings, Hong Kong (with Mr. J. Orange).
Domestic Work, — ^Houses, Chester-le-Street, I^rd Cathcart ;
Englethwazte, Cumberland ; Sand Hutton, Yorkshire ; and at
Chelmsford, Enfield, Northwood, Hayes, Guildford, Hillingdon,
and Elstree,


Various Buildings at Evesham. — Cottage Hospital ; Alterations
and Jubilee Clock Turret, the Town Hall ; Free Library
and Assembly Room ; Workhouse Buildings ; Printing Works ;
Several shops and premises ; Roman Catholic Schools ;
Priest’s House ; Rowing Club Boathouse ; Conservative Club ;