Webb, Aston, Sir, 1849-1930

Alternative names
Birth 1849-05-22
Death 1930-08-21

Biographical notes:

Sir Aston Webb (1849-1930), London architect, designed many large public commissions throughout England between 1875-1915; worked with E. Ingress Bell and later with his son Maurice Webb.

From the description of Sir Aston Webb drawings, 1868-1936. (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 28387913

Born, London,1849; President, Architectural Association, 1884; President, Royal Institute of British Architects, 1902-1904; Knighted, 1904; Royal Gold medallist, Architecture, English, 1905, American, 1907; President, Royal Academy, 1919; works included Buckingham Palace, Admiralty Arch, Victoria and Albert Museum, Royal College of Science and Imperial College; died, 1930. Publications: include: London of the Future editor (London, 1921).

From the guide to the WEBB, Sir Aston (1849-1930), 1908-1920, (Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine)

Aston Webb was born in London in 1849, the son of a successful painter, Edward Webb. He received his early training in architecture articled to the firm of Banks and Barry (1866-1871). When his tenure there ended he spent a year traveling throughout Europe and Asia Minor. In 1873 he won the Pugin Studentship and toured Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. On his return to London in 1874, Webb established his own architectural practice, which by the turn of the century was the largest in England. His earliest works include the Church of St. John, Oxfordshire (1875); almshouses at Worcester (1878); and a granary at Deptford (1880). Webb began working with E. Ingress Bell (1836 or 37-1914) in the early 1880s and the pair secured their first important commission with a winning design for the Victoria Law Courts in Birmingham (1886). For the next 23 years, Webb and Bell completed numerous large public building projects. The two were official partners from 1902-1909. During Webb's later career, he was assisted by his sons, Maurice and Philip.

In Webb's early design work with Bell he employed a wide variety of architectural styles. Historians consider these works his most original. They include the new frontage for the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington (1891); the Royal United Services Institute, Whitehall, London (1893-1895); the design for the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth (c.1900); and the University of Birmingham (1900-1909).

In 1901 Webb won a limited competition for the Queen Victoria Memorial and mall approach to Buckingham Palace. Subsequent work at Buckingham included the Admiralty Arch (1908-1909), and a new design for the east frontage of the Palace (1912-1913). Webb's work at Buckingham reflects an increased classical influence indicative of the times.

Throughout his career Webb worked actively in professional organizations and at promoting a professional image for architects. He joined the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1883 and served as president from 1902-1904. He was elected to the Royal Acadamy as an associate in 1899, full academician in 1903, and served as acting president from 1919-1924. Webb was knighted in 1904, received the Royal Gold Medal in Architecture in 1905 and the first recipient of the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 1907.

Webb showed political and social astuteness by repeatedly securing both public and private large scale commissions. He was a model professional, leading a conservative lifestyle and effectively managing his firm. Webb died in 1930 and is memorialized at St. Paul's Cathedral, London.

Major works include Christ's Hospital School, Sussex (1893-1902); the Imperial College of Science, South Kensington (1900-1906); King's College, Cambridge (1908); the Royal School of Mines, South Kensington (1909-1913).

From the guide to the Sir Aston Webb (1849-1930) Drawings, photographs, printed material, English architecture WEBB Accession information: 1983029., 1968-1936, (Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.)


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