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date: 13 November 2019

Bidlake, William Henrylocked

(b Wolverhampton, May 12, 1861; d Wadhurst, E. Sussex, April 6, 1938).
  • Alan Crawford

Extract

(b Wolverhampton, May 12, 1861; d Wadhurst, E. Sussex, April 6, 1938).

English architect. He was the son of a Midlands architect, George Bidlake (1830–92). After some experience in his father’s office, he worked as assistant to Robert Edis, Bodley & Garner and Rowand Anderson. He began working in Birmingham c. 1888; most of his work, which consists mainly of churches and houses, was done in and around that city. He designed and built nine churches, all but one of which belong to the late phase of the Gothic Revival: they are late Perpendicular in inspiration and inventive in detail. Each has the nave and chancel united in a single airy space. The finest is St Agatha’s (1898–1901), Sparkbrook, Birmingham.

Bidlake’s skill as a domestic architect is seen in the middle-class houses he designed on leafy suburban sites. His own home, Woodgate (1897), 37 Hartopp Road, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, and Garth House (1900–01), Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham, are good examples. Composed with careful but relaxed asymmetry and built of good materials, they recall earlier English vernacular building. They show how the English Domestic Revival of the late 19th century was intensified by the Arts and Crafts Movement. Bidlake was personally involved in the movement which flourished in Birmingham at the turn of the century. He also played an important part in the development of architectural education in Birmingham. His practice diminished after World War I, and he retired to Sussex....

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