Robson, Edward Robert (1835-1917)

Edward Robert Robson was born in Durham on 2 March 1835 and from 1851-53 worked in the building firm of his father. During this time he executed his first design for the Bethel Methodist Connection Chapel in Durham. Subsequently he was articled to John Dobson from 1853 to 1856. He then moved to London as an improver in the office of Gilbert Scott where he became acquainted with John James Stevenson, 1857-1860. While still in Scott’s office he commenced independent practice c.1858 as architect to the Dean and Chapter of Durham. From that year he was in partnership with John Wilson Walton (later William Walton-Wilson) and was admitted ARIBA on 6 February of that year, his proposers being Scott, Dobson and Sydney Smirke, and Fellow 18 January 1864. He was appointed architect to the Corporation of Liverpool in the same year (1864) but left in 1871 as he was not allowed to practise privately at the same time as working for them. He then became architect in the LCC London and published the highly influential ‘School Architecture’ in 1876. In the same year (1871) he formed a partnership with Stevenson, but this was dissolved in 1876. In 1884 he also became architect to the Education Department, later the Board of Education and to the Scottish Education Department. Although these roles were advisory, Robson thus had a considerable influence on Scottish school design, notably in Edinburgh where the ‘Queen Anne’ character of many of the schools reflects Robson’s work in London, albeit built in stone rather than brick. These appointments came to an end in 1904 when Robson was sixty nine, but he continued to practise from 1910 in partnership with J.J. Goll. Robson’s son, Philip Appleby Robson (1871-1951) was also a partner then and he continued the practice until 1917. Robson died at Blackheath on 19 January 1917.