Core Details

Actor type: Person
Full Name: John Loughborough Pearson
Notes: John Loughborough Pearson was born in Brussels on 5 July 1817, the grandson of William Pearson, topographical artist and son of a Durham lawyer. He was educated in Durham and articled to Ignatius Bonomi, the County Surveyor in 1831 with whom he remained until September 1841. He commenced practice on his own in Durham but had little work and spent the next few years in Sunderland and London, where he was responsible for building New Hall, Lincolns Inn. Having made some Tractarian connections he commenced independent practice at Delahay Street, London in 1843. He made his reputation with Holy Trinity, Bessborough Gardens, Pimlico in 1849 but at that date his clients were mainly in Wales and the East Riding of Yorkshire. In the 1850s he resumed travelling on the continent, having made an early visit to Hamburg in 1836, his studies there having a marked effect on his practice, particularly in the design of vaulting. Pearson married Jemima Christian in 1862 at Hampstead. They lived in a combined house and office at 22 Harley Street to which he had moved in 1855 or 1856. They had one son, Frank Loughborough Pearson (also later an architect), born 14 January 1864. Jemima died of typhoid fever on 25 March 1865. In the aftermath of his wife’s death, Pearson found it difficult to concentrate on work, losing his clients in East Riding. His practice picked up dramatically in 1870 with his appointment as architect to Lincoln Cathedral, inaugurating a somewhat controversial career as a restorer of major churches. The commission for Truro Cathedral followed in 1878, and in the same year he was awarded the Gold Medal at the Paris International Exhibition of 1878 and made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. In the following year he was awarded a bronze medal at the Sydney International Exhibition, and in the year after that (1880) he was made Royal Gold Medallist and elected full academician. In May 1881 Pearson moved to 13 Mansfield Street, a house by Robert Adam, but his health was severely affected by the deaths of William Andrews Nesfield, Dr Spreyers, Salvin and George Edmund Street with whom he had recuperated at St Gervais and Aix-les-Bains, and he began to depend increasingly on his assistant William Douglas Caröe to see his designs carried out. Frank Loughborough Pearson joined the office in 1881. He had been brought back from the Isle of Man in 1871 to attend Dr Spreyers' school at Halstain Lodge, Weybridge prior to being sent to Winchester. He had hoped to go to Cambridge and become a civil engineer, but was persuaded to become an architect because of the very long timescale of the building of Truro Cathedral. He had to undertake exceptional responsibilities very early as Caröe left in 1883 to become the partner of Pearson's brother-in-law Joseph Henry Christian, leaving John Ernest Newberry, only two years older than Frank, as the most experienced person in the office. Frank was formally taken into partnership in 1890. The elder Pearson died of asthenia following an operation at Mansfield Street on 11 December 1897, leaving moveable estate of about £52,000. Pearson's practice was continued by his son Frank. Reference: Dictionary of Scottish Architects (