Charles Harrison Townsend, architect and designer: papers

Scope and Content

Correspondence from Charles Harrison Townsend (1872-1925); correspondence relating to Charles Harrison Townsend (1963-1983); photographs (undated); artwork (undated); family papers (1806-ca. 2003); notebooks (1820s-1927); published material (1823-1963).

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles Harrison Townsend (1851-1928) was born in Birkenhead, attended Birkenhead School and trained in the offices of Liverpool architect Walter Scott from the late 1860s until 1872. He also worked for Charles Barry jun. from 1873-1875 and E. R. Robson from 1875-1877. After moving to London in 1880, he worked with Thomas Lewis Banks for a time, before setting up his own practice in 1887.

Charles Harrison Townsend designed in the Arts and Crafts tradition and mainly produced designs for domestic and church work. In 1892 he won the competition to design the Bishopsgate Institute, and this, along with his design of the Whitechapel Art Gallery and the Horniman Museum, made his name.

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Given by Jennifer Hilton, Baroness Hilton, 2003.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: