Dove Brothers Ltd, builders

Scope and Content

The majority of the collection comprises financial and contractual records covering 1850-1959. Although not complete, these provide significant information about the company's construction work, including details of materials, fixtures/fittings and suppliers. The records include ledgers and cash books (19 vols); balance sheets (21 files); weekly costs/wage summaries (59 vols); jobbing books (10 vols); financial journals (8 vols); prime costs accounts (c220 files); tender, contract and estimate books (14 vols); and accounts for post-Second World War reconstruction work for various London boroughs, including Islington (1 file).

Also included are family and business correspondence (1 box; c1881-1894); apprenticeship records, deeds, wills and mortgages (1 box; - c1885-1920); photographs of building projects (1 box; c1909-c1970); and additional/ephemeral material including a decorative list of churches built or altered (c1906, with later annotations), an unpublished company history (1962) and dedication brochures (1 box; c1930-c1970).

Administrative / Biographical History

Dove Brothers Ltd was a prominent construction company based in Islington from 1781 to 1993 which worked with most of the major architects of the late 19th to 20th century. The company was founded by William Spencer Dove (1793-1869). He began as a jobbing builder and carpenter and his first major commission was the Islington Literary and Scientific Society building. His sons formed the Dove Brothers partnership in 1852 and expanded the business. Between 1858 and 1900, the company constructed 130 churches and from the 1870s onwards, built other buildings including banks, industrial premises and public buildings, predominantly in London but also across England and occasionally abroad.

Access Information

Opened for consultation by appointment, although a small number of records containing sensitive personal data are closed.

Acquisition Information

Deposited with Islington Libraries in 1983 by a director of Dove Brothers (acc. ref. 1983/001).

Other Finding Aids

A rough handlist for this material is available at Islington Local History Centre.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying is carried out at the discretion of staff, depending on the condition of the materials and according to the Local History Centre's photocopying policy, which is available on request. No photographs over 50 years old and no material over 100 years old may be copied. Copies of material still in copyright can be supplied for research use only. Written permission must be obtained from the archivist to publish or reproduce any material held in the Local History Centre. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearance from the copyright holder.


No further accruals to this collection are expected.

Related Material

The Royal Institute of British Architects holds plans, elevations and other drawings of Dove Brothers buildings, as well as specifications, schedules of works and some related correspondence (1781-1993).


The collection was used during research for 'Building in the blood: the story of Dove Brothers of Islington, 1781-1981' by David Braithwaite (Godfrey Cave Associates, 1981).

Corporate Names

Geographical Names