Isaac Barradale and No.3 Greyfriars

22Modelling parts of cities we often come across interesting architectural connections. This is a good example, it’s St. George’s Chambers at No.3 Greyfriars in Leicester, which was originally the offices of Isaac Barradale FRIBA (1845-1892) a leading architect in the Arts & Crafts movement in Leicester and the East Midlands in the latter part of the 19th century. He was responsible for the design of many private houses in and around Leicester and a number of commercial buildings, He was regarded by Pevsner as arguably the finest architect of the Arts and Crafts movement in the country. He was articled to William Flint and set up his own business in 1870. Barradale had an important influence on the appearance of Leicester especially in Stoneygate where he popularised the English Domestic Revival Style for housing. It was Barradale to whom Ernest Gimson, the renowned arts and crafts architect and furniture maker, was articled between 1881 and 1885. Barradale’s ‘Leicester Style’ was characterised by tall gables, rough cast walls, heavy timbering and small-paned windows. He  designed St George’s Chambers himself and shared the building with other professionals. The fine domestic revival façade which shows all the characteristics of his style was illustrated in the 13th September, 1878 edition of the Building News (see below), not long after it was built. What is remarkable is how little the building has changed and how timeless, well mannered and yet innovative it has remained, fitting comfortably and with great charm and humanity between its neighbours in this historic part of Leicester. It would be pleasing to think that more contemporary architects could design and build their own offices and indeed buildings for their clients to be so polite, humane and timeless, particularly in historic parts of our towns and cities.Barradale Offices Greyfriars (small)

About Douglas Cawthorne

Reader in Digital Heritage at De Montfort University.
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