Frederick Wheeler (1853-1931) (FRIBA) was an architect.
Wheeler was born in Brixton, South London, in October 1853 to Christopher and Mary Ann Wheeler. He was articled to Charles Henry Driver (1832-1900) who worked on the Embankment and Abbey Mills and Crossness Sewage Works, built piers such as Southend, stations on the Brighton line and Dorking town hall. His office was at 7 Parliament Street, London SW1.
Frderick Wheeler began his career as an architect working on a number of commissions in south London. In 1880 Sussex House, on the corner of Tooting Bec Gardens and Ambleside Avenue, was constructed as the Sussex House School (now residential). He also designed a number of terraces around Mitcham Lane and Streatham station in what Pevsner calls a 'competent Queen Anne style' (Cherry/Pevsner, London 2: South 1983). At that time he favoured the use of dark red brick often carved into swags and floral designs.
Sussex House 1880 Garrads Rd, Wandsworth 'on the corner of Ambleside Avenue, by the noted local architect Frederick Wheeler' http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/download/1375/garrads_road_ca_character_statement_1998
In 1891 Wheeler was living with his wife Elizabeth (born in Dublin) at 21 Carfax, Horsham and in 1897 designed the Westminster bank in the town's main square - one of many commissions for this bank.
Best Known Works
Frederick Wheeler's best known work is St Paul's Studios on Talgarth Road, London, W14 in 1890 which have much in common with the hundreds of other domestic studios constructed towards the end of the 19th century. St Paul's Studios, Talgarth Road, were built by Wheeler for James Fairless, a fine art publisher, to house bachelor artists. Wheeler had previously built a similar house on the same street, at number 151, for Sir Coutts Lindsay, founder of the Grosvenor Gallery, which was the main showroom for artists of the aesthetic movement such as Whistler. Sir Edward Burne-Jones painted his last canvas there, and his son, also a painter, lived there for many years.
The spaces for art and life at St Paul's Studios consist of three rooms on the ground floor, a studio 30ft long and 22ft wide with a 20ft-high ceiling on the top floor, and a basement flat (which was originally for the housekeeper).
In 2003, one of these studios, once the home of Dame Margot Fonteyn, was on the market with Marsh and Parsons at £1,100,000 - exactly 1,000 times the cost of its original construction. In 2007, another was on the market for £1,200,000.
£220,000 in 1993 article on artists' studios in London http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/property-the-leading-lights-of-studio-london-the-splendid-homes-built-for-latevictorian-artists-offer-unparalleled-light-and-space-chris-partridge-reports-1458628.html
Photo of St Pauls Studios http://www.shadyoldlady.com/location.php?loc=1043
In 1895 his office was at 22 Chancery Lane, London but had also been present in Horsham since 1891 at the latest. Most of his work is in London, including the remarkable St Paul’s Studios in West Kensington, although he also designed banks, a community centre and library at Cowfold in Sussex and St James's church at Littlehampton. In 1899 (KD) his partner was Percy Dean Lodge (who may have worked at Horsham only). From 1903, when this partnership was dissolved, until 1907 he was alone and then from 1907 to 1921 C R B Godman joined him and also his son, C W F Wheeler. Father and son remained partners after 1921 in London only. Lit: BAL Biog file
In 1896 he designed an electricity transformer sub-station adjacent to the Roman Catholic church at the junction of Tooting Bec Gardens and Streatham High Road. It was built in course rubble with ashlar dressings in what is called a '15th century Gothic style' with large traceried windows. The building is listed but in 2012 appears to be in a poor state of repair. More details are at:
Streatham High Rd electricity transformer sub-station 1896 English Heritage list the building as "15th Century gothic style is a curious complement to the adjoining Church. One tall storey, three bays. Tall hipped slate roof and parapet. Large traceried windows". http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/BFAEA227-E005-484C-82B0-FA517C2DF1D7/0/StreathamHighRdStreathamHilldesignationReport.pdf
In 1897 Wheeler was commissioned by Sir Henry Harben, President of the Prudential Assurance Co., to design a convalescence home on the sea front at Rustington, Sussex. Pevsner describes this as '...dashing free-Wren design done with enough panache to give it a life of its own - a very good seaside building' (Nairn/Pevsner, Sussex, 2003). This is listed grade II.
As well as St Paul's Studios, one of Wheeler's finest buildings is the Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood, Middlesex (still intact) (1902-04) and an associated chapel which incorporates Art Nouveau designs and motifs. This was commissioned by the London County Council as a replacement for the London Hospital for Consumption and Diseases of the Chest formerly at 7 Fitzroy Square, London W1. The chapel is listed greade II*.
Whilst living for many years in Horsham, Wheeler lived in Sutton at least from 1911 in Cambourne Road and in 1922 designed a new house for his family at Cotlands, 86 Mulgrave Road, Sutton, in a style which for the first time included influences of the Modern Movement. He died here in 1931. He clearly knew Sutton well because he also designed Russettings, a house for George Smith, in 1899, at 25 Worcester Road, Sutton, which is now the London Borough of Sutton's Register Office. He was also responsible for a Westminster Bank in Sutton Court Road in 1902 and the Sutton Adult School, Benhill Avenue, Sutton, commissioned in 1909 by Thomas Wall, a local benefactor and famous founder of the Wall's company, ice cream and sausage manufacturer.
Other buildings by Wheeler's practice include:
Altered/extended: Southwater (1909-10 - with Godman) http://www.sussexparishchurches.org/content/view/322/40/
Holy Innocents Church, Southwater, West Sussex, was built in 1848 to a design by James Park Harrison (1817-1902) of London. In 1909 work commenced on the construction of a new Vestry to the south of the Chancel in accordance with plans prepared by a local architects, Wheeler & Godman. The work cost £280, of which £200 was donated by the Fletcher family, and was completed in 1910.
C R B Godman
Charles Richard Bayly Godman (1879–1946) was from 1907 the partner of F Wheeler and his son in Horsham (KD). By 1921 both Wheelers were in London and the partnership was dissolved. From then until his death Godman’s partner was Claude John Kay (b1878), Wheeler’s former assistant. They built many banks and houses and the practice still exists. In 1949 the partner concerned with church work was E W Owen (EWO) and in the 1960s and 1970s L H Parsons (LHP) and N F Gossage (see this section below) (NFG) were both active in this area. In 1994 S Reid was the responsible partner for work at Findon church. Lit: BAL Biog file http://www.sussexparishchurches.org/content/view/330/40/
Horsham Bank Buildings 1897 www.westsussex.gov.uk/apps/eLearning/Doc?id=1313 'celebrated london architect Frederick Wheeler, had office in Horsham'
The Carfax 1898 www.francisfrith.com/horsham/memories/this-was-a-new-building-when-the-picture-was-taken_5990/ http://www.hiddenhorsham.co.uk/6/6.htm
Wheeler's Contribution to Architecture
Wheeler's style can best be described as eclectic and over time he incorporated influences from the neo-classical, Queen Anne, Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau and the Modern Movement. Whilst his dependence on 'copybook' approaches to style might be criticised in the light of today's adherence to purity, simplicity and modernism, he also brought an inventiveness to his work which portrays imagination, a respect for traditional craftsmanship and a sense of humour (viz the Gothic sub-station, above). His work for the Westminster bank can still be seen on many high streets in country towns in Surrey and Sussex while his houses tended to be for rich industrialists and City traders, particularly in the villages around Horsham. His commitment to drawing on the traditions of English vernacular architecture and the use of well crafted, traditional materials means his work complements and enhances townscapes which we often take for granted but increasingly try to protect. Fortunately, many of his best buildings have survived and their qualities are now recognised by being listed by English Heritage.