Richard Norman Shaw RA (7 May 1831 – 17 November 1912), also known as Norman Shaw, was a British architect who worked from the 1870s to the 1900s, known for his country houses and for commercial buildings. He is considered to be among the greatest of British architects; his influence on architectural style was strongest in the 1880s and 1890s.[1]

Richard Norman Shaw
Richard Norman Shaw

(1831-05-07)7 May 1831
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died17 November 1912(1912-11-17) (aged 81)
London, England
Agnes Wood
(m. 1867)

Early life and education


Shaw was born 7 May 1831 in Edinburgh, the sixth and last child of William Shaw (1780–1833), an Irish Protestant and army officer, and Elizabeth née Brown (1785–1883), from a family of successful Edinburgh lawyers. William Shaw died 2 years after his son's birth, leaving debts. Two of Shaw's siblings died young and a third in early adulthood. The family lived first in Annandale Street and then Haddington Place. Richard was educated at an academy for languages, located at 3 and 5 Hill Street Edinburgh until c.1842, then had one year of formal schooling in Newcastle, followed by being taught by his sister Janet. The eldest surviving child Robert had moved to London to work; the rest of the family followed about 1846, living in Middleton Road, Dalston. Richard began his apprenticeship almost immediately at an unknown architect's practice. By 1849, he had transferred to the London office of sixty-year-old William Burn, [2] at whose practice Shaw remained for five years. He attended the evening lectures on architecture given at the Royal Academy of Arts by Charles Robert Cockerell.[3] He met William Eden Nesfield at the Royal Academy, with whom he briefly partnered in some architectural designs. During 1854–1856, Shaw travelled with a Royal Academy scholarship, collecting sketches that were published as Architectural Sketches from the Continent, 1858. On his return to London he moved to George Edmund Street's practice.[4]



In 1863, after sixteen years of training, Shaw opened a practice for a short time with Nesfield. In 1872, he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy.[4]

Shaw worked for, among others, the artists John Callcott Horsley and George Henry Boughton, and the industrialist Lord Armstrong. He designed large houses such as Cragside, Grim's Dyke, and Chigwell Hall, as well as a series of commercial buildings using a wide range of styles.[4][1]

Shaw was elected to the Royal Academy in 1877,[4] and co-edited (with Sir Thomas Jackson RA) the 1892 collection of essays, Architecture, a profession or an Art?.[5] He firmly believed it was an art. In later years, Shaw moved to a heavier classical style which influenced the emerging Edwardian Classicism of the early 20th century. Shaw died in London, where he had designed residential buildings in areas such as Pont Street, and public buildings such as New Scotland Yard.

Shaw's early country houses avoided Neo-Gothic and the academic styles, reviving vernacular materials like half timber and hanging tiles, with projecting gables and tall massive chimneys with "inglenooks" for warm seating. Shaw's houses soon attracted the misnomer the "Queen Anne style". As his skills developed, he dropped some of the mannered detailing, his buildings gained in dignity, and acquired an air of serenity and a quiet homely charm which were less conspicuous in his earlier works; half timber construction was more sparingly used, and finally disappeared entirely.[4][6]

Family and later life


On 16 July 1867, Shaw married Agnes Haswell Wood at the parish church in Hampstead.[7] She was the daughter of James Wood and was born in New South Wales, and most of the Wood siblings were sent to England for part of their education. All the children but Agnes returned to New South Wales and from there, most of the family moved to Christchurch in New Zealand. Agnes lived with an aunt in England and in 1866, she became engaged to Shaw. Her nephew, Cecil Wood (1878–1947), was gifted at drawing and Shaw's career is assumed to have been an influence in Cecil Wood becoming an architect.[8]

In later life he lived at 6 Ellerdale Road, Hampstead, London.[9][10] He died in London and is buried in St John-at-Hampstead Churchyard, Hampstead, London.

Bedford Park, London


One of Shaw's major commissions was the planning and designing of buildings for Bedford Park, London. Shaw was commissioned in 1877 by Jonathan T. Carr though his involvement only lasted until 1879.[11] He designed St Michael and All Angels, Bedford Park, as the Anglican parish church for the development.

Built work

Place Location County/Country Date Listed Notes
Holme Grange School Wokingham Berkshire 1883
Greenham Lodge Berkshire
Highdown School Emmer Green, Reading Berkshire 1878–1880
Dawpool Cheshire Demolished 1927.
All Saints’ Church, Youlgreave Youlgreave Derbyshire 1869–1870 Restoration.
St Giles' Church Longstone Derbyshire 1872–1873 Restoration.
Flete House Devonshire
House of Bethany St. Clement's Road, Bournemouth Dorset 1874–1875
Bryanston School Dorset 1898
St Swithun's Church Bournemouth Dorset 1876-1877 II Grade II listed church.[12]
St Michael's Church Bournemouth Dorset 1875 II* Nave of a Grade II listed church.[13]
Bannow St Leonards-on-Sea East Sussex 1877 Tile-hung, timber-framed construction originally featuring a museum room with skylight. Designed for the Rev. John White Tottenham; now a retirement home.[14]
Baldslow Place St Leonards-on-Sea East Sussex 1888 Originally the Ebden family home, now Claremont School.
Chigwell Hall Chigwell Essex 1876 The building is now owned by the Metropolitan Police.
St John's Church Boxmoor Hertfordshire 1874 II Grade II listed church.
Flora Fountain Mumbai India 1864
Gawsworth Old Rectory Gawsworth Cheshire 1873 I Restoration.
Alcroft Grange Tyler Hill, Canterbury Kent 1880s[15] Now divided into 4 wings.[16]
Swanscombe Church Kent
4 – 6 Page Heath Lane Bickley Kent 1864
The Corner House 114 Shortlands Road, Beckenham Kent 1869
Hillside Groombridge Kent 1871 Grade II Listed, considered most typical of his work in Kent[17]
Bailiff's Cottage Bromley Palace Estate, Bromley Kent 1864 Demolished.
Town Hall Market Square, Bromley Kent 1863 Unexecuted.
Albion House James Street, Liverpool Lancashire 1896–1898
1–2 St. James Street London 1882–83[18]
Grim's Dyke Harrow London 1870 II[19]
New Zealand Chambers Leadenhall Street London 1871–1873[18] Destroyed by enemy action, WWII. Featured Ipswich windows.
Lowther Lodge Kensington London 1873–1875 Headquarters of the Royal Geographical Society.
6 Ellerdale Road Hampstead London Built for himself.
8 Melbury Road Kensington London 1872–1873[20] Built for painter Marcus Stone.
Woodland House 31 Melbury Road, Kensington London 1876–1877[20] Built for painter Luke Fildes.
Kelston 42 Netherhall Gardens, Hampstead London 1878 Built for painter Edwin Long; subsequently the home of Edward Elgar 1912–1921. Demolished in the 1930s.
Swan House 17 Chelsea Embankment London 1875–1877
Ellern Mede 31 Totteridge Common, Barnet London 1877
Bedford Park Chiswick London 1879–1882 The first "garden city" suburban development: housing, including St. Michael and All Angels Church.
Albert Hall Mansions Kensington Gore London 1879–1886
Tabard Hotel Chiswick London 1880 II*
Bolney House Kingston House estate, London Knightsbridge London 1883 Demolished in the 1960s.
Norman Shaw Buildings Thames Embankment London 1887–1906 Originally built as the new headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, and the first location to be known as New Scotland Yard. The two buildings are now used as Parliamentary offices.
Kate Greenaway House Frognal London 1885
1 St. James's Street London 1904
Trevanion Totteridge Lane, Barnet London 1883–1884
Piccadilly Hotel Piccadilly Circus London 1905–1908 His last work.
Gatehouse to Banqueting Hall Jesmond Dene Newcastle upon Tyne 1869–1870
Cragside Rothbury Northumberland 1869/1870–1885 The first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity; built for Lord Armstrong.
Chesters Northumberland
Preen Manor Shropshire
Adcote Little Ness Shropshire 1876–1881
Knight's Bank Farnham Surrey 1868 Demolished 1932.
Pierrepont and Merrist Wood Surrey
WoodPecker Lodge Holly Lane, Worplesdon Surrey 1930 11 Also known as North Lodge. Built in the twentieth century as a replica to the opposite south lodge.
Pierrepont House Frensham Surrey 1876–1878
Alderbrook Park Cranleigh Surrey 1881 Demolished 1956 – house for Pandeli Ralli.
Leyswood Withyham Sussex 1866–1869
Bannow St. Leonard's Sussex 1877–1879 Private house, now nursing home.
Withyham Sussex 1867
Gorehill Petworth West Sussex 1871
Old School House Hammerwood, Nr East Grinstead West Sussex 1872[21] II[22] Formerly the village school.
Wispers West Sussex 1874–1876
White Lodge and White Lodge West Bingley West Yorkshire
Bradford City Hall extension Yorkshire 1909
Holy Trinity Church Bingley Yorkshire 1866–1868 Demolished 1974.

See also



  1. ^ a b "Richard Norman Shaw". 18 November 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  2. ^ page 14, Richard Norman Shaw, 2010, Andrew Saint
  3. ^ page 15, Richard Norman Shaw, 2010, Andrew Saint
  4. ^ a b c d e Chisholm 1911.
  5. ^ Richard Norman Shaw, editor: Architecture: A profession or an art: thirteen short essays on the qualifications and training of architects, London, Murray, 1892. Contributors include: R. Norman Shaw, J. T. Micklethwaite, Reginald Blomfield, G.F. Bodley, Mervyn Macartney, Ernest Newton, Edward S. Prior, John R. Clayton, Basil Champneys, W.R. Lethaby, W.B. Richmond, Gerald Horsley and T.G. Jackson.
  6. ^ Hill, Rosemary (29 March 2008). "Rosemary Hill on the architect Richard Norman Shaw". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Married". The Press. Vol. XII, no. 1520. 21 September 1867. p. 2. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  8. ^ Helms, Ruth (1996). The architecture of Cecil Wood (PDF) (PhD). University of Canterbury. pp. 10–12.
  9. ^ "Richard Norman Shaw". Blue Plaques Guide. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Richard Norman Shaw's house, 6 Ellerdale Road, Hampstead, London | RIBA". RIBApix. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  11. ^ page 2, Bedford Park the first Garden Suburb, 1975, T. Affleck Greeves
  12. ^ Stuff, Good. "Church of St Swithun, East Cliff and Springbourne, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole". Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  13. ^ "1875 – St. Michael's Church, Bournemouth, Dorset". Archiseek - Irish Architecture. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  14. ^ Royal Academy of Arts, Design for Bannow, St Leonards, Sussex: working drawing: plans and elevations of morning room, waiting room and hall chimneys, January 1878 (object No. 08/921). Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  15. ^ John Martin. "Y900003 / Youth Hostels Association (England and Wales) / Historical listing of all youth hostels and associated accommodation" (PDF). Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  16. ^ "Check out this property for sale on Rightmove!". Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  17. ^ Newman, John (1983). North East and East Kent (The Buildings of England, 39) (Third ed.). Penguin Books. p. 117. ISBN 9780140710397.
  18. ^ a b John Bold; Tanis Hinchcliffe; Scott Forrester (27 January 2009). Discovering London's Buildings: With Twelve Walks. frances lincoln ltd. pp. 105–. ISBN 978-0-7112-2918-1. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  19. ^ Historic England. "GRIMSDYKE, Harrow (1079676)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  20. ^ a b "Survey of London: volume 37: Northern Kensington". British History Online. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  21. ^ Nikolaus Pevsner (ed Iain Nairn); The Buildings of England, Sussex; Penguin, 1965
  22. ^ Historic England website; number 1028407


  • T. Affleck Greeves, "Bedford Park the first garden suburb". Anne Bingley, 1975. ISBN 0851575145.
  • Andrew Saint, Richard Norman Shaw, revised edition, 2010.ISBN 978-0-300-15526-6.
  • Hitchcock, Henry-Russell. Architecture: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. 2nd ed. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1963. ISBN 9781258016258
  • Jones, Edward, & Christopher Woodward. A Guide to the Architecture of London. 2nd ed. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1992 ISBN 9781780224930
  • Norman Shaw's Letters: A Selection, Architectural History, Vol. 18 (1975), pp. 60–85, Published by: SAHGB Publications Limited, DOI: 10.2307/1568382