Decimus Burton
(1800-1881)

Died aged c. 81

Decimus Burton (30 September 1800 – 14 December 1881) was one of the foremost English architects and urban designers of the 19th century. He was the foremost Victorian architect in the Roman revival-, Greek revival-, Georgian neoclassical-, and Regency styles. He was accomplished also in the cottage orné-, picturesque-, and neogothic styles. He was a founding Fellow and, later, Vice-President, of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and architect to the Royal Botanic Society from 1840 and an early member of the Athenaeum Club, London, whose club premises he designed and the company of father, James Burton, the pre-eminent property developer of Georgian London, built. Modern architectural historians, such as Guy Williams (1990) and Dana Arnold (2004), contend that Decimus Burton's contribution to architecture has been grossly underestimated by previous architectural historians: as a consequence of the misattribution to Nash of many of his works; of his undeserved vituperation by his neo-gothic nemesis, Augustus W. N. Pugin; and of the consequent retention of his archives by his family. Decimus Burton's projects include Hyde Park, London (including the Gate/Screen at Hyde Park Corner, Wellington Arch, Cumberland Gate, Stanhope Gate, Grosvenor Gate, and the Prince of Wales's Gate, Knightsbridge); Green Park and St James's Park; Regent's Park, London (including Cornwall Terrace, York Terrace, Clarence Terrace, Chester Terrace, and the villas of the Inner Circle (which included his own mansion, The Holme, and the original Winfield House); the enclosure of the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, from which he had Nash's Marble Arch facing the Palace moved to its present site; the Clubhouse of the Athenaeum Club, London; Carlton House Terrace; Spring Gardens, St. James's Park; and the Palm House and the Temperate House at Kew Gardens. Outside London, Burton planned, and designed architecture of, the seaside towns of St Leonards-on-Sea and Fleetwood, and of the spa town Tunbridge Wells. His development of the Calverley Estate, of which only a small proportion survives, that contained elements of the neoclassical-, the Old English-, and the neogothic styles, was highly commended: it has been described as 'a landmark in English domestic architecture'. For two decades he was engaged on a vast landscaping project to renovate Phoenix Park in Dublin. He was the architect of Dublin Zoo, and of the renewal of the sea-side resort of Queenstown. Decimus was the tenth child of James Burton, the pre-eminent property developer of Georgian London. He was taught by his father, James Burton, Sir John Soane, and John Nash. Decimus's siblings included, James Burton, the Egyptologist, and Henry Burton, the physician, and he was a cousin of the Canadian author, Thomas Chandler Haliburton, and of the British civil servant Lord Haliburton. Decimus was a leading member of London society during the late Georgian and Regency eras. He has been described, by architectural scholar Guy Williams, as 'rich, cool, well-dressed, apparently celibate, the designer and prime member of the Athenaeum, one of London's grandest gentlemens' clubs', and as one who was treated by the aristocracy 'more as a friend than as a professional advisor'. He had close friendships with Princess Victoria (the future Queen Victoria); the Duchess of Kent; William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire; John Wilson Croker; Sir John Soane, John Nash, and Sir Humphry Davy.

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Commemorated on 6 plaques

Simon Harriyott on Flickr
Nick Harrison on Flickr
Nick Harrison on Flickr
Nick Harrison on Flickr
Nick Harrison on Flickr

Decimus Burton 1800-1881 Architect of Calverley New Town 1829-1840

Calverley Park, Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom where they was

Tivoli Lodge 1830 built 1830 by Decimus Burton. The entrance lodge to Royal Beulah Spa and Pleasure Gardens

39 Beulah Hill, Upper Norwood, SE19, London, United Kingdom where they built (1830)

The Lower Lighthouse Opened in December 1840 and constructed of white sandstone. Designed by Decimus Burton in accordance with the Navigation Plan of Captain Henry Mangles Denham. From Wyre Light, at the entrance to the approach channel, the two shore lighthouses can be lined up to provide safe passage into the port. The pebble compass, set in the adjacent pavement, is a recent recreation of the original Victorian feature.

The Esplanade, Fleetwood, United Kingdom where they was

North Euston Hotel Opened in 1841 and designed in the Greek classical style by Decimus Burton. The original hotel manager was Xenon Vantini, a Corsican, who had been a courier to Napoleon Bonaparte. Luxury and full board accommodation originally cost less than 50p a day. In 1859 the hotel was sold to the Government as a School of Musketry for the military. Forty years later it resumed its role as a major hotel and is currently owned by local business families. Amongst famous visitors was the Right Honorable Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first woman Prime Minister. Wyre Borough Council

The Esplanade, Fleetwood, United Kingdom where they was

Old Custom House Built in 1838 to a classical design prepared by Decimus Burton. Early customs officers checked cargoes guano from Ichaboe, West Africa, sugar from the West Indies, flax from Russia and timber from the Baltic and Canada. Later, vessels brought wheat from San Francisco and cotton from the U.S.A. When the Custom House moved to Dock Street, the property became a private dwelling in 1876 and later the Town Council offices in 1889. When Fleetwood became a borough in 1933 it became the Town Hall. It is currently the Fleetwood Museum.

6-7 Queens Terrace, Fleetwood, United Kingdom where they was

Park Lane was famous for centuries a narrow road bounded on its west side by a high brick wall enclosing Hyde Park. It was not until the 1820's with the building of Decimus Burton's Hyde Park Corner entrance and new gates and railings did Park Lane become a fashionable area. The residents being rich and famous, Park Lane was celebrated in the works of Thackeray and Trollope. Park Lane is now famous for its first class hotels.

Park Lane, London, United Kingdom where they was