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William Cole by Thomas Hargreaves (1822) - an assistant to Sir Thomas Lawrence who returned home to Liverpool for health reasons about 1795. Cole presumably met him in Liverpool through his work on the development of Birkenhead, in which Cole played an important role.

William Cole (1800-1892) was 'the third architect of that name to practice in Chester though his father and grandfather were primarily builders. Despite his pupillage with Thomas Harrison and his travels to Italy, Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt and Morocco, his architectural work was not particularly distinguished, although he did become "County Architect" for Cheshire following Thomas Harrison. The Cheshire Lunatic Asylum opened for the receipt of its first patients in August 1829, work having commenced in March 1827. The plans by William Cole (Jnr) County Architect having been chosen by and erected under the directions of the visiting Justices (John Feilden of Mollington, Richard Congreave of Mollington, and Townsend Ince of Christleton).

In around 1833, Cole appears to have published a book of coloured lithographs of his drawings made in Greece. Shortly after his return he designed the neo-classical chapel in Pepper Street.

Hemingway writes of his work at the Infirmary as follows:

  • "Before taking leave of the Infirmary history it will be but an act of justice to introduce the respectable name of W. Cole (Jun) Esq who was a pupil of the late Thomas Harrison Esq and who has succeeded that gentleman as our county architect. It was from the designs and plans of Mr Cole that the late valuable improvements were taken and which under his sole direction the building committee have carried into effect."

Described as "a tall, handsome, man", Cole was twice married and had seventeen children. Simpson writes that:

  • "About 1870 he went to live at Parkgate, and enjoyed good health to the last. He died in full possession of his faculties, 8th October, 1892, aged 92 years."

Works in Chester

  • 1797 - William Cole the Elder appointed contractor at Chester Castle;
  • 1811 - Wesleyan Methodist Church in St John Street by Thomas Harrison and Cole's father. William Cole II, whose son was to be Harrison's pupil, completed the working drawings and prepared specifications, fee 85 pounds. Cole evidently also acted as a contractor for masonry, carpentry and joinery, approximately half the cost of the building;
  • 1826 - St Oswald's Chapel;
  • 1826 - St Bridget's Church;
  • 1829 - Chester County Lunatic Asylum;
  • 1830 - Infirmary - It was designed by William Yoxall, but the interior was remodeled in 1830 by William Cole;
  • 1832 - New H-shaped block for 52 sleeping cells, male and female infirmaries and the matron's apartments to the north-east of the felons' prison At Chester Castle;
  • 1833 - Grosvenor Bridge completed by Cole and others after the death of Thomas Harrison;
  • 1833 - At around this time, Cole appears to have published a book of his drawings made in Greece;
  • 1834 - Methodist New Connexion Chapel in Pepper Street;

Links & Sources

  • "Select Views of the Remains of ancient monuments in Greece as at present existing from drawings taken and coloured on the spot in the year 1833": by William Cole, architect, of Chester.
  • Simpson, F., (1928). A few Cheshire worthies. Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society 28 (1). Vol 28(1), pp. 106-136.