Many thanks to the interested contributor who followed up Granville's story when it first appeared on our website, added some material on the family's financial problems, and also provided the last image. [You may use the images here without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer or source and (2) link your document to this URL or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. Click on all images to enlarge them, and for more information where available.]

Walter Long Bozzi Granville (1819-74)had an illustrious background, but it was not quite unspotted. He was the fourth son of the distinguished Augustus Bozzi Granville (1783-1872), who was born in Milan and led a colourful life — one of his adventures having been to help oversee the acquisition of the Elgin marbles. After leaving medical service in the Turkish and then Royal Navies, Augustus Bozzi, who had used his English grandmother's surname from early manhood, settled in Berkeley Square, London, and practised for many years as a gynaecologist and obstetrician. A long-time fellow of the Royal Society, he wrote a book urging its reform, as well as a number of accounts of his travels and medical researches.

Augustus sent all four sons to St Paul's School, where the Admission Registers record the fourth, Walter, as having been admitted at the age of 8 in 1826. The registers' brief biographical note here tells us that Walter went on to the École Polytechnique in Paris, eventually becoming Architect to the Government of India (Gardiner 274). It does not explain, however, that in the summer of 1851 both he and Augustus went bankrupt, Augustus apparently in consequence of a nursing home venture that went wrong (see last image, as well as "Petition" and "Notice"). Walter may well have been caught up in this as a surety for some of his father's liabilities. At this time, he is described an "Agricultural Implement Maker, Dealer and Chapman," living in Red Lion Square, Holborn, but his assets are said to include some architect's fees due (see "Notice"). Like so many others then, Walter must have felt that he could make a fresh beginning abroad.

The General Post Office, Kolkata.

Walter's sister, Paulina, when editing her father's autobiography, mentions something about his "many trials and sorrows" at this time (409), but her note on her architect brother says only:

He resided in India, chiefly in Calcutta, for more than twelve years, where his services were engaged for the purpose of designing and constructing the large public buildings required by the government. Retiring from his profession on his return to England in 1870, he only survived his father one year and ten months, dying suddenly in the prime of life, of disease of the heart, January 10th, 1874, beloved, esteemed, and regretted by all who knew him. [108]

Other sources supply the detail that Granville's first assignment in India was with the railway: "he worked for the Eastern Bengal Railway from 1858-63" (Welch et al. 82); and generally stress that he was appointed Consultant Architect to the Government of India specifically in order to design "major civic institutions for the capital of the Raj" (Bach 115).

The Indian Museum, Kolkata.

This remit he ably fulfilled, designing magnificent buildings for the High Court, the General Post Office and the Indian Museum there. Sadly, his complex of buildings for Calcutta University was demolished in 1861 — "a civic tragedy, perpetrated by an institution which ought to have known better" (Davies 207). Nevertheless, considering his past "pecuniary difficulties," and relatively short career in India, Granville did leave a great legacy there. He was certainly one of the foremost, if not the foremost, among "Anglo-Indian architects of distinguished talent" (Morris 24).

Sadly, Granville himself seems to have benefited little. Although the St Paul's register shows that one of his brothers became a civil and hydraulic engineer in New York, the family in England continued to have financial problems. Another brother, a clergyman, also became bankrupt later — twice, in fact: once in 1870 due to his involvement in a failed paper manufacturing venture, and again in 1873 after he entangled himself in Cornish mining speculations. Then, when Granville died, unsatisfied creditors of the "Architect and Surveyor," who by this time had addresses in Hampton Court and the City of London, went to the Court of Chancery and won a decree against his widow and executrix Louisa Emma Granville. She was subsequently obliged to advertise the outcome to any of his creditors who were not already parties to the suit (a "Call for unsatisfied creditors"). Our correspondent tells us that the value declared for probate, in the records of the Principal Probate Registry, was meagre: under £800. A troubling footnote is provided by the further information that Granville's clergyman brother's son, in other words his nephew, was actually sent to prison for fraud in the following year (see "Charles Bozzi Granville"). This brings home to us the role that the Court of Chancery could play not just in Dickens's novels, but in the lives of middle-class Victorian professionals — including architects.

General Sources

Bach, Brian Paul. Calcutta's Edifice: The Buildings of a Great City. Kolkata: Rupa, 2006.

Davies, Philip. Splendours of the Raj: British Architecture in India, 1160-1947. London: Penguin, 1987.

Gardiner, Rev. Robert Barlow. The Admission Registers of St Paul's School, from 1748-1876. London: G. Bell, 1884. Internet Archive. Web. 17 July 2014.

Granville, Augustus Bozzi. Autobiography of Augustus Bozzi Granville, M.D., FRS, — being Eighty-Eight Years of the Life of a Physician. Ed. Paulina B. Granville. London: Henry S. King, 1874. Internet Archive. Web. 17 July 2014.

Howell, W. B. "Augustus Bozzi Granville — Journeyman Physician." CMAJ. JAMC (Canadian Medical Association Journal). Vol. 25 (6), Dec. 1931: 719-25. Web. 17 July 2014.

Morris, Jan, with Simon Winchester. Stones of Empire: The Buildings of the Raj. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983.

Welch, Anthony, Martin Segger and Nicholas DeCaro. "Building for the Raj: Richard Roskell Bayne." RRCAR (Canadian Art Review). XXXIV: 2 (2009): 74-86. Web. 17 July 2014.

Newspaper Sources

"Court of Bankruptcy in Re: Granville" (showing that Granville's father first had problems because of his nursing home venture, Reading Mercury, 13 August 1851 (enlarge to read).

Augustus Kerr Bozzi Granville adjudged bankrupt for the first time. London Gazette, 6 May 1870. Web. 17 July 2014.

Augustus Kerr Bozzi Granville adjudged bankrupt for the second time. London Gazette, 10 June 1873. Web. 17 July 2014.

Call for unsatisfied creditors of Walter Granville's estate to register their claims. The Gazette: Official Public Record 15 December 1874. Web 17 July 2014.

"Charles Bozzi Granville Algernon Granville, Theft, Simple Larceny, 5 June 1875." Old Bailey Online. Web. 17 July 2014.

Notice (Walter Long Bozzi Granville's bankruptcy proceedings). London Gazette, 13 August 1851. Web. 17 July 2014.

Petition (Augustus Bozzi Granville's bankruptcy proceedings. London Gazette, 24 June 1851. Web. 17 July 2014.


Last modified 2 August 2014