John Henry Chamberlain, architect, son of the Rev. Joseph Chamberlain, of Leicester, was born in that town on June 26th, 1831, and was educated at schools there and in London. At an early age he was articled to Mr. Henry Goddard, an architect of some note in Leicester, with whom he remained for several years. He became an ardent student of the works John Ruskin, and was led to visit Venice and other Italian cities, where he made careful drawings of monuments of early Gothic architecture. Returning to England in 1856, he settled in Birmingham, and in the erection of warehouses and residences endeavoured to effect an Improvement in the style of the buildings. In 1864 he entered into partnership with Mr. William Martin, and many of the most important buildings in the town were the result. In 1861 be became honorary secretary to the Midland Institute [since demolished], which office be held without interruption until the day of his death. When he undertook the management there were only a few hundred students, but through his incessant labour in developing the classes the number was advanced to four thousand. In regard to the School of Art, his work was not less notable. He was appointed chairman in 1874, and the school, under his fostering care, rapidly advanced in magnitude and influence. The Society of Artists was another organisation which engaged his special attention; he was elected a member in March, 1861, and was appointed Professor of Architecture, and in 1879 became Vice-President. He was, also, one of the first trustees of Mr. Ruskin's St. George's Guild. On October 22nd, 1885, he delivered a lecture on "Exotic Art," at the Midland Institute, and died suddenly of heart disease directly afterwards. — Wallis and Chamberlain 127-28, added by Jacqueline Banerjee



Wallis, Whitworth, and Arthur Bensley Chamberlain (compilers). City of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue. Birmingham (printed by) Hudson and Son, 1904. Internet Archive.. Web. 21 August 2012.

Last modified 25 August 2012