George Corson (1829-1910) was born in Dumfries in Scotland. He is thought to have been descended from the medieval Italian architect Corsini, who had come to Dumfries to oversee the building of Sweetheart Abbey there (see "Municipal Buildings and Art Gallery"). Like his elder brother William (c.1821-1886), he trained under the fine Scottish architect Walter Newall (1780-1863). Newall had travelled in Europe and was responsible for a range of projects in Scotland, from neo-classical villas and commercial buildings to Gothic churches.

After completing his articles, Corson followed his brother to Leeds, where he was in partnership with Edward La Trobe Bateman (1816-1897), best known now as a landscape garden designer. Bateman soon moved on, and William himself went on to establish himself in Manchester, so in 1860 George Corson took over the Leeds practice. Bateman had worked in the office of Owen Jones as an illuminator, and had assisted him at the Great Exhibition (Neale 225), and something of Jones's love of colour and rich design seems to have carried over into the Leeds practice too.

The practice flourished. Corson won some important public commissions and became the first president of the Leeds Architectural Society when it was founded in 1876. He was re-elected as president for 1897-99 after the society was renamed the Leeds and Yorkshire Architectural Society and affiliated to RIBA. He was the buried in Lawnswood Cemetery, for which he had designed the chapels and layout. Like Cuthbert Brodrick, he left an indelible mark on his adopted city. — Jacqueline Banerjee


Former School Board Offices, Leeds

Bibliography and References

Barker, Paul. Leeds. London: Frances Lincoln, 2010. Print.

Bradford, Eveleigh. Headingley, "This Pleasant Rural Village": Clues to the Past. Huddersfield: Jeremy Mills Publishing, 2008. Print.

"Gravestone of George Corson at Ngr 2688 3916, Leeds." British Listed Buildings. Web. 1 March 2012.

Leach, Peter, and Nikolaus Pevsner Yorkshire West Riding: Leeds, Bradford and the North. The Buildings of England series. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2009. Print.

Linstrum, Derek. Historic Architecture of Leeds. Leeds: Leeds Civic Trust, 1969. Print.

"Municipal Buildings and Art Gallery." Discovering Leeds" ( Leeds City Council site) . Web. 1 March 2012.

Neale, Ann. The Garden Designs of Edward La Trobe Bateman (1816-97)." Garden History. Vol. 33, No. 2 (Autumn 2005): 225-255. Available on JSTOR. Web. 1 March 2012.

Webster, Christopher. Building a Great Victorian City: Leeds Architects and Architecture 1790-1914. Huddersfield: Jeremy Mills Publishing, 2012. Print.

Wilson, T. Butler. Two Leeds Architects — Cuthbert Brodrick and George Corson. Leeds: West Yorkshire Society of Architects, 1937. Print.

Wrathmell, Susan, with John Minnis. Leeds. Pevsner Architectural Guides. New Haven and Yale: Yale University Press, 2005. Print.

Last modified 1 March 2012