Eunice and Ron Shanahan have shared with readers of the Victorian Web this material from their website, Letters from the Past. Click on thumbnails for larger images.

The writer, Joseph John Scoles was born in London on 27 June 1798, the son of Matthew Scoles who was a joiner. Scoles was apprenticed in 1812 to Joseph Ireland, the leading Roman Catholic architect of the time, to whom he was related through his mother. In 1822 he left England, with Joseph Bonomi Junior and travelled extensively on the Continent and in Sicily, Greece, Egypt and Syria, devoting himself to both architecural and archaeological research.

In 1835 Scoles was one of the original fellows of the Institute of British Architects, acted as honourary secretary from 1846 to 1856 and was vice-president in 1857-58. He read a number of papers at its meetings, principally on the monuments of Egypt and the Holy Land. Scoles made his reputation as a designer of churches, nearly all Roman Catholic, and at the time this letter was written, was engaged in designing St George's at Edgbaston, Birmingham; St. James's Church at Colchester; the observatory at Stonyhurst College, Lancashire and St. Mary's Church Newport Monmouthshire.

He died at his home in Hammersmith on December 29, 1863, leaving four sons and eight daughters by his wife Harriott, daughter of Robert Cory of Great Yarmouth. Surprisingly, there are no details in the biography of any work carried out for Robert Hay at Ormiston Hall, Tranent, as suggested by his comments in this letter.

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Last modified 30 May 2010