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Bath Chronicle and Herald/1934/Sir Harold Brakspear dies at Bath

Sir Harold Brakspear dies at Bath




We deeply regret to announce that Sir Harold Brakspear, K.C.V.O., F.S.A., F.R.I.B.A., the distinguished Wiltshire architect, whose home was at Pickwick Manor, Corsham, died on Tuesday evening in a Bath nursing home after an illness of about a month's duration. Since Sunday the daily bulletin regarding Sir Harold's condition had been less reassuring, and Lady Brakspear had spent nearly all her time in devotedly watching at his bedside.

Sir Harold, who was 64, was the youngest son of the late Mr. William Hayward Brakspear, of Sale Bank, Cheshire. He was educated privately, and qualified as an architect by the examination of the Royal Institute of the British Architects in 1892. He was chiefly engaged in the restoration of old buildings, and his most famous achievement was the restoration of St. George's Chapel, Windsor. For this work, he was created a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.


On Wednesday, November 4th, 1930, there was a brilliant scene in this chapel, which was aptly styled "The Shrine of Chivalry," when the King and Queen attended a service in celebration of the restoration.

The King was present as Sovereign of the Order of the Garter. The Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, Prince George, Prince Arthur of Connaught, and other Kings of the Garter were present, as were the Military Knights of Windsor.

Sir Harold had a seat near the Knights of the Garter at this service, and Lady Brakspear was also present.

In the last sentence of his final report on this work to the Canon of Windsor, Sir Harold stated: "It is no exaggeration to say that at no time in its history has the structure of St. George's Chapel been so secure as at the present.:"

No tribute to the skill of Sir Harold, said the Canon, can be too high.

The restoration cost a quarter of a million, and Bath stone was employed. As a result of Sir Harold's work, the "King's Beasts" were restored to the pinnacles after an absence of 250 years.


Sir Harold's architectural work had gained him fame all over the country He restored Battle Abbey, near Pevensey, Sussex, associated with the landing of William the Conqueror, after the fire there several years ago.

He was also associated with the restoration of Workshop Prioirym Nuneaton Priory, Ludlow Church, and St. Worlos, Newport.

The mansions which he restored were Great Chalfield, Lacock Abbey, Hazelbury, Little Sidbury, and Sherborne Castle.

Sir Harold was also responsible for the restoration work at Malmesbury Abbey, and for the enrichments at the east end of Bath Abbey.

Besides being consulting architect to the Dean and Canons of Windsor, Sir Harold was consulting architect to the Dean and Canons of Worcester.


Sir Harold was a great authority on the archæology of Wiltshire, and on several occasions acted as guide to various architectural associations when they visited Bath and district. He fulfilled this duty in 1929, when the Royal Institute of British Architects made Bath the centre of a series of summer excursions, personally conducting the visitors over Lacock Abbey.

During the summer of 1930, Sir Harold acted as guide to the Royal Archæological Institute when they spent a week in Bath, and wrote the official descriptions for the tours into Wiltshire.

He was the author of many papers in various archæological journals.

In 1908, Sir Harold married Lilian, youngest daughter of Mr. Walter Somers, J.P., of Halesowen, Worcestershire.

There is a family of two—a son, Mr. Oswald Brakspear, who is a student of the Faculty of Architecture at Bristol University, and a daughter, Miss Mary Braspear.

Sir Harold underwent an operation in Bath some weeks ago.

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