Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ivory, Thomas (1709-1779)

1320806Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 29 — Ivory, Thomas (1709-1779)1892Bertha Porter

IVORY, THOMAS (1709–1779), architect, practised his profession in Norwich. He was admitted a freeman of the town as a carpenter 21 Sept. 1745. He lived in the parish of St. Helen. At Norwich he designed the assembly house (1754), afterwards used as the Freemasons' Hall (lithograph by James Sillett of Norwich; view on King's map of Norwich, 1766; on reduced scale in Booth, Norwich, 1768, frontispiece); the Octagon Chapel in Colegate Street (1754–6), a handsome building in the Corinthian style (views, Sillett, King, and Booth, as above); and the theatre (1757), called Concert Hall before 1764, of which he is said to have been the proprietor. The interior of the last was a copy of the old Drury Lane Theatre, and Ivory is said to have been assisted in his design by Sir James Burrough (1691–1764) [q. v.] (view on King's map of Norwich; Booth, ii. 13). He obtained a license for his company of players to perform in Norwich in 1768, and in the same year ‘Mr. Ivory of Northwitch’ sent competition drawings for the erection of the Royal Exchange in Dublin (Mulvany, Life of Gandon, p. 30). Ivory is also said to have designed the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. He died at Norwich on 28 Aug. 1779. His widow died on 18 June 1787, aged 80. A handsome monument to their memory is in the cathedral. In his will Ivory is described as ‘builder and timber merchant.’ Of his two sons, Thomas was in the revenue office, Fort William, Bengal, and William, architect and builder in Norwich, erected a pew in St. Helen's Church in 1780, and died in King Edward VI Almshouses, Saffron Walden, on 11 Dec. 1837, aged 90.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Dict. of Architecture; Browne's Norwich, 1814, pp. 47, 49, 124, 149; Woodward's Norfolk Topographer's Manual, pp. 110, 113, 114; Booth's Norwich, ii. 602; Stacy's Norwich, p. 94; Gough's Brit. Topogr. ii. 13; Architectural Mag. 1837, p. 96; Probate Registry, Norwich; information from the Rev. Albert J. Porter, T. R. Tallack, esq., and Lionel Cust, esq.]

B. P.