Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Whichcord, John

WHICHCORD, JOHN (1823–1885), architect, born at Maidstone on 11 Nov. 1823, was the son of John Whichcord (1790–1860), an architect who designed two churches (St. Philip and Holy Trinity) in Maidstone, the Corn Exchange and Kent fire office in the same town, and various churches, parsonages, and institutions in the county of Kent (Builder, 1860, xviii. 383; Arch. Publ. Soc. Dict.)

The son, after education at Maidstone and at King's College, London, became in 1840 assistant to his father, and in 1844 a student at the Royal Academy. After prolonged travel in Italy, Greece, Asiatic Turkey, Syria, Egypt, and the Holy Land (1846-1850), and a tour in France, Germany, and Denmark (1850), he took a partnership (till 1858) with Arthur Ashpitel [q. v.] With him he carried out additions (1852) to Lord Abergavenny's house, Birling, Kent, and in 1858 built fourteen houses on the Mount Elliott estate at Lee in the same county. His subsequent work consisted largely of office premises in the city of London, such as 9 Mincing Lane, 24 Lombard Street, 8 Old Jewry, Mansion House Chambers, the New Zealand Bank and the National Safe Deposit, all in Victoria Street, and Brown Janson & Co.'s bank, Abchurch Lane. He built the Grand Hotel at Brighton and the Clarence Hotel at Dover, as well as St. Mary's Church and parsonage at Shortlands, near Bromley, Kent, where he also laid out the estate for building. One of Whichcord's best known works is the St. Stephen's Club (1874), a classical building with boldly corbelled projections, facing Westminster bridge (Builder, xxxii. 308). He designed the internal fittings for the house of parliament at Cape Town. Whichcord was often employed as arbitrator in government matters, and he was one of the surveyors to the railway department of the board of trade.

From 1854 he held the post of district surveyor for Deptford, and from 1879 to 1881 was president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, where he delivered various addresses and papers, and was largely instrumental in the establishment of the examination system (vide Transactions R.I.B.A., 1845-80).

In 1865 Whichcord unsuccessfully contested the constituency of Barnstaple in the conservative interest; he was an ardent volunteer, and became in 1869 captain in the 1st Middlesex artillery volunteers, for which he raised a battery mainly composed of young architects and lawyers. He was elected in 1848 a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

He died on 9 Jan. 1885, and was buried at Kensal Green.

Whichcord published 'History and Antiquities of the Collegiate Church of All Saints, Maidstone,' with illustrations, in Weale's 'Quarterly Papers,' vol. iv. 1854, and various pamphlets.

[Builder, 1885, xlviii. 98; Archit. Publ. Soc. Dictionary.]

P. W.