Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Wightwick, George

WIGHTWICK, GEORGE (1802–1872), architect, son of William Wightwick (d. 1811) by his wife Anna Maria (1779–1864), daughter of Alexander Taylor, was born at Alyn Bank, Mold, Flint, on 26 Aug. 1802. He was educated at Wolverhampton grammar school, and privately under Dr. Lord at Tooting. After professional pupilage under Edward Lapidge and an educational tour (1825–6) in Italy, he entered the office of Sir John Soane, and in 1829 opened practice at Plymouth (where for a time he was in partnership with J. Foulston), having already erected Belmont House for John Norman in that neighbourhood. In 1836 he designed the South Devon and East Cornwall hospital; this was followed by works at Crediton church in 1838 and the restoration of the church at Helston. In Plymouth he carried out the town-hall (1839–40), the congregational chapel, Courtenay Street (1848), and the Cottonian Library (1850). He designed the episcopal chapel at Flushing, near Falmouth, in 1841, and St. John's Church, Treslothan, in 1844. Wightwick, whose terms for employment are to be seen in the ‘Journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (1891, p. 161; reprinted from the ‘Architect,’ 1850, ii. 28), retired to Clifton in 1851, and subsequently to Portishead (1855), where he died on 9 July 1872. He was buried in Portishead churchyard on the 13th. He married, first, in 1829, Caroline (1808–1867), daughter of William Damant of Buckland Monachorum; and, secondly, in January 1868, Isabella (b. 1832), daughter of Samuel Jackson, who survived him.

He was a copious writer, and published, besides many pamphlets and two plays:

  1. ‘Select Views of Roman Antiquities,’ 1827.
  2. ‘Remarks on Theatres,’ 1832.
  3. Sketches of a Practising Architect,’ 4to, 1837.
  4. ‘The Palace of Architecture,’ 8vo, 1840.
  5. ‘Modern English Gothic Architecture’ in Weale's ‘Quarterly Papers on Architecture,’ 1845, 4to, pt. vii.
  6. ‘Hints to Young Architects,’ 8vo, 1846 (often reprinted).

His essay on Sir Christopher Wren won the medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects for the session 1858–9. He left various manuscripts to that body.

[Archit. Publ. Society's Dictionary; Redgrave's Dictionary of Artists; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub.; Boase's Coll. Cornub.]

P. W.