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Saunders, George (1762-1839) (DNB00)

SAUNDERS, GEORGE (1762–1839), architect, was born in 1762. In 1780 he designed the façade which was then added to the theatre in New Street, Birmingham, and which still remains, having survived the destruction of the main building by fire in 1820. In 1790 he published a ‘Treatise on Theatres,’ with plates chiefly copied from Dumont's ‘Salles de Spectacles.’ In 1795 Saunders was employed by Lord Mansfield to enlarge Caen Wood, his residence at Highgate. In 1804 he designed, for the trustees of the British Museum, an extension of Montagu House, consisting of a suite of thirteen rooms, in which were subsequently arranged the Townley marbles and other Greek and Roman antiquities. The gallery was opened by Queen Charlotte in June 1808 and removed about 1851 to make way for the enlargement of the new building. Saunders held the post of surveyor for the county of Middlesex, and for twenty-eight years was chairman of the commission of sewers. He was a member of the committee of three magistrates appointed to report upon the public bridges of Middlesex in 1826. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1808 and also became a fellow of the Royal Society. Saunders published in 1805 a valuable paper on ‘Brick Bond as practised at Various Periods,’ and others on ‘The Origin of Gothic Architecture’ and ‘The Situation and Extent of the City of Westminster at Various Periods’ were printed in ‘Archæologia’ in 1811 and 1833. He died at his residence in Oxford Street, London, in July 1839. A marble bust of him by Cheverton, after Chantrey, belongs to the Royal Society of British Architects.

[Dict. of Architecture; Gent. Mag. 1839, ii. 321; Edwards's Founders of the British Museum, 1870, p. 392; Papworth's Views of London, 1816.]

F. M. O'D.