TitlePaul Joyce Archive
Admin/Biog HistoryPaul R. Joyce (1934-2014)

There is little in the way of biographical information on Paul Joyce. Born in north London, but brought up partly in Northampton, where he was evacuated during World War II, Joyce left school as a teenager and after national service went to art school. He trained as an architectural draughtsman, and in the 1970s worked for the architect Roderick Gradidge. Early in his career he became interested in one of the greatest architects of the Gothic revival, George Edmund Street (1824-81), and in the 1960s embarked on a monograph. Although he published only a little of his research, he compiled a fully documented list of works and assembled an archive of drawings and photographs of Street's buildings. For 40 years or more he was the acknowledged authority on Street and was generous with help and information. The archive also contains the large card index that Joyce compiled in the 1970s for another unfulfilled project, a dictionary of Victorian architects that he was to have written with Professor J. Mordaunt Crook. His strong interest in conservation drew him into the campaign to save Abney Park cemetery, near to his home in Clapton. His historical guidebook to the cemetery, published in 1983 (second edition, 1994), is his major published work. Please note - this description is largely based on information kindly provided by Michael Hall.

George Edmund Street (1824-1881)

Born in Woodford, Essex. A principal shaper of the architectural style later called 'High Victorian', he was also one of the most thoughtful architectural writers of his day. In 1844, aged twenty, he joined the office of George Gilbert Scott, with fellow assistants George Frederick Bodley and William White. Together they played an important role in a swift reshaping of architectural taste. Some of Street's first independent work was executed in Cornwall while he was still employed by Scott. In 1849, he established his own practice, first in London and then in Wantage, Berkshire. He served as Oxford diocesan architect from 1850 until his death. In 1856, having begun to establish a national reputation, he returned to London, renting a house at 33 Montague Place. He maintained his principal residence in London for the rest of his life, moving to 51 Russell Square in 1862 and to a great house at 14 Cavendish Place in 1870.

Street was a strenuous logician who, more effectively than any other architect of his generation, explained the rationale and modus operandi of eclectic design. He travelled widely, traversing France, Germany, and the Low Countries and following the footsteps of John Ruskin to northern Italy-all in the early 1850s. He reported on these travels with lectures and publications, and laid out his philosophical position in articles in The Ecclesiologist and two influential books on northern Italian and Spanish Gothic.

In his early use of polychromy Street was only a half step behind William Butterfield, whose church of All Saints, Margaret Street, in London (1849-59), was the first large embodiment of the fashion. Street's greatest commission, the Royal Courts of Justice [Law Courts] in London, was designed during the time when High Victorian tastes were waning. Large projects of great prestige joined the law courts in keeping Street's office fully occupied through the last years of his life. These included the nave and towered west fa├žade for Bristol Cathedral (1867-88) and an almost total reconstruction of Christ Church, Dublin (1868-78). The vastness of these projects did not deter Street from maintaining an unusually high degree of artistic control over all of them, unlike some of his contemporaries.

Street received all the honours of his profession. He was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1866 and a full member in 1871. In 1874 he was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), which he loyally accepted after Ruskin turned it down to chastise architects for their restoration practices, and in 1881, the year of his death, he served both as president of RIBA and as professor of architecture at the Royal Academy.

Street died at his home, 14 Cavendish Place, London, on 18 December 1881, after suffering two strokes. His death at the age of fifty-seven was surely hastened by the physical and emotional strain of work, and his greatest commission, the Royal Courts of Justice, was opened a year after his death. Street was buried on 29 December in Westminster Abbey, near his old friend and former employer Sir Gilbert Scott, and beneath a brass designed by George Frederick Bodley, with whom he had worked in Scott's office. His only son, Arthur Edmund Street (d. 1938), oversaw the completion of many of his works.

Please note - this description is taken from David B. Brownlee, 'Street, George Edmund (1824-1881)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [, accessed 7 Nov 2017]
DescriptionThe Paul Joyce Archive covers two key areas, the work of G.E. Street and a broader interest in Victorian architecture. Joyce conducted visits around the country to look at buildings, largely ecclesiastical, and gathered images and textual articles relating to their construction and use. He also collected original drawings, and visited home owners, clergy and record offices to view drawings and documents. The first five series cover Joyce's interest in G.E. Street. A series of index cards contain Joyce's notes on G.E. Street's practice and other Victorian architects, including research for an unpublished Dictionary of Victorian architecture. A final series contains a small amount of additional material.

Joyce often but not always recorded buildings by the town/city and county they are located in. His research covers the period before and after the Local Government Boundary Changes Act (1972), effective 1 April 1974; therefore some towns and cities may be listed in their historic counties, administrative counties or ceremonial counties depending on the date of Joyce's research.
Date1833-[c 2000s]
Extent21 boxes; 15 index card boxes; 19 portfolios
Related MaterialA large framed pen and ink birds-eye perspective of G.E. Street's competition entry for the Royal Courts of Justice [Law Courts], Westminster, London, [c 1866-c 1868], is held at the Architectural Association Archives, London. Files created by the architectural photographer Gordon Lansdown Barnes (c 1917-1985) are held at the Historic England Archive (reference GBA01) [formerly National Monuments Record]. Additional research material compiled by Paul Joyce - namely circa 700 prints showing ecclesiastical architecture - was donated to Cathedrals and Church Buildings Library located in Church House in 2016. This library was dissolved last year and the print collection is now at Lambeth Palace Library.


Image CaptionPaul R. Joyce, 1972. Copyright: Gavin Stamp
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