The first in-depth biography of the architect William Henry Crossland, revealing the story behind one of the unsung greats of Victorian architecture.
Trade Information: LGENPOD
Available as: Paperback, Kindle
Specifications: 234x156mm (9.21x6.14in), 284pp
Illustrations: b&w and colour
Published: September 2020
The creative genius behind Founder's Building at Royal Holloway, University of London, arguably the most glorious building in England of the end of the nineteenth century, is widely respected and its architectural style is regarded as archetypally 'Victorian'. Yet its architect, William Henry Crossland, is little known, despite a substantial catalogue of buildings, most of which remain standing today. Bringing Crossland out of the shadows, this biography explores this mysterious and elusive figure in depth for the first time. Recently digitised documents and long-hidden archival material have thrown a powerful light on Crossland, which, together with the author's first-hand knowledge of his buildings, offer the reader an unprecedented appreciation and understanding of the man, his life and work, as well as his personal and artistic influences.
W.H. Crossland fills a gap in nineteenth-century architectural knowledge, but it is also the touching story of an ambitious and talented man, who is long overdue to be recognised as one of the 'greats' among nineteenth-century architects. This book is intended for architects, architectural historians and anyone who is interested in the built environment, nineteenth-century history and intriguing personal stories.
W.H. Crossland and Rochdale Town Hall
Read this article about one of W.H. Crossland's most celebrated buildings on Rochdale Online
Surrey Greats: Who was Royal Holloway architect William H. Crossland?
Read this article by author Shiela Binns on W.H. Crossland and The Royal Holloway College in Surrey Life
Interview with the Author
Read our interview with author Sheila Binns on our Wordpress Blog
Watch the author Sheila Binns explore Crossland's legacy as she tours the Founder's Building at Royal Holloway
List of illustrations and credits
Crossland: a note on the name
1. Early years
2. The Halifax office
3. The first Leeds office
4. The second Leeds office
5. The third Leeds office
6. London and Huddersfield offices
7. The London office: competition success
8. The London office: the big project
9. The Egham office
10. The thespian dream
11. Into obscurity
Architectural commissions by W.H. Crossland
Sheila Binns is a freelance researcher. Following a career in teaching and educational administration, an MA exploring nineteenth-century art and architecture at Royal Holloway, University of London, nurtured new interests. Frequent visits to Yorkshire provided the opportunity to examine the early career of W.H. Crossland, but the inspiration for this book was the architecture of Royal Holloway itself. Her previous publications include The Aesthetics of Utopia (2013) and Sir Edward Colebrooke of Abington and Ottershaw (2014).
In enabling Yorkshire architect W.H. Crossland to step out of the shadows, this detailed study of his life and work provides further valuable evidence of the significant contribution made by provincial architects to the richness and complexity of Victorian architecture. Professor Hilary J. Grainger OBE, University of the Arts London and National Chair of The Victorian Society
Rochdale Town Hall. Holloway Sanatorium. Royal Holloway College. The mysterious William Crossland was the architect of three of England's most impressive Victorian buildings. They should have made his fortune but this, alas, is a story of riches to rags. Taking advantage of newly-digitised newspapers, Sheila Binns painstakingly pieces together the life of a man who ended in such obscurity that not even the final resting place of his body is known. Dr Ian Dungavell, Architectural Historian and Conservationist
William Henry Crossland produced three great buildings, which are among the masterpieces of Victorian architecture, and a host of other fine work, especially in his native Yorkshire. Sheila Binns' thoroughly researched, well-written and comprehensive study rescues Crossland from obscurity, and does full justice to his varied and often fascinating life and works. Dr Steven Brindle, Architectural Historian, English Heritage