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Frederick Marrable

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Frederick Marrable (1818-1872)


1873 Obituary [1]

MR. FREDERICK MARRABLE, the eldest son of Sir Thomas Marrable, of St. James’s Palace - Secretary to the Board of Green Cloth from January, 1830, to his death, on the 19th of March, 1850 - was born on the 27th of April, 1818.

He was educated by the celebrated Dr. Burnoy, of Greenwich, and served his articles with Mr. Edward Blore, architect for Westminster Abbey, and latterly for Buckingham Palace.

In 1841 he commenced his professional career by taking chambers in Lancaster Place, Strand, and competing, though unsuccessfully, for the rebuilding of St. Giles’s Church, Camberwell, the old edifice having been destroyed by fire.

His next attempt was also unsuccessful, but owing to a different reason. Considering the then vacant ground opposite his windows an eligible site, the young architect made a clever design for a line of buildings to be called Lancaster Chambers, and applied for a lease of the ground. As, however, the completion of Somerset House was then in contemplation, this application was necessarily, and without disparagement it may be said, fortunately declined.

Shortly afterwards he moved to Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and, on the death of his father, to Rutland Gate. Here, in a locality not much suited to a person in his profession, he completed the drawings for the church of St. Mary Magdalene, Hastings, &c.

In 1853 he visited Rome, Naples, Florence, &c.

Early in the year 1856, the Metropolitan Board of Works having just been formed, he was elected to the office of Superintending Architect, an appointment which he held for five years, and which he resigned in 1861, not liking the restriction of being precluded from private practice.

The favourable testimonials he received from the Chairman on that occasion showed how fully his services were appreciated by the Board. The current of Mr. Marrable’s professional life was, however, to a considerable extent, changed by his connection with the Metropolitan Board of Works. In this position his practical knowledge and well-known integrity and independence were frequently brought to bear in a quasi-judicial position in a manner which did him great credit.

The turn thus given to his mind, and the experience which he thus gained in dealing with large questions of property, found subsequent development in various arbitrations of importance, and in dealing with the purchase and sale of property. In such practice the latter portion of his life was principally passed, and in this he attained an eminence well earned by the union of practical skill and unswerving uprightness.

Mr. Marrable’s works for public bodies are few in number. In addition to St. Mary Magdalene, before referred to, there may be mentioned St. Peter’s Church, Deptford, the Garrick Club and adjoining buildings, the offices of the Metropolitan Board of Works in Spring Gardens, the Stockwell Fever Hospital, and Archbishop Tenison’s School, in Leicester Square.

He was also the author of one of the selected designs for the improvement of Holborn Valley, in 1863, which showed a considerable amount of architectural skill and picturesque treatment. He held the appointment of Surveyor to the Royal Hospitals of Bethlehem and Bridewell up to the time of his death, which occurred very suddenly, from a fit, while he was inspecting the works of the former hospital, at Witley, near Godalming, on the 22nd of June, 1872.

Mr. Marrable married, on the 2nd of September, 1856, Madeline Frances Jane, eldest daughter of the late Mr. James Cockburn, of the Avenue Road.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 4th of March of the same year, and served on the Council in the session 1862-3.


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