“There is always something to discover on most of his buildings. Go and look, and then go back and look again. Look for deep red brick, strings of stones or “blues”, polychrome, timber framing and brick nogging. Look for tall chimneys, towers, turrets, oriel windows and fretted barge boards. Look for dormers, finials, castellations and balustrades. Above all look in particular for neat Gothic script, sometimes it is just a date, but often may been seen the proud, confident statement “Watson Fothergill architect”.
Ken Brand in “Get to Know Nottingham: Watson Fothergill”
Watson Fothergill was a prolific architect, designing over a hundred buildings during his working life. Below are just some of his buildings that survive today.
It is intended to add to this list with further pictures and information over the coming months…
Two villas built for “Miss Woods” in 1873, Lenton Road, The Park, Nottingham.
Fothergill’s earliest buildings in The Park, fairly modest, but full of interesting details. He went on to build many more houses in The Park. Some of them on a very grand scale.
Newspaper offices, printing works and shops for the Nottingham Daily Express and Midland Counties Courier Offices, known as the “Express Chambers”, Upper Parliament Street. Originally built in 1876 and later extended in 1899.
The corner tower and carved beast decorations high up on the building are very much in the style of William Burges – one of Fothergill’s architectural heros. Other carvings are of Gladstone, Bright and Cobden reflecting the Liberal stance of the Nottingham Daily Express.
Cattle Market, Mansfield – 1876-78
The market keeper’s residence, incorporating refreshment rooms, and settling rooms for auctioneers is the only part of the original scheme that survives. Most of the rest of the site was cleared for new swimming baths.
The client for the cattle market was the Mansfield Improvement Commission, the chairman of which was Robert Mackie Watson – Fothergill’s half-brother.
1877-1882 the new Head Office for the Nottingham & Notts Bank on Thurland Street. This banking company was to become a regular client of Fothergill.
The imposing central tower – functional as well as decorative – housed the ventilation system. The three friezes, high above, depict the three main industries of Nottinghamshire at that time; farming, mining and textiles. High up at the base of a chimney is a stone monkey; maybe a reference to the burden of a mortgage from a bank being like a “monkey on one’s back”.
Shops, Houses and Carriage House – 1882
Castle Road/Hounds Gate, Nottingham
Fothergill’s buildings, commissioned by Mr C. Tate, are a wonderful solution to a difficult sloping, corner site with a complex roof line and a rounded turret to emphasis the corner of the street.
Today these buildings are home to The Castle pub and a bistro appropriately named “Fothergill’s”.
Norris Homes – 1893
Berridge Road, Sherwood Rise
Commissioned by the sister of John Smith Norris in his memory, these almshouses were originally “… for widows or spinsters being ladies of superior education reduced to indigence… …but no widow or daughter of the working classes…”. The houses are now run by Nottingham Community Housing Association.
Shop & Workshops for Mr Z. Jessop
King Street, Nottingham – 1895
In the late 1880s two new streets – Queen Street and King Street – were cut through an area of slums known as the “Rookeries”. Jessops moved from premises on Long Row to this new, prestigious department store.
The long impressive frontage is reminiscent of the work of architect Norman Shaw, particularly Norman Shaw’s large country houses.
Jessops moved out of the building in the early 1970s when they relocated to the then new Victoria Centre.
Long Row & King Street, Nottingham
This corner site was redeveloped for E.W. Skipworth, a wine and spirit merchant, whose previous shop on this corner site was a much plainer, rather unimpressive building.
The corner tourelle supported on a fluted granite pillar is a striking feature in the Old Market Square. The building feature many carvings of different creatures and beasts – like many of William Burges’ buildings. The crenellations and half-timbered gables are reminiscent of Norman Shaw’s “Cragside”.