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William Bidlake

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Title: William Bidlake  
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Subject: Listed buildings in Birmingham, Mortuary Chapel, Handsworth Cemetery, St Oswald's Church, Small Heath, Bishop Latimer Memorial Church, Winson Green, Emmanuel Church, Sparkbrook
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William Bidlake

William Henry Bidlake
Garth House in Edgbaston, Birmingham, designed by the architect
Born (1861-05-12)12 May 1861
Wolverhampton, England
Died 6 April 1938(1938-04-06) (aged 76)
Wadhurst, Sussex, England
Education Tettenhall College
Alma mater
Style Arts and Crafts
Awards RIBA Pugin Travelling Fellowship
Design by Bidlake for St Agatha's Church, Sparkbrook, 1899

William Henry Bidlake MA, FRIBA (12 May 1861 – 6 April 1938) was an English architect, a leading figure of the Arts and Crafts movement in Birmingham and Director of the School of Architecture at Birmingham School of Art from 1919 until 1924.

Several of Bidlake's houses in the Birmingham area were featured in Hermann Muthesius's book Das englische Haus ("The English House"), which was to prove influential on the early Modern Movement in Germany.


  • Life and career 1
  • Major built works 2
  • References 3
  • Sources 4

Life and career

Bidlake was born in Bodley and Garner. In 1885 he won the RIBA Pugin Travelling Fellowship for his draughtsmanship, which enabled him to spend 1886 travelling in Italy.

On returning to England in 1887 Bidlake settled in Birmingham where he set up in independent practice and, from 1893, pioneered the teaching of architecture at the Birmingham School of Art. Famously ambidextrous, his party trick was to sketch with both hands simultaneously.

Bidlake designed many Arts and Crafts-influenced houses in upmarket Birmingham districts such as Edgbaston, Moseley and Four Oaks (the latter then in Warwickshire and absorbed into Birmingham in 1974), along with a series of more Gothic-influenced churches such as St Agatha's, Sparkbrook – generally considered his masterpiece.

He was an associate, member, treasurer and, from 1902–1938, Professor of Architecture of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.[2]

In 1924, Bidlake married a woman over twenty years younger than himself and moved to Wadhurst in East Sussex, where he continued to practise until his death there[2] in 1938.

Major built works

The Hurst, in Amesbury Road, Moseley, Birmingham
St Mary, Wythall (redundant). Roof and tower by Bidlake.


  1. ^ "Bidlake, William Henry (BDLK878WH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ a b "William Henry Bidlake MA, FRIBA". Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951,. University of Glasgow. Retrieved 14 September 2013. 
  3. ^ The Buildings of England: Worcestershire, Nikolaus Pevsner, 1968 p268
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  19. ^ The Buildings of England: Worcestershire, Nikolaus Pevsner, 1968 p338
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  • Foster, Andy. Pevsner Architectural Guides: Birmingham. Yale University Press: New Haven & London, 2005 ISBN 0-300-10731-5
  • Crawford, Alan (ed.). By Hammer and Hand: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Birmingham. Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, 1984 ISBN 0-7093-0119-7
  • Mitchell, Trevor. Birmingham's Victorian and Edwardian Architects Phillada Ballard. ed. Oblong, 2009 ISBN 978-0-9556576-2-7.
  • Literature by and about William Bidlake in the German National Library catalogue
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