All writing © 2009-2015 by Colin Salter unless indicated otherwise. All rights reserved.
More information at

Saturday, 2 April 2011


It turns out there are not one but three nineteenth century architects (at least) named Stephen Salter. What started out last week as a simple post about the achievements of one of them, turned into a confusing meander through the many many MANY Stephen Salters past and present, related to me or each other or neither.

Anyway, I have a list of architects and a list of buildings designed by one or other of them. The architects are:

Stephen Salter, b. 1801
Stephen Salter, b. 1825, d. 1896, son of the above
Stephen Salter, b. 1861, not related to the above but son of another Stephen Salter

The buildings are by and large an impressive array of public institutions. Now that I’ve had time to sort them out, I see they fall into three quite distinct groups in terms of date or location. They are:

(above) Auditorium, Adelphi Theatre (demolished 1901);
(below) Basingstoke Town Hall and Corn Market

1856  St Paul’s Church, East Moseley, Surrey
1858  Adelphi Theatre, The Strand, London
1864  Basingstoke Corn Market

(above) Christ Church, Hendon;
(below) foundation stone of the Savoy Place Laboratories,
laid by Queen Victoria, Empress of India

1881  Christ Church, Hendon, north London
1884  Admiralty, Whitehall, central London (unsuccessful submission)
1886  Physicians/Surgeons Laboratories, central London
1889  8-8a Bourdon St, London (St George’s Women’s  Shelter)

(above) 1-3 High Street, Oxford;
(below) Sandlands, Boarhill, Oxfordshire

1896  Pangbourne villas, Berks
1901  1-3 High St, Oxford
1902  94 High St, Oxford
1904  Cowley Rd Methodist Church, Oxford
1905  Sandlands, Boarshill
1908  2-4 Charlbury Rd, Oxford

That last group are by date and record all by the 1861 Stephen Salter. There is a gap in time between the buildings of 1864 and 1881 (which of course is not to say that nothing was built by any of them during that period – absence of evidence is not evidence of absence) but in fact they could all have been the work of the 1825 Stephen. And although the 1801 Stephen describes himself in 1871 as a “retired architect,” in the 1851 census he declares himself an arguably less exalted “architectural modeller.” In 1851 his son Stephen is a fully fledged “architect.” So I’m going to attribute everything up to the Bourdon St Women’s Shelter to my 1825-born cousin.

After all that, the last word goes to the youngest architect and the only one I’m not related to. The seven villas which he designed along the river Thames at Pangbourne were not well received at the time. Even 33 years after they were built, a critic wrote:
“The row of villas near Pangbourne are an example of the pretentious and expensive sort of building which has not been mitigated by gardening. These houses have been locally christened the Seven Deadly Sins, which is sufficiently indicative of the opinion of the public upon such architectural disfigurement.”

Two of The Seven Deadly Sins, Pangbourne

They clearly reflect the eclectic Arts and Crafts style of Stephen Salter the younger, and as noted by a more recent writer, from Oxford County Council,
“These particular deadly sins seem to me to have become less fatal with age! Perhaps time and gardening have now mitigated what obviously looked brash when first built. I suspect that the particular deadly sin with which they can now be associated is Jealousy. How many people who love the river would not want to live there?”

One was on the market recently for £875,000.


  1. I justwanted to say how much I enjoy your blog, which is so unique and quirky in a lovely way! Thank you :-)

  2. Love your focus on the architect Salter. Thought you'd like to know you have 1 deadly sin in the picture (the seventh) and a house from The Warren in Caversham, some 6 miles downstream.

  3. Much obliged, H. Rawlins, always glad to be corrected! The curse of trying to research ancestors who are all from the south of England when I am in Northern Britain! and can so rarely get the time to go and see things for myself. Can you tell me which is which? And are they both by Salter?

    A house by the Ryde Stephen Salter

  5. I am interested in the Stephen Salter (1862–1956) who was an architect in Oxford, Maidenhead, and the Isle of Wight. I am attempting to make a Wikipedia page about him, as there is so much confusion

    1. I wish you had written a Wikipedia page sooner! It was a real headache trying to sort out the works of them all. I hope I've got it right, and that my blog article is of some use. It was all sourced on the internet - I'm afraid I don't have any relevant family papers. If I can help at all with family background, don't hesitate to ask. Good luck!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...