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June 8, 2009

Bradshaw & Gass

English firm of Architects founded in 1862 by Jonas James Bradshaw (1837-1912). The style Bradshaw Gass & Hope was adopted after J. J. Bradshaw’s death and refers to the remaining partners John Bradshaw Gass and Arthur John Hope.

The firm’s principle office has always been in Bolton, but branch offices were set up in Edinburgh and London when major projects were undertaken there. Although Bradshaw was capable of designing fine Gothic Revival houses, like Watermillock (1880-86) near Bolton, he mainly produced industrial buildings. The technical challenges of early iron and concrete framed factories led Bradshaw to employ his own engineers and quantity surveyors and thus found one of the first multidisciplinary practices. The emphasis on engineering in the practice seems to have benefited John Parkinson (1861-1935), Bradshaw’s apprentice from 1877 to 1882, who immigrated to America where he designed a number of high-rise buildings including Los Angeles City Hall (1928).

In the early twentieth century, Bradshaw Gass & Hope gained national prominence after winning a number of architectural competitions; the firm built seven town halls between 1928 and 1939 and extended Bolton Town Hall. During this period, Bradshaw Gass & Hope attracted many architecture students; half a dozen of these students would later head council architects departments across the country Until the 1960s most of the firms work was in the Classical idiom.

Sir George Grenfell-Baines, the founder of Building Design Partnership, worked in the Bolton office from 1930 to 1934; he was impressed by the firm’s multidisciplinary nature but dismayed by its strict hierarchical structure (at that time).Bradshaw Gass & Hope still operates from its Bolton office. In 2007 they were the subject of a monograph and their archive drawings were exhibited in London and Manchester

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