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July 7, 2009

Verity, Francis Thomas (1864-1937)

Francis Thomas Verity was born in Kensington in 1864, the son of the theatre architect Thomas Verity. The younger Verity was educated at Cranleigh School, Surrey and studied at the South Kensington Schools under the art master A.F. Brophy from 1881 before being articled to his father in 1883. While there he studied at University College under Professor Hayter Lewis and at the Architectural Association. In 1887 he entered the Royal Academy Schools, where the art master, Richard Phené Spiers encouraged him to attend the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He undertook a tour of Italy, Germany and France before entering the atelier of Jean Louis Pascal where, like Burnet before him, he became strongly influenced by Henri-Paul Nénot, architect of the new Sorbonne. On his return in 1889 he won the Tite Prize, passed the qualifying exam and was admitted ARIBA on 3 June 1889, his proposers being his father, Spiers and Arthur Cates.

In 1891 his father died and he became sole partner, inheriting his father’s post of Surveyor of Theatres to the Lord Chamberlain and being admitted FRIBA as early as July 1896. He was the architect of many distinguished theatres and London office and apartment blocks, all of which strongly reflected his Beaux-Arts schooling, their style strongly influencing the work of his pupils, Albert Richardson and Charles Lovett Gill. On the accession of Edward VII he was commissioned to redecorate the state apartments at Buckingham Palace, and in the same year (1901) as a result of administrative changes he became architect to the Lord Chamberlin’s Department.

Verity was awarded the RIBA’s London Architecture Medal in 1923. He took his son-in-law Samuel Beverley into partnership in 1930. Born in Australia in 1896, Beverley had joined his office in 1922 and been his chief assistant since the mid-1920s. They became European advisory architects to the Paramount Cinematograph Company and to the Union Cinema Company, the former appointment bringing commissions for large Paramount cinemas in Tottenham Court Road, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Glasgow and Paris.

Verity died in Bournemouth on 14 August 1937. The practice was continued by Beverley who died in 1959, and by his son-in-law, Sir Anthony Denny Bt.

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