Andrew Trimen

Place of Birth
Isle of Wight

  • Born : 1810/11 Isle of Wight
  • Married (I) Ann Last on 30 May 1833 at Binstead near Ryde
  • Married (II) Mary Buttress on 11 April 1845, at St. Mary's, Spital-square,
  • Died : 17 March 1868 at 9 John Street West, Thornhill Square, Islington

Little information has been found concerning Andrew Trimen’s early life, education and training, there being no record of him as an architect in the RIBA online catalogue or the RIBA Directory of British Architects. Rather he is better known as the author of “Church and Chapel Architecture with an account of the Hebrew Church. 1,000 authenticated mouldings.” By Andrew Trimen, architect. Published 1849; second edition 1856; and third edition in 1863. Given that many of the illustrations are of his own designs, his obscurity as an architect is unusual.

Born at Newport, Isle of Wight about 1810, Andrew Trimen is believed to be the son of James Trimen, builder (1787 -) and his wife Margaret Richmond, whom he married in 1805. By the early 1840s Andrew Trimen had moved to London where he commenced independent practice and by 1851 was living in Chelsea. The Wesleyan Theological College at Queens Road, Richmond Hill, provided Andre Trimen with his first major commission. The Methodist Church had decided to celebrate the centenary of Wesley’s Ministry by building two theological institutes in the north and south of England. That at Didsbury, Manchester, built to designs by Richard Lane, opened in 1842 and survives as part of Manchester Metropolitan University. The second college, now the American International University in London, opened a year later. Set in spacious grounds on the brow of Richmond Hill, the college had 41 students in residence at its opening. Pevsner notes of the building – “Large and prosperous, neo-Tudor with a symmetrical front of fine ashlar stone with projecting wings. Four storeyed in the recessed centre, the two lower storeys taken as one. In the middle the familiar gatehouse motif.”

For the next six years Trimen continued to build up his practice with a series of commissions for non-conformist, mostly Wesleyan, chapels in London and the surrounding areas, supplemented with domestic work and the occasional foray into estate agency. He also took an active but ultimately unsuccessful role in the creation of a new railway company. By the mid-1840s railway mania was gripping England with numerous companies being formed to promote new lines. One such was the Bedfordshire Hertfordshire and Essex Junction Railway Company formed in 1845 to build a line cross-country from Harlow to Luton. At its Provisional Registration, Andrew Trimen was named not only the interim secretary but also company architect and surveyor. However, lack of financial support halted this plan and the company was finally wound up in January 1850.

In 1849 Andrew Trimen published “Church and Chapel Architecture with an account of the Hebrew Church. 1,000 authenticated mouldings,” the first major publication to consider non-conformist architecture.  The publication of this book coincided with three major commissions all in the north-west of England; the churches of St Thomas, Werneth, Oldham and St Paul’s, Kersal Moor, Salford, together with the Memorial Tower to Sir John Barrow, Secretary to the Admiralty, set high on a hill above Ulverston.  This book was re-printed in 1856 with additional engravings, including the first St Paul’s rectory in Vine Street, Kersal (demolished).

In 1850, Trimen also obtained a commission from another non-conformist group, the Congregationalists, for a new chapel in the Caledonian Road, Islington. The Builder, perhaps unable to identify the style, commented “The design which, as we are told, is Grecian and of the Ionic order, is by Mr A. Trimen.” The Congregationalists were undoubtedly satisfied with the result. When the English Congregational Chapel‑Building Society was formed in March 1852 with the intention of erecting 50 chapels in various parts of England in five years, the members sought suitable plans. Various architects who had experience in chapel‑building were invited to send in designs for chapels, and out of about eighteen received, the committee selected five as most in accordance with their views. The selected designs included “one set of Gothic and one set of classic designs, with several elevations adapted to the same plans, by Mr Andrew Trimen, of London.”  As a result of this Trimen was appointed architect for the Congregational Chapel at Craven Hill, Bayswater (1853-1854).  The design was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1854 but one reviewer was again far from impressed, having praised a design by Goldie the writer continued: “As much cannot be said of the design for Congregational Church now erecting, we are truly ashamed to find, at Craven Hill, Hyde Park, from designs by A. Trimen  .... there is a miserable attempt to mask a sprawling roof of one span by a triply‑divided end or front wall; and the shape of flying buttresses, as if from nave over aisles, is taken advantage of (the wall of course filling them up in reality), while the ridge acts as partial coping to the said roof:  such a perpetration and outrage of principle, we have not seen for a long time. [Civil Engineer and Architect’s Journal 1854]

Meanwhile construction of St Thomas’s, Werneth had begun, only for work to be stopped for some considerable time due to a contractual dispute regarding the cost and suitability of the Bath stone which he had persuade the committee to accept in place of the stone originally specified. Although versions of events vary slightly, by the time the matter was finally determined by the Courts in 1856 Trimen was left with his reputation destroyed and in considerable financial difficulty, if not actually bankrupt.

Although he maintained an office at Adelphi until his death, his only known designs after 1856 were for Hornsey Road Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and Shaftesbury Congregational Church, Mustons Lane, Shaftesbury, Dorset, both of 1858, followed by an unsuccessful entry in the Manchester Assize Courts competition of 1859. In 1862 when the Patent Office granted a patent to Andrew Trimen, of No. 9, Adam Street, Adelphi, London, in the County of Middlesex, for an invention for “The protection and solidification of magnesian limestone and other stones, and for the prevention of the passage of water through the same.”

Andrew Trimen died on 17 March 1868 at 9 John Street West, Thornhill Square, Islington, survived by his wife, Mary.



Buildings and Designs

Building Name District Town/City County Country
Wesleyan Theological College Richmond Richmond Hill  Richmond  London  England
Lammas School   Sutton-in-Ashfield  Notts  England
Mansfield Woodhouse National School   Mansfield Woodhouse  Notts  England
Wesleyan Chapel Guildford   Guildford  Surrey  England
Mansion at Portsea Portsea  Portsmouth  Hampshire  England
Independent Chapel Leatherhead   Leatherhead  Surrey  England
Wesleyan Chapel Landport Portsea Isle  Portsmouth  Hampshire  England
South View House   Undercliff  Isle of Wight  England
Wesleyan Chapel Blackheath Blackheath  London  Greater London  England
Coach House and Stables for Thomas Allen Blackheath  London    England
Pair of Detached Cottages Barnsbury Park   London    England
Works at Clumber Park Estate   Worksop  Notts  England
Orangery at Gunnersby Park       England
Wesleyan Chapel Portsmouth   Portsmouth  Hampshire  England
Wesleyan Chapel Battersea Batersea  London  Greater London  England
Bedfordshire Hertfordshireand Essex Junction Railway       England
Chapel Epsom   Epsom  Surrey  England
Chapel Richmond Road Hackney Hackney  London  Greater London  England
Wesleyan Chapel schools and ministers house Great Grimsby   Grimsby  Lincolnshire  England
Corinthian Chapel Cambridge   Cambridge  Cambridgeshire  England
Church of St Thomas, Werneth, Oldham Werneth  Oldham  Lancashire  England
Congregational Chapel Islington Islington  London  Greater London  England
Church of St James Lower Holloway Holloway  London  Greater London  England
Sir John Barrow Monument Ulverston Hoad Hill  Ulverston  Cumbria  England
Bootle Union Workhouse   Bootle  Cumbria  England
Church of St Paul, Kersal Moor, Salford Kersal  Salford  GMCA  England
Church of St Paul Kersall Moor Heating Kersal  Salford    England
Church of St Paul Kersall Moor Fencing Kersal  Salford    England
St Pauls Rectory Kersal Kersal  Salford    England
Baptist Chapel Stratford Grove Stratford  London    England
Congrgational Chapel Bayswater Bayswater  London    England
Kensington United Reform Church Kensington  London    England
Hornsey Road Wesleyan Chapel   London    England
Shaftsbury Congregational Church   Shaftesbury  Dorset  England
Assize Courts Manchester (Architectural Competition)       England