Charles Cressey

Place of Birth
Morecambe, California

  • Birth date            25 December 1875
  • Married                1906 to Alice Augusta Livesey
  • Death date          13 July 1966

Charles Cressey was born on Christmas Day 1875 at Lincoln where his father was a carpenter and joiner. By 1891 the family had moved to Horwich on the outskirts of Bolton, where Charles Cressey had begun training as an architect. The census record for 1901 still has him resident in Horwich, although some records have him already living in Morecambe by 1899. Here he established a partnership with William Keighley (1874-1952). Few details of this practice have been found, although they were responsible for the clock tower on the promenade and a bank in Market Street, Morecambe. By 1909 the partnership appears to have been struggling and both men decided to seek new independent opportunities in the Americas.

Keighley emigrated to Canada in 1910. Cressey having emigrated to the United States aboard the Carmania, where he arrived on Ellis Island on 19 May 1909 before settling in California. In 1910 he was working as a draftsman in the office of architect John C. Austin before entering into partnership with the Quale Brothers by 1915. and designed the Salt Lake and Union Pacific Building at Balboa Park in the Neo-Classical style (Amero 2013; Sutro 1985). In San Diego, the firm largely designed theatres, apartments, factories, meeting halls, fire stations, and homes. They typically designed brick, non‐extravagant, two- to three-story buildings.  During the 1910s, their architectural style was considered revolutionary by using detailing through brickwork instead of ornamental detailing applied on top of plastered brick buildings. Documents related to the construction of the buildings for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition show that he was a partner with the Quayle Brothers in the design of the stadium. The partnership appears to have ended when Cressey was drafted into the military in 1916. By 1919 he was working for the design and build contractor Charles W Kent and Son, being in control of their architects’ department.

By the mid-1920s Cressey was apparently in practice on his own account. A long-time resident of Glendale, California, he designed the First Baptist Church of Glendale in 1926 as well as the original Oakmont Country Club. Between 1928 and 1938 he was in a partnership with Robert Farquhar Train as Train and Cressey. Together they designed the principal buildings of the PWA Moderne style Bell High School in Bell, California.

Charles Cressey married Alice Augusta Livesey in 1906. Their first child was born in Morecambe Arthur Richmond Cressey was born on 17 December 1906.

Charles Cressey died on 13 July 1966

Elected Fellow of RIBA 1927
President of San Diego Architectural Association 1917
John Barrow of Shanghai (qv) visited Charles Cressey of Train and Cressey of Los Angeles [Architect and Engineer Vol 93-94 April- Sept 1928}

* date of birth as California Death Record, US Record, UK Births Record, UK Census Records. US Census records for 1920 and 1930 give his estimated date of birth as 1872.

1904    Charles Cressey, Cressey and Kiethley, Euston Road Morecambe
1928    Charles Cressey (Train & Cressey), 321 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. - VA. 6277
1930    Charles Cressey (Train & Cressey), 227 Western Mutual Life Building, Los Angeles, Cdifornia, U.S.A. -  VA. 6277

1881    Delphin Place Lincoln
1891    Mason Street, Horwich (census)
1901    Chorley New Road, Horwich (census)
1905-1909    Morecambe
1907    Thornton Road Morecambe (baptism Arthur R Cressey)
1920    Glendale Township California USA
1928    512 West Vine Street, Glendale, California, U.S.A.
1930    512 West Vine Street, Glendale, California, U.S.A.
1940    Beverley Hills California USA


Buildings and Designs

Building Name District Town/City County Country
John Simpson Residence,     California  United States of America


Name Designation Formed Dissolved Location
Cressey and Keighley Architectural practice 1899 1909 Morecambe