Walter Henry Brierley

Place of Birth
Latchford, Warrington
  • Birth date            1862 at Latchford near Warrington
  • Marriage              July-Sept 1891 to Gertrude Hartley at York
  • Death date          22 August 1926 at Dudley Hotel, Hove, Sussex

Census returns indicate that Walter Henry Brierley was born at Latchford near Warrington in 1862, the son of Richard and Ellen Brierley, originally from Bolton. By 1871 the family were living in Newton-in-Makerfield, otherwise Newton-le-Willows, to the north of Warrington. His father, Richard Brierley was trained as a Civil Engineer and Land Surveyor but by 1885 carried out a number of roles for the Newton Urban District Council including:  Clerk to Urban District Council; Surveyor and Sanitary Inspector; Civil and Mining Engineer; Surveyor to the Newton Improvement Commissioners; Architect; Clerk to School Board. His only known commission was the laying out of the cemetery of 8.5 acres at a cost of £5,000 for the Newton-in-Makerfield improvement commissioners; a chapel, lodge and mortuary being erected in 1885.

Walter Brierley was articled to his father 1877-1881 and here he gained his early knowledge. Further experience was obtained as an assistant in the offices of architects at Warrington and Liverpool. He was twenty-three years old when in 1885 he moved to York to join in partnership with James Demaine whose long-established practice, founded by John Carr of York (l723-1807), had passed to him through Peter Atkinson, father, Peter Atkinson son and William Atkinson, grandson. Between 1885 and 1926 Brierley was responsible for more than 300 buildings, including schools, churches, houses and civic buildings, in York and across the north. Brierley was architect to the North Riding County Council (1901-1923) and consulting architect to the Diocese of York (1908-1921). In his secular work he was the leading exponent in Yorkshire of the prevailing ‘Wrenaissance’ style and his work is mentioned by Hermann Muthesius. In 1918 Brierley took J H. Rutherford (1875—1946) into partnership.

Brierley did a great deal of work in the North Riding of Yorkshire as architect to its County Council. The Council Hall and the Secondary School at Northallerton are his work. But the police-stations which he designed in many of the North Riding villages are perhaps the best examples of his “official” architecture.  The compact and charming little building just outside Retford on the Great North Road, is an example of his hospital work; while in 1896 he designed Scarcroft Road School, the first of a series of excellent buildings for the York School Board.

As diocesan surveyor for York from 1908 to 1921 he was responsible for numerous restorations and enrichment of small country churches. However, the great days of Victorian church building were over and opportunities for the design of new churches were few. An early work, begun in 1892, was built in his home town of Newton-le Willows, then in Lancashire, now in Merseyside, close the Greater Manchester boundary. Brierley’s town churches include St. Philip’s, Buckingham Palace Road, and St. Thomas’s, Kensal Green; London and St. Luke’s and St. Chad’s in York. Among his new country churches is the little church at Goathland, set amid the scenery of the surrounding moors.

Brierley was probably at his best in the building and reconstruction of large country houses, mostly during the Edwardian period. Hackness Hall, near Scarborough, originally designed by Carr, was burnt down in the early years of the twentieth century, and was rebuilt by Brierley as was the neo-Grec mansion of Sir Tatton Sykes, at Sledmere, which suffered a similar fate a few years later.  Other commissions included Acklam Hall, Sion Hill, and Welburn Hall in Yorkshire, and Normanby Park in Lincolnshire. After World War I, he carried out the restoration of Nunnington Hall, North Yorkshire. In addition, he designed a number of lesser country houses, some of which lie as far afield as Dorset and Sussex.

1875-1881    Town Hall, Newton-in-Makerfield
1895        Demaine and Brierley 9 Lendal, York (White’s Directory of York)
1901-1926    W H Brierley 13 Lendal, York

1881        Crow Lane, Warrington
1895        W H Brierley 31 New Walk Terrace, York
1906-1926    Bishopbarns, St. George's Place York

Reference     The Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Volume 29 1929 page 123-128

 Select Works 

  • 1892                       The Mallan Hotel, Goathland, North Yorkshire. Listed grade ll. Formerly known as The Mallyon Spout Hotel. for M.D.McEacharn. part demolished, rebuilt and extended c.1935.
  • 1894-1896              Church of St. Mary, Goathland, North Yorkshire.  Listed grade Il*
  • 1896                       Nesfield and Mulgrave Cottages, Goathland, North Yorkshire. Listed grade ll. Two houses. c.1896 (with later alteration and extension) for Mr M.McEacharn.North Yorkshire.
  • 1902                       Brereton Lodge, Goathland, North Yorkshire. Listed grade ll. Shooting lodge, for W. Brooke Now private residence.
  • 1892-1901               St Peter Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire
  • 1900                       York City and County Bank, Bridlington Quay,  East Riding (Builder, 23.6.1900)
  • 1901                       Grimston Court, E. Riding (AA, 1901; Builder 14 9.01)
  • 1902                       Church of St Oswald, Sowerby, North Riding (north aisle)
  • 1902                       Church of St Luke, York
  • 1902                       Church of St Philip  Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1
  • 1902                       Church of St Thomas, Kensal New Town, London W10
  • 1902                       The Galtres, Easingwold, North Riding (Builder, 9.5.03)
  • 1003                       The Vicarage, Huntington, North Riding
  • 1903                       Heslington Hall (now York University), interiors
  • 1904                       The Close, Brompton, Northallerton, North Riding - additions
  • 1904                       Poppleton Road and Haxby Road Schools, York
  • 1904-1906              County Hall, Northallerton, North Riding (RA, 1904; Builder, 24.9.04 and 1.12.06)
  • 1905                       Brackencliffe, Scarborough (RA, 1905)
  • 1905                       Bishopsbarns, St George's Place, York for his own occupation.
  • 1906                       Burrough Court, Leicestershire (hunting lodge, stables and cottages; Builder, 6.4.07)
  • 1907                       The Garth. Bishopthorpe, West Riding (Builder, 13.12.09)
  • 1907                       Normanby Park, Lincolnshire, for Sir Berkeley Sheffield (additions)
  • 1907                       Whixley Hall, Whixley, West Riding (restorations)
  • 1908                       Howarth Art Gallery, Manchester Road, Accrington, Lancashire
  • 1908                       Crendle Court, Purse Caundle, Dorset, for the Hon. Mrs Alfred Kerr (AR, 1911)
  • 1908                       Thorpe Underwood Hall, W. Riding
  • 1910                       Hackness Hall, North Riding, for Lord Derwent (restoration after fire)
  • 1910-11                  Dyke Nook, Whalley Road. Accrington
  • 1910-11                  Lynn Garth Stockton-in-the Forest, North Riding
  • 1911                       High Green, Ilkley West Riding
  • 1911                       Lumley Barracks, York
  • 1912-13                  Sion Hill Kirkby Wiske North Riding
  • 1911-1912              Additions to Acklam Hall, Acklam, North Riding
  • 1920-1921              Restoration: Nunnington Hall









Buildings and Designs

Building Name District Town/City County Country
Church of St Peter, Church Street, Newton-le-Willows Newton-le-Willows  St Helens  Merseyside  England
Church of St. Mary, Goathland, North Yorkshire. Goathland    North Yorkshire  England
Brackencliffe, Scarborough   Scarborough  Yorkshire  England
Bishopsbarns, ST George's Place, York   York  Yorkshire  England
Dyke Nook Lodge, 270 Whalley Road, Accrington Accrington  Hyndburn  Lancashire  England
Haworth Art Gallery, Haworth Park, Manchester Road, Accrington Accington  Hyndburn  Lancashire  England
Sion Hill Kirkby Wiske North Riding     North Yorkshire  England
Restoration: Nunnington Hall, Yorkshire North Riding Nunnington    North Yorkshire  England
Sledmere House, Sledmere East Yorkshire Sledmere    East Yorkshire  England
Goddards House, York   York  Yorkshire  England
Blue Bell Inn, Ingleby Cross, Northallerton, North Yorkshire. Ingleby Cross  Northallerton  North Yorkshire  England
Elementary School, Denton Holme, Carlisle Denton Holme  Carlisle  Cumberland, Cumbria  England
York City and County Bank, 14 Fawcett Street, Sunderland   Sunderland  Tyne and Wear  England
Cockington Church, Devon (Architectural Competition)   Cockington  Devon  England
Rufforth Church.       England
Welburn Hall, Yorkshire     Yorkshire  England
County Council Offices, Northallerton   Northallerton  North Yorkshire  England
Northcliffe House, Filey   Filey  East Yorkshire  England
Nurses' Home, The Retreat, York.   York  Yorkshire  England
House, St. Peter's Grove, York   York  Yorkshire  England
St. Oswald's Church, Sowerby, near Thirsk, Sowerby  near Thirsk  Yorkshire  England
Former Police Station: Great Ayton Great Ayton  Hambleton  Yorkshire  England
Police Station: South Bank, Middlesbrough South Bank  Middlesborough  Yorkshire  England
Former Police Station, Redcar   Redcar  Yorkshire  England
“Crendle Court” Purse Caundle near Milborne Port, Dorset Purse Caundle  Milborne Port  Dorset  England
“Lynngarth,” Stockton-on-the-Forest, near York. Stockton-on-the-Forest  near York  Yorkshire  England
“High Green,” Ilkley, Yorkshire.   Ilkley  Yorkshire  England
Decoration: Cutlers’ Hall Sheffield Central  Sheffield  Yorkshire  England


Name Designation Formed Dissolved Location
Demaine and Brierley Architectural practice 1885 1899 York