Samuel Perkins Pick FRIBA 1905-06

Born in Kettering, the son of a local veterinary surgeon, Pick was educated at the Kibworth Grammar School, and while still at school he was introduced to art by two notable Leicester watercolour artists who became first friends, Harry Ward and John Fulleylove R.I. Over the next few years the three travelled together in many excursions across England painting rural landscapes, and (in Pick’s case in particular) making architectural drawings of historic buildings of all kinds. Pick also came under the influence of William Morris and of pioneers of what became known as the Arts and Crafts Movement. Before long his architectural sketches were being published, for example articles in The Builder and with his illustrations for Rockingham Castle and the Watsons by George Wise (1891).

In 1884 he was awarded a medal by the London livery company, the Workshipful Company of Plaisterers, for an original design for a low relief panel, and at the time he was described as an architectural apprentice of John Bredson Everard of Leicester and Assistant Teacher at the Leicester School of Art. In 1888 he entered into a partnership with Everard, and was joined in 1911 by William Keay (1869 – 1952, Lit. and Phil. President 1927 – 1928) to form the partnership of Pick, Everard and Keay, Architects and Civil Engineers, with premises at 6 Millstone Lane, Leicester. (Shortly after Pick’s death the practice merged with Goddard and Gimson to form the present-day large architectural and civil engineering practice of Pick, Everard, Keay and Gimson (now known as Pick Everard).

Over a period of more than 30 years in professional practice Pick was responsible for a considerable number of significant new buildings in Leicester and beyond. Though he admired much work by others in the still fashionable Gothic Revival style he regarded this as a false start that would lead to a dead end. Instead, he looked to the architecture and craftsmanship of the Stewart and Georgian periods. Locally, his major public buildings included the County Mental Hospital (later known as Carlton Hayes Hospital) at Narborough (1904-07) reflecting his admiration of Vanbrugh, major extensions to the Leicester Royal Infirmary, County Lunatic Asylum (now the Fielding Johnson Building of Leicester University), the Borough Mental Hospital (The Towers), and the buildings of 1896-97 and 1907 for the new Technical and Art Schools (now the Hawthorn Building of De Montfort University). Hospital and educational buildings elsewhere in the country included the Midlands Agricultural and Dairy College (1895) at Kingston-on-Soar, Nottinghamshire, the new Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester, and major extensions to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and the Coppice Mental Hospital, Nottingham. Significant private commissions included a number of prominent fine new buildings in Leicester included and St. Michael and All Angels Church (1897-98), Pick’s Renaissance-style Parr’s Bank in St. Martin’s (1900 – later National Westminster Bank, but unoccupied since ca. 2000), St. Phillip’s Church (1909-13), arguably the best of the many Late Victorian houses on Victoria Park Road, nos. 20 – 22, and his very distinctive and playful new façade of the Marquis Wellington Inn on London Road.

Pick remained a strong supporter of the Leicester School of Art, and of both contemporary and historic craftsmanship – a special research interest was the distinctive Swithland slate engraved gravestones of the region, on which he lectured to both the Lit. and Phil. and the Archaeological Society. He was very active in the Leicester Society of Architects and served as its President twice, the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and in the Lit. and Phil., of which he was a member from 1894 to his death.

Main Source: In Memoriam. Samuel Perkins Pick F.S.A., F.R.I.B.A. Transactions of Leics. Archaeological and Historical Society Vol. 11, pt. 7 & 8 (1919), pp. 401-405.

Archives: Records of Pick, Everard, Keay and Gimson in the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland.