William Flint: Leicester’s Classical Architect by Mark Mitchley
William Flint was an architect in Leicester helping to set the landscape of the town during the mid-Nineteenth Century. He designed in the Classical style and much of his work still exists. He is rather unsung, and most of the research for this book appears in print for the first time, but his influence on Leicester and how it looks and his further influence through his pupils is considerable. The book contains a biography of the man and then looks at his two pupil masters; his two partners; his four pupils and has a survey of his work including a description of his buildings.
Whilst Flint was an amiable, unassuming and esteemed man, the people that surround him are colourful. His first pupil master died by falling out his window and was found dead frozen to the ground. His first partner led a Dickensian life of crime as an utterer of forged cheques and died en route to Broadmoor. His third pupil saw himself as an inventor and put forward proposals to canalise the streets of Leicester with wooden troughs and build an undersea channel tunnel. His last pupil was in turn master to Ernest Gimson, father of the English Arts and Crafts movement.
There is a sense of civic and commercial Victorian noise through the inclusion of facts about Flint’s clients and their businesses and how they are connected to each other. The book is about William Flint, of course, but it is also about the buildings and the people that used and lived in them.
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