Harris, Emanuel Vincent

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Harris, Emanuel Vincent (1876–1971). English architect. For the London County Council (1901–7) he designed a series of austere Neo-Classical transformer stations for the tramway system, of which one of the best was that at Upper Street, Islington, probably influenced by Dance's Newgate Gaol (demolished in 1902). He won the competition for Glamorgan County Hall, Cardiff (1908), a confident essay in Beaux-Arts Classicism, completed 1912, which launched him on a successful career as an architect of public buildings in the Grand Manner. At first he was in partnership with John Stanley Towse (1875–1951), and then (1909–11) with Thomas Anderson Moodie (1874–1948). In 1914 he won the competition for the Board of Trade building in Whitehall, London, which, as a much-simplified building, became known as the ‘Whitehall Monster’, completed in 1959 for the Ministry of Defence. After the 1914–18 war, Harris demonstrated his expertise in planning as well as his mastery of monumental Classical architecture with a series of public buildings, including Sheffield City Hall (1920–34), Braintree Town Hall, Essex (1926–8), Leeds Civic Hall (1930–3), Som. County Hall, Taunton (1932–6), and Nottingham County Hall, Trent Bridge (1935–50). His best works were unquestionably the extension to the Town Hall, Manchester (1925–38—in a hybrid style that nevertheless responds admirably to Waterhouse's great Gothic building), and the circular Classical Central Library (1925–38): the Town Hall extension is linked to the Victorian building by elegant bridges, and the walk between the extension and the library is one of the finest urban spaces in Manchester. He also designed the long, curved Bristol Council House (1935–9), and the Central Library, Kensington, London (1955–60), both of which are faced largely in brick. He was responsible for the master plan (1931—obliterated by Holford from 1953) for University College of the South West (now Exeter University), and (with Sidney Kyffin Greenslade (1866–1955) ) for some of the simplified Tudor Gothic and Neo-Georgian buildings there. He himself considered Nos. 2–3 Duke Street, St James's, London (1910–12), to be his best building.


A. S. Gray (1985);
Gavin Stamp ;
RIBA Journal (Journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects), 3 ser., lviii (Feb. 1951), 149–152;
Stamp & and Harte (1979)

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