James Herbert Somerset

Place of Birth
Manchester London

  • Born : Jan-March 1883 at Didsbury Manchester
  • Died  : 3 August 1967 Worthing Sussex
  • Probate : 6 September 1967 at Lewes

James Herbert Somerset was born in Didsbury, Manchester in 1883, the second son of Henry Somerset and his wife Dorothy Grace (Naylor) and the nephew of the artist Richard Gay Somerset. He was educated at Sandbach School, Cheshire but details of his architectural training and subsequent employment have yet to be found.  By 1909 the still inexperienced J H Somerset was in partnership with John H Crabtree under the style of Royle and Bennett,* with offices in Cooper Street. The partnership was short-lived, being formally dissolved in September 1909, although there is some evidence that James Herbert Somerset continued to practice alone but still under the style of Royle and Bennett.  Commissions obtained during this latter period in the Manchester area have still to be found.J H Somerset moved to London about 1912, his address at this time being recorded by the RIBA as 20 Queen’s Square Bloomsbury.  He enlisted in the 28th London Battalion (Artists’ Rifles) in the early months of World War 1, rising to the rank of Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers by 1917.

After the war he visited Africa as a “journalist.”. By 1925 he had returned to London, producing plans for a house in Hampstead Garden Suburb. Later works include the Marina Bathing Pool at Ramsgate, one of the largest pools on the South Coast in a typical Modernist style. (c.f. Saltdean Lido, Sussex). His last known work was the Brighton B power station at Shoreham of 1947-1952.

James Herbert Somerset died on 3 August 1967 at Worthing, Sussex.

*ROYLE AND BENNETT had been a leading architectural practice in Manchester during the latter part of the nineteenth century. The death of Robert Isaac Bennett in 1901 was followed by that of his fellow partner, William Alfred Royle in 1904. Continued by his son, (also named William Alfred Royle), later joined by Percy Dean Lodge, the practice limped on until 31 January 1907 when the partnership between the two men was formally dissolved. Details in the period 1907-1909 remain unclear. It is possible that Somerset and Crabtree were previously assistants who took over the running of the practice.

1910 : J H Somerset 17 Cooper Street Manchester (RA Exhibit)
1911 : J Herbert Somerset AMSA (Royle and Bennett) 17 Cooper Street Manchester (Slater)
1912 : 17 Cooper Street Manchester RIBA
1912 : 20 Queen’s Square Bloomsbury RIBA

1883 : “The Yews,” Palantine Road, Didsbury (Census)
1891 : Congleton (Census)
1894 : Sandbach School, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire
1901 :Kersal House, Radford Street, Higher Broughton (Census)
1909 : J H Somerset AMSA Kersal House, Higher Broughton (MSA list 1909)
1911 : Kersal House Radford Street, Higher Broughton (Census)
1912 : J Herbert Somerset AMSA Kersal House Radford Street, Higher Broughton (Kelly)
1913 : J Herbert Somerset, architect, Kersal House, Radford Street, Higher Broughton

1936 : Connaught Club London (family record)
1941 : Woodcote Hotel Epsom, Surrey (family record)
1967 : Gratwicke House, Norfolk Road Littlehampton, Sussex (probate record)



Name Designation Formed Dissolved Location
Royle and Bennett (III) Architectural practice 1909 1910 Manchester