Forgotten name who created a chocolate delight

Goddards in York
Goddards in York
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He designed iconic buildings and helped create schools and homes that remain at the heart of modern life, yet his name remains largely unknown.

Architect Walter Brierley was responsible for more than 300 buildings, including schools, churches, houses and civic buildings, in York, North Yorkshire and across the North of England between 1885 and the late 1920s.

Claire Fletcher with some original architect drawings

Claire Fletcher with some original architect drawings

Brierley’s best known designs and adaptations include the Knavesmire Stand at York Racecourse, County Hall in Northallerton, and schools, of which Scarcroft Road in York is regarded as his masterpiece.

Goddards in York’s Tadcaster Road, which was built in the 1920s for the Terry family who oversaw the city’s chocolate dynasty and is now owned by the National Trust, was his last building.

He died before the historic home was completed and it was destined to become his final monument.

The head of site at Goddards, Clare Fletcher, said: “You see a lot of his work around you in York but you might not necessarily have heard about him – that’s quite a quirky thing about him.

“He was a very prolific architect and he was the person that you would go to if you had a private home or a public building of style that you wanted designing.”

Miss Fletcher says before the Terry family moved into Goddards they were neighbours of the architect who had already built his own home, Bishopbarns on St George’s Place, in the Arts and Crafts-style and it is likely these connections are why he was chosen to design the family house.

On display for the first time at Goddards are some of the letters written between Brierley and owner and chocolate magnate, Noel Terry.

Visitors can deduce from the letters, Brierley’s exacting standards as every detail is discussed – from the height of skirting boards, to the finishes on the taps.

Also revealed are some of the garden designs and there is much conversation between George Dillistone, garden designer, and Brierley, in order to create a garden full of “rooms” with different functions from tennis court areas to bowling greens.

Some have described Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, who designed many English country houses, as the greatest British architect. It is a recognition of his talents that Brierley was known as “the Yorkshire Lutyens”.

He was also involved in adaptations of many famous public and private buildings including alterations to the King’s Manor next to the York Art Gallery and changes to Nunnington Hall, near Helmsley.

“He was a fascinating man and a lot of the public buildings around York are his. There are some really prestigious buildings.

“One of his best known houses is Goddards, but he never saw it completed,” Miss Fletcher said.

The historic home has just reopened for the new season.

One young National Trust volunteer, Mount School student Celia Wood, has been inspired by to create a series of sketches which form the basis of a new trail around the house and garden.