Street, Arthur Edmund

STREET, Arthur Edmund (1855-1938), active in London, England and son of George Edmund Street (1824-1881), a leading British architect of the Victorian era. Born in Oxford, England in 1855 he was a King’s Scholar at Eton, and studied at Magdalen College, Oxford. He entered his father’s office in London in 1878 and trained directly under him in one of the busiest and most successful architectural offices in London. After the death of his father on 18 December 1881, it fell to his son Arthur E. to complete many of the major projects which were then under construction. In addition, he accepted a number of new commissions in England, France, Italy and Canada, most of them faithfully executed in the Gothic Revival style which he had learned from his father.

In 1889 Street was asked to prepare plans for a proposed Anglican Cathedral, Robie Street at Spring Garden Road, HALIFAX, N.S. (Builder [London], lvi, 18 May 1889, 376, descrip. and two double-page plates; lvix, 12 July 1890, 30 and illus. plate; Academy Architecture [London], Vol. 1, 1889, illus. plate). Designed in a sophisticated High Victorian Gothic style, the plans languished for nearly fifteen years. In December 1905, the Halifax pro-cathedral (the temporary cathedral) burned to the ground, and the plans by Street were revived by the Bishop and the Building Committee. They commissioned the prominent Maritime architect William C. Harris to appraise the suitability of the plans, but Harris was forthright in his criticism, claiming the design by Street was too costly and unsuited to the harsh climate of Nova Scotia (Robert C. Tuck, Gothic Dreams: The Life and Times of Canadian Architect William C. Harris, 1978, 175-77, illus.). Street’s plans were then shelved, and the Diocese later hired the Boston firm of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson to design the new cathedral (see entry under Ralph A. Cram).

The name of Street is associated with nearly 30 ecclesiastical commissions in England from 1882 until 1920, but his passion in life was not architecture, however; instead, he possessed a keen interest in literature, art, music and poetry. He wrote a biography on his father (A Memoir of George Edmund Street, 1888), and authored several books of poems and verse. By 1920 he has all but retired from the profession and moved to Bath, England where he died on 9 November 1938 (obit. R.I.B.A. Journal [London], xlvi, 19 Dec. 1938, 203; 9 Jan. 1939, 256-7, with list of works; biog. Directory of British Architects 1834-1900, 1993, 884). The Public Archives of Nova Scotia in Halifax holds a complete set of over 70 original linen drawings signed by Street illustrating his proposed Cathedral there, with plans, elevations, sections and architectural details of the entire building.