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Theatre Architects

Theatre Architects

Here you can find out about the architect firms and individual architects associated with the theatres featured on this website.

To view all architect firms and individual architects featured on this website click here.

W & T R Milburn

William Milburn (1858-1935) and his brother Thomas R. Milburn (1862-1943) formed their architectural partnership in 1897.

William and Thomas Milburn were the sons of Captain William Milburn, a ship-owner and shipping surveyor in Sunderland. William was articled to John Tillman of Sunderland and remained as assistant, studying at Sunderland School of Art. He commenced independent practice in Sunderland in 1879 at the early age of 21, but appears from his nomination form to have taken what was probably a short career break to study at the South Kensington Schools in 1880.

Thomas was born in 1861 and articled to John Tillman in 1877. He remained as assistant after the end of his articles but spent some time with Liverpool Corporation before setting up in practice in Sunderland in 1884 independently of his brother. In 1893 Thomas designed the first of his theatres, the Olympia in Newcastle upon Tyne (in association with Oliver & Leeson). Later that year the Milburn brothers began their association with the Moss Empires circuit by designing the South Shields Empire Palace, for which Frank Matcham was consultant. The experience gained at the Empire Palace made them the premier theatre firm in the north of England.

In 1896-97 William and Thomas merged their practices as W & T R Milburn. Following the death of Moss Empires’ favorite architect Frank Matcham in 1920, the Milburn brothers became the natural successor firm for new builds and renovation projects for the Stoll Moss group.

In 1925 Thomas Milburn embarked in Southampton for a trip to the United States where he would study the design and construction of the many new theatres and movie palaces being built across the country. His journey took him from New York to Chicago and San Francisco. In particular, he was impressed with the architectural work of Scottish born architect Thomas Lamb, the many new Loew’s State Theatres, San Francisco’s Fox Theatre, and the unique designs of Madison Square Gardens. Many of the concepts became inspiration to the subsequent designs of the Milburn practice.

Theatres on this website in which this architect firm was involved:

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