This collection is an amalgamation of the papers of various architects practicing in the City of Bath from 1826. The practice began with George Phillips Manners in 1826, who was joined by J. Elkington Gill from 1845 until 1864 when Manners retired. J. Elkington Gill was joined by Thomas Browne in 1874 the firm then became Browne & Gill. J. Elkington Gill’s son Wallace joined the practice in 1879. Wallace Gill changed the name of the practice in 1899 to become Gill & Morris, but then opperated just as Wallace Gill from 1903-1909. Mowbray A. Green took over in 1909 to become Mowbray Green & Partners and later Mowbray Green and Hollier. J. E. B. Carpenter took over the partnership around 1947 and was partnered with F.W. Beresford Smith from 1949-1951. The firm then became Beresford Smith and Partners until c.2009.
The documents are mostly dated from the 1820s to the 1980s and provide a valuable timeline of architectural styles. They also present a fascinating insight into local and social history, while at the same time reflecting the wider national historical setting. The archive mainly follows a chronological timeframe, which allows an overview of social and design trends, and shows the development in building regulations and controls. In the 1890s, there are many applications for changes of stables into garages with the introduction of the motorcar; by the 1910s-20s, the emphasis has changed to creating indoor bathrooms; by the 1960s, built-in kitchens are being introduced. Against the wider historical setting, there is a lot of information about war damage in Bath, including forms for assessing individual claims of damage, and surveys for suggested re-designs of bombed areas. The introduction of Comprehensive schooling is reflected in the various expansions and alterations of existing schools.
The archive concentrates on buildings in Bath but also ranges over the adjacent counties of Somerset and Wiltshire, with some works from further afield in the UK and abroad. It includes designs for private houses as well as many applications for alterations. It also contains plans for churches, schools, shops and factories. There are examples of work on iconic Bath structures such as Victorian renovations to the Roman Baths, the Royal Mineral Hospital, the Holburne Museum and gardens, St Michael's Without, Prior Park School, and the Stothert and Pitt factory amongst many others.
The collection contains architectural plans and drawings, specifications, correspondence, invoices, building quotes and sales particulars, brochures and samples, newspaper cuttings, photographs and journal articles. Original bundle numbers have been retained to show how the collection has been stored historically, this does mean that records relating to a particular property may be found in multiple different bundles and that those from a single bundle may cover more than one phase of building work.