Lawrence G Summers, Uncategorized

On the trail of Lawrence George Summers…

Research can be a tricky business. The internet offers the researcher plenty of opportunities to find pictures, archived material and other useful records… but it can also throw up its own new set of new mysteries.

For instance, the top returned result in a Google search for L.G. Summers, Watson Fothergill’s assistant and the man who carried on working at the George Street office after Fothergill retired, is a page at the Watson Fothergill website* that hasn’t been updated in a while. There’s lots of tantalising nuggets of information there, but to the researcher looking to dig deeper there is a frustrating lack of citations and references to sources.

This is Lawrence George Summers from and I don’t know where they got it from or when it was taken!

I’ve been looking for more information on Summers, looking for more about the man who seems to have been somewhat in the professional shadow of the more flamboyant Fothergill.

As I become more emersed in searching for all things to do with Nottingham architecture, I find myself running names through different search engines and websites. After finding a coffee cup that seems to be from The Black Boy Hotel on eBay (see previous blogpost) I check back from time to time to see what else might be out there. A while ago, a search for Lawrence G. Summers and a few variations on his name, threw up a link to some pictures that I hadn’t seen before. They were prints that were for sale and eventually I tracked them down to an online print gallery. 

Design for a church by Lawrence G. Summers. Lithograph from The Building News Mar 20, 1874.

Further variations on Summers’ name (L.G., Lawrence C. etc) returned more results and I couldn’t quite believe my luck. Compelled by curiosity and reasonable prices, I bought the prints. It turns out that they are lithograph pages from the trade publication The Building News and they are not copies.

Design For A Town Hall by Lawrence G. Summers.
Lithograph from The Building News, Dec 25, 1874.

On receipt of the lithographs I realised they were actually pages from the magazine and I was able to look up the accompanying articles. Archives of some of the issues are online. It turns out the designs were Summers’ winning entries in competitions.

From The Building News, Mar 20, 1874.

Tracing the lithographs to the relevent issues of The Building News in online archives reveals that Summers won the “National Silver Medal Prize” for his Church design, “The highest award in the kingdom”.

From The Building News, Dec 25, 1874

The town hall, also gained the Silver Medal in a prize from Kensington (from where architecture qualifications were dispensed). This appears to have been while Summers was a student at the Nottingham School of Art.

Excited about my finds, I did another search and discovered that the other lithograph in the set had been bought by someone (who I found on Twitter) who I think works at Nottingham Trent University, (perhaps even in the Nottingham School of Art building.)

The front elevation of Lawrence G. Summers design for a town hall. The Building News, Dec 25, 1874.

More on Summers in the next blog…

Meanwhile I treated myself to having the lithographs framed:

Somewhat wonky photos of the Nottingham-themed wall in my “office”.

*If this is your site, please get in touch!


Stop Press: Sunday Walk Added. Beauty In The Details: Lace Market Tour

Thanks to everyone who came to Beeston Library for my “Virtual” Watson Fothergill Walk. I had some great feedback on the talk and I really enjoyed it. I hope I can do some more talks in this format as it’s a good way to experience part of the tour without the walking (and I get to wear a head-mic and pretend I’m a stand-up or Madonna… wish I had a photo!)

Beauty in the Details walk added, 9 December 2018.

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A few folks on Facebook expressed an interest in a Sunday edition of the Beauty In The Details Lace Market Walk so I’ve added a date on 9 December 2018. The walk will be a short exploration of St Mary’s Gate starting at Debbie Bryan at 2pm. After a look around the area we will finish up at Debbie Bryan for a drink and a warm mince pie. Plus there’s 10% off other menu items in the tea room.

Get your tickets for £10 each here on Eventbrite.

There are still tickets for the Friday walk 7 December 2018 HERE.


Beauty In The Details: Christmas Edition!

I’m planning to do some more of my short walks in the Lace Market with Debbie Bryan in December. The walk takes place at 2pm on 7th December, with a look at the architecture and history of St Mary’s Gate. These tours will be similar to the Heritage Open Days tours that took place in September but this time will include tea or coffee and a warm mince pie at Debbie Bryan. You will also receive 10% off any other tea room orders on your visit.

Lucy Brouwer tour guide
Thanks to Katie at Debbie Bryan for the photo.

There will be a look at the Adams Building and other Thomas Chambers Hine work in the area, as well as Watson Fothergill’s Milbie House on Pilcher Gate. The whole thing should take around 45 minutes with time for tea and mince pies (and perhaps some creative Christmas Shopping) afterwards.

If this first one is popular we may add more dates in December.

Tickets are £10 each, available here from Debbie Bryan, or call into her shop on St Mary’s Gate.


Watson Fothergill Walk 21 October 2018

Thank you to everyone who came out to walk with me on Sunday (30 September 2018). The next walk will be on 21 October 2018 at 10am.

Get your tickets here: EVENTBRITE

DB 5 cover

Once again the walk will conclude at Debbie Bryan with tea or coffee and cake included in your ticket. Debbie’s tea room also offers light lunches and other refreshments plus a wonderful gift emporium stocked with local crafts and unique homewares.


I am also going to be presenting an illustrated talk at Beeston Library, on 21 November at 2pm. The Watson Fothergill Virtual Guided Tour will be some highlights from the walk presented with photos in the library’s meeting room – so you can see Fothergill’s work without leaving your seat.

Tickets are £3 and available from EVENTBRITE or from Beeston Library.


Beauty in the Details: The Lace Market

A big thank you to everyone who turned out for the second Heritage Open Days tour, Beauty in the Details, on Sunday (16 September 2018). Several people have asked if there will be more short tours like this and I’m looking at making it a more regular thing. Meanwhile if you’re interested in the architecture (and history) of Nottingham’s Lace Market, and would like to commission a short tour, please contact me, Lucy Brouwer. I’m interested in exploring more opportunites and formats. More news as it happens!

Lucy Brouwer tour guide
Thanks to Katie at Debbie Bryan for the photo.

Meanwhile there’s a double bill of Watson Fothergill Walks on 30 September (just one ticket left at time of writing).

I’m hoping to fit another walk in in October… sign up to the mailing list for news of future dates.



Extra Event: Watson Fothergill Walk 30 September, 1pm

Due to the previous walk being sold out, I’ve added another walk in the afternoon on 30 September 2018. Meet for 1pm at Nottingham Tourism Centre, tickets are £12 each and once again the walk will finish at Debbie Bryan with tea or coffee and cake included. Please let us know if you have any special dietry requirements (Vegan, De-caf, Gluten-Free etc all available.)

The 1pm walk is now full but there are 2 tickets open on the 10am HERE

iv sep 30 Watson Fothergill Walk

I’ve been asked about accessibility for wheelchairs, mobility scooters and prams – The route is all on pavements and on pedestrian areas. There are some steps into Debbie Bryan’s premises but if these are unmanagable, we can arrange tea outside or help with your needs. Disabled toilet facilities are available at The Kean’s Head (a minute from Debbie Bryan on St Mary’s Gate.). If you have any queries – please email via the Contact page.

Tickets for 30 September are limited so please book in advance. If you wish to pay on the day please email to reserve a place.

For news of future events pleae sign up to the email list – you can unsubscribe at any time.


Beauty In The Details: The Lace Market

Taking a look around St Mary’s Gate in preparation for my Heritage Open Days walks, I started to notice things about the buildings that I’d never noticed before. How the modern buildings mirror the shapes of the Victorian ones, how the details on each phase of the Adams Building are subtly different, how clean the buildings are compared to when I first saw them. Taking more time to look around, I have noticed details that, when you’re rushing from A to B you often miss.

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Door on Warser Gate (Photo: Lucy Brouwer).

Back when I first visited Nottingham as a kid, probably some time in the late 1980s, the Lace Market seemed a rather dark and neglected hinterland. Rarely would a visit into “the citeh” venture beyond the Market Square (or if I’m honest, beyond the food court in the Victoria Centre and later the racks of Selectadisc on Market Street).

Then, the old buildings were dirty, sooty, looming presences with shut up shops and the last remnants of the textile industry.

(Photos of the Adams Building now and before it was cleaned by Paul Harvey on Instagram)

Returning to Nottingham after only sporadic visits through the 1990s and early 2000s, the conservation of the buildings is the most noticable feature. The colours of the bricks and stones catch the light on sunny days, the details are visible as they might have been when they were first built.

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The Adams Building from St Mary’s Gate (Photo: Lucy Brouwer).

Learning about the history of the place and how much it has changed has made me see the beauty in the details.


Debbie Bryan Tea & Cake Edition

Massive thanks to everyone who came out for the first Debbie Bryan Edition of the walk. The incentive of tea and cake at the end gave us the push we needed to brave the shower of rain half way round the route!

tea at Debbie Bryan 12 8 18
Thanks to Debbie and her team for keeping us all fed and watered!

Some lovely feedback so far, I hope to do more events with Debbie in the near future. Meanwhile the Beauty in The Lace Market taster walks on 9th & 16th of September are now full, but I hope I can adapt and run similar events in the future.

Please sign up to the mailing list for news of future events.


Watson Fothergill Walk Debbie Bryan Edition

Watson Fothergill Walk Debbie Bryan Edition

The next Watson Fothergill Walk will be brought to you in partnership with Debbie Bryan.

August 12th 2018, 1pm (start at Nottingham Tourism Centre – Finish at Debbie Bryan, St Mary’s Gate). £12 (includes tea or coffee and a slice of cake.)

One of the Lace Market’s hidden gems, Debbie’s shop and tearoom on St Mary’s Gate is a haven for lovers of beautiful things, crafts, gifts, teas and cakes.

As part of the ticket for this walk you will receive tea or coffee and a slice of cake at the shop at the end of the tour.

WFW DB12 AUG Poster

A guided walk around the buildings of architect Watson Fothergill in Nottingham City Centre. Learn about the buildings of one of Nottingham’s most prominent Victorian architects, his signature style and the influence of the Gothic on the city’s buildings. A walk of approximately 2km (1.25 miles)

This special Debbie Bryan edition includes Tea or Coffee and a piece of cake at Debbie Bryan in the Lace Market. The walk will conclude at Debbie Bryan. Vegan and Gluten Free options are available please let us know in advance about any special dietary requirements.