Born on 1st March 1812, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin is considered to be one of the most prolific designers of, and leading authorities on, Gothic Revival architecture in the nineteenth century.
In 1835 Pugin was employed by Charles Barry to design the interiors, fittings and furniture for a school he was working on in Birmingham. That school was King Edward’s in New Street, and the success of the project led the two men to collaborate on their most famous design, the Houses of Parliament.
King Edward’s School in New Street was a fine example of secular Gothic design and whilst the building was sadly demolished in 1936, several pieces of Pugin-designed furniture survive and are in daily use here at Edgabston, including the mighty ‘Sapientia’, (the Headmaster’s chair), and a beautiful octagonal table which usually resides in Mr Claughton’s study. In addition, the entire upper corridor of Barry’s building was taken stone-by-stone to the Edgbaston site and re-erected as the War Memorial Chapel.
Pugin designed or contributed to six main sites in Birmingham and in celebration of the bicentenary of his birth a ‘Birmingham Pugin Trail’ has been launched by Birmingham Heritage Services and the Pugin Society, together with a calendar of events to highlight the significance of his work locally.
As part of the Pugin 2012 celebrations, the Chief Master\’s octagonal table will be on display in the Green Gallery of the Barber Institute until the end of June.