John Sutcliffe

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John Sutcliffe

John B. Sutcliffe (born 1853 in Bacup, Lancashire, England; died October 23, 1913 in Chicago, Illinois) was an architect active in Birmingham from 1887 to 1892. He is best known here for his design for St Mary's-on-the-Highlands Episcopal Church in Five Points South.

Sutcliffe was trained by his father, a builder, and worked as a draughtsman from the age of 11. He attended Manchester Grammar School and the Government Schools of Art in South Kensington, London to study architecture and engineering. He served the crown from 1882 to 1886 as chief draughtsman for the Admiralty's Ship Yards in Portsmouth. He married the former Lydia Sophia Knight in 1879 in Haslingden, Lancashire.

Sutcliffe emigrated to the United States in 1886 and briefly sought to establish himself in New York before finding a position on the staff of the American Architect in Boston, Massachusetts. He left the publication in December and settled in Birmingham in January 1887. He became associated with A. J. Armstrong in the firm of Sutcliffe & Armstrong and was a charter member and secretary of the Alabama Association of Architects, founded in March of that year.

Sutcliffe moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1892 and became advisory architect to the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield, Illinois in 1897. His mastery of the Gothic language suited him well to church work, and he was considered, along with Ralph Adams Cram of New York, to be one of the best practitioners of the style in the United States.

Sutcliffe died in Chicago in 1913, and was survived by his wife, Lydia, and five children: Helen, Arthur, Clara, Edwin and Isabel. He is buried in that city's Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Notable works

  • Charleston Block, Bessemer (with A. J. Armstrong), 1888
  • St Mary's-on-the-Highlands Episcopal Church, 1891
  • Entrance Gates, Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois (with Lawrence Buck)
  • St John's Episcopal Church, Helena, Arkansas, 1899 (burned 1914)
  • Christ Episcopal Church, Pensacola, Florida, 1903
  • Grace Episcopal Church, Oak Park, Illinois, 1905
  • St Paul the Apostle Episcopal Church, Savannah, Georgia, 1905
  • St Elisabeth's Episcopal Church, Glencoe, Illinois, 1908
  • Trinity Episcopal Church, Houghton, Michigan, 1910
  • St Christopher's Episcopal Church, Oak Park, Illinois, 1912
  • St Luke's Episcopal Church, Evanston, Illinois, 1913
  • St Paul's Cathedral, Springfield, Illinois, 1913