George Somers Leigh Clarke (1822–1882) lived in Chislehurst, and designed a good many important buildings here, including his own.
He became a RIBA Associate in March 1845 and a Fellow in June 1859. He also sat on the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Council.
In 1868 Clarke had offices at 20 Cockspur Street, London. He had been a pupil of Sir Charles Barry and worked for him on designs for the Palace of Westminster in1849. Through working with Barry he became sufficiently well respected to be invited to submit designs for buildings such as the Foreign Office, Law Courts and National Gallery, London. His competition design for the Midland Grand Hotel, St Pancras, London, whilst not the winning scheme, was considered highly enough to receive a premium from the judges. His buildings were regularly illustrated in the architectural press in the 1860s. He was the uncle of Somers Clarke (1841–1926) pictured right, who was also an architect.
Clarke travelled extensively in Europe. He married Louisa Harker Williamson in Croydon, Surrey in March 1867. He was for many years resident at Chislehurst at a time when it was fast becoming a more substantial community and he designed a number of the newly built houses here.
He died at Walpole, Manor Park, Chislehurst, Kent on 4 July 1882, and is buried in the churchyard of St Nicholas’ Church.
His local works include:
Heathwood, Chislehurst, Kent.
Millfields, Chislehurst, Kent.
1874 Harley, Manor Park, Chislehurst, Kent.
1874 The Manor House, Manor Park, Chislehurst.
1874 Pelham, Manor Park, Chislehurst, Kent.
1874 Walpole, Manor Park, Chislehurst (own home).
1874 Walsingham, Manor Park, Chislehurst, Kent.
1877 Rectory, 2 St Paul’s Cray Road, Chislehurst, Kent.1878 Kemnal Wood, Chislehurst, Kent (drawing shown below – demolished 1972)
1878 Grange House, St Paul’s Cray Road, Chislehurst.
1878 Cleveland, St Paul’s Cray Road, Chislehurst.
1878 Warren House, St Paul’s Cray Road, Chislehurst.
1878 Crayfield, St Paul’s Cray Road, Chislehurst.
1878 Selwood, Kemnal Road, Chislehurst, Kent (still standing).
1881 Coffee Tavern, 43 – 45 High Street, Chislehurst, Kent.