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Adam Lee: Westminster, London: surveys and designs for the Palace of Westminster, 1808-23 (9)


Adam Lee (c.1772-1843) was Labourer in Trust to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster from 1806-32. The Labourer in Trust was responsible for "ordinary repairs" at the Houses of Lords and Commons, Westminster Hall and the Courts of Chancery, King's Bench and Common Pleas, the Stone Building, the Parliament, Journal and Record Offices adjoining Westminster Abbey, and the official houses belonging to "clerks, housekeepers and minor parliamentary officers" (HKW, op. cit., pp. 496-7).

A carpenter by training, Lee assumed his first official position as subordinate clerk of works at Richmond in 1801 before his appointment as Labourer in Trust in 1806. "Lee was an able and energetic man who did not always distinguish sufficiently between initiative and insubordination" (BDBA, op. cit.). His designs for a new library and committee rooms for the House of Commons, catalogued here, may provide evidence for this assertion. He was certainly ambitious, submitting designs for a new House of Commons in 1833 and competing for the new Houses of Parliament in the following year. A "Design for a public building" by Lee was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1838.

Tom Drysdale, November 2014


J. M. Crook and M. H. Port, The History of the King's Works, VI, 1973
H. M. Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, 4th ed., 2008, p. 639.
M. Galinou, "Adam Lee's drawings of St Stephen's Chapel, Westminster. Antiquarianism and showmanship in early 19th-century London", Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, 34, 1983, pp. 231-44.



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Contents of Adam Lee: Westminster, London: surveys and designs for the Palace of Westminster, 1808-23 (9)