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Whitley Abbey, Coventry, Warwickshire: designs for additions and alterations for 1st Viscount Hood, 1807-1810 (43)

Whitley Abbey was demolished in 1953 to make way for a comprensive school. The original building was 'an Elizabethan or Jacobean hall and never actually occupied by monks. It was inheriited by members of Coventry's Hood family ... [and] was sold by Viscount Francis Wood to a Mr E.H.Petrie in 1867 and the property was occupied by his widow, Lady Gwendoline Petrie until 1920 when it started to fall into decay' (from a Coventry Telegraph newspaper cutting dated 5 January 2008 filed in SM green box files'.
C.Pickford and N.Pevsner, Warwickshire, 2016, p.305 (brief mention).

Samuel Hood,1st Viscount Hood (1724-1816) entered the Royal Navy in 1741 and had a long and highly distinguished career. He was made an Admiral in 1787 and was Tory MP for Westminster from 1784. He must have been been regarded as a hero by the young men in Soane's office. (see Wikipedia article)

Several hands worked on the drawings for Whitely Abbey, one of which was George Allen Underwood (1792-1829) who was in the office as an 'assistant'. H. Colvin (Dictionary of British architects 1600-1814, pp.1064-1065) wrote that he was the younger brother of Charles and Henry Underwood who were also architects. George was enployed an 'assistant' by Soane from 29 September 1807 to May 1815. He was 15 when he first worked in the Soane office and may have received his training from his brothers (born 1790 and 1788) respectively.

The office Day Book shows that some of the earlier drawings were by Malton, Edwards and Underwood (drawings [18] to [19], [22-25]) but Underwood alone for drawing [26]. Here the disitinctive hand and palette, suggests Underwood as the draughsman for drawings [26], [29], [41] and [42].

Jill Lever
May 2017
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