Another Johnson

Davidson House on Upper St John St was once home to another Johnson from Lichfield. Thomas Johnson, an architect lived here from 1834 and ran his business, Johnson & Son from here until his death in 1853. I understand that Thomas Johnson jnr went on to work with James Trubshaw, and married his eldest daughter.

 

Although people might not have heard of Johnson and Son they will probably know some of the buildings they were involved with. Below are some examples of their Lichfield work, and it seems that they also worked on buildings further afield.

Christ Church, circa 1850 (from wikipedia)

Corn Exchange Lichfield (from LDC flickr stream)

The Old Grammar School, C18 rear
wing, school room and front wall of c1849, by Thomas Johnson
and Son of Lichfield

Back to Davidson House and I’ve read that it was the home of the South Staffordshire Regiment Old Comrades Association and the South Staffordshire Regiment Museum collection from 1938 until 1963, when it was moved to its current site at Whittington. The name ‘Davidson House’ apparently relates to  Brigadier-General Charles Steer Davidson who donated the property to the regiment.

As ever, plenty of questions. Did the Johnsons employ local people? What about the rest of the family? Where did their materials come from? Who was it built for originally.  Who owned the house between the Johnsons and the Brigadier-General? Who was Charles Steer Davidson? What happened when the museum left and what is the future for it? It looks like it needs a bit of TLC right now, with its boarded up windows and crumbling stonework. There’s a book ‘Staffordshire and the Gothic Revival’ by Michael J Fisher that I’d like to have a look at to find out more about the Johnsons and their contemporaries.

There’s still plenty more to find out about Davidson House and its inhabitants but I like how by finding out a little about one Lichfield building,  I’ve found out more about some of the others too. And they just happen to be some of my favourites!

Sources:

http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk

http://staffordshireregimentmuseum.com/

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Another Johnson

  1. It’s a shame the place is boarded up. In fact the whole area, which I live next to is looking grim. Robert Davies Walk is still in a state, with the old brewery building strewn with graffiti and smashed doors and windows.

    Lichfield District Council left Venture House which is now being surrounded by weeds (I have a photo to share actually) while the rest of the office buildings remain (mostly) empty and overlook a patch of land increasingly turning into a overgrown mess.

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    • Yes you’re right Phil, it is listed – here’s the description. I think this is all part of an issue that we should give some thought to. As I’m sure you’ve seen, there are discussions going on in Walsall following arson at yet another of their listed buildings, on Brownhills Bob’s Brownhills Blog and on The Bloxwich Telegraph. Whilst events there have been at the extreme end of the scale, I can think of several buildings in Lichfield in addition to those mentioned above that are ‘at risk’ in some form or another. So the question is one for all of us – what can we do collectively to protect and look after the places that we care about, listed or not? And especially perhaps when they are empty and at their most vulnerable.

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      • Also (just been thinking some more!) should we also be thinking about not only looking after the fabric of a building (which is important) but also the memories, the names,the stories, the experiences. And let’s not limit it to buildings – our outside spaces are so important too

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  5. Hi Kate,

    I have been investigating who is responsible for maintaining
    Robert Davies Walk. It seems that RedRow are, plus a bit earmarked for telecommunications. It has not been adopted yet. The firm want me to send them a map of the path!! They have one on their own publicity brochure!

    I have also reported the graffiti on the railway wall, opposite the former Brewery building which is still being used by the building, Meehan and Wellbourn.
    I am also chasing up who is supposed to maintain the area around Cruck house.
    I sent a letter, which was not printed, about an English Heritage document on”Stopping the Rot”, about the powers councils have. I related this to the sad story of the Angel Croft.

    Regards
    Lorna
    PS thanks for the reminder about the meeting.

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    • Maybe work parties are a possibility? It’s something that seems to work in green spaces so why not urban spaces? Whilst owners shouldn’t neglect their responsibilities I’m also a fan of community action….

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