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Thomas Jerram Bailey

The available biographical facts relating to T J Bailey are more scanty.  He was born in 1843.  Nothing is known of his parents and it is presumed that Bailey's roots were quite humble.   His schooling is also undocumented, although he appears to have been a London child (ironically the kind of child who might at a later date, have been taught in one of his own schools).  Certainly by 1859 (aged 16) he was articled and working as an assistant to Robert Jewell Withers.  He remained in this position until 1872 apart from brief periods in the offices of Ewan Christian (1814-1895) and Samuel Sanders Teulon (1812-1873).  Robson had some loose professional links with Christian and this may have been how the two first met.


T J Bailey

Carte de visite of T J Bailey (c) LMA


Although the relationship between Robson and Bailey appears to have cooled during the 1890s, they certainly had at least a professional modus vivendi in the early years.  Bailey was appointed Chief Draughtsman to SBL under Robson in 1872 and promoted to Assistant Architect in 1878.  He was made an Associate of the RIBA in 1881 (on Robson's recommendation) and a Fellow in 1892 (again on Robson's rather terse recommendation).  Bailey lived in modest but comfortable circumstances at 5 The Villas, Queens Road, Battersea Park, London (from 1881) and later the more substantial Tremere, Sylvan Road, Upper Norwood, London (from 1893).  There is no record of a wife or children.  On Robson's move to the Education Department, Bailey became Architect to the SBL on 1st January 1885.

In this post, Bailey was responsible for all of the SBL buildings.  Although he did build many new schools from scratch, a fair proportion of his work up until the early 1890s involved enlarging or adapting Robson's schools (particularly by adding halls).  In the later period, the emergence of a more varied curriculum, improved teacher training and the beginnings of special education saw Bailey mainly occupied with ancillary structures.  These came to include higher grade schools, teacher training schools, manual instruction, art and science, domestic training, cookery and laundry centres, schools for the blind, deaf and mentally defective and divisional and superintendents' offices.

Unlike, Robson, Bailey survived the institutional changes of the early years of the twentieth century.  He remained as Architect to the SBL until its abolition in 1904.  He then became Architect of the Education Department of the London County Council (LCC).  He remained in this role, which involved the design of boarding, secondary and other schools for advanced instruction until retirement.  Work appears to have been Bailey's life.  He was due to retire in July 1908, but was allowed at his own request to hang on as Advisory Architect until the end of 1909.  He died within six months of retirement on June 15th 1910.