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John Clarke

Historian of Brookwood Cemetery

Arthur Cates

ARTHUR CATES (1829-1901) was an architect.

Arthur Cates was born in London on 29 April 1829. He  was educated at King’s College School, Strand, and then became a pupil of Sydney Smirke. He was elected an Associate Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1856, and a Fellow in 1874; and was sometime member of the Council, and Vice-President during the period 1888-92. Cates was elected a member of the Architectural Association in 1847. He was also a Fellow of the Surveyors Institution.

In 1870 Cates succeeded Sir James Pennethorne as Architect to the Land Revenues of the Crown, under the Commissioners of H.M. Woods and Forests. As Surveyor to the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple he designed the archway and gate-house which forms the entrance from Tudor Street into King’s Bench Walk. For some while he was honorary secretary to the Council of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, and honorary secretary to the Architectural Publication Society, who issued The Dictionary of Architecture. He  also served as chairman of the Board of Examiners, RIBA, and was appointed a member of the Tribunal of Appeal under the London Building Act, 1894. Cates was reappointed to that office for a period of five years from January 1 1900, under sections 175-6 of the Act, by the Council of the Institute. In 1900 he founded a prize, to be awarded by the Architectural Association, for a descriptive and illustrative account of the Paris Exhibition (1900), in the form of a Paris Exhibition travelling studentship of £20 to a member of the Architectural Association; the prize being awarded to E. W. M. Wonnacott. He also founded the Arthur Cates Prize, consisting of books to the value of ten guineas, for students admitted to the Final Examination. He was well known for his active and warm interest in all matters relating to the professional education of architects is well known, and he wrote an interesting article on “Architectural education in the United States of America” for volume six of the RIBA Journal.

In 1890 Cates was elected honorary treasurer to the Architects Benevolent Association, and institution in which he took great interest; he was re-elected to this role in 1895-6. In 1900, following the death of Henry Currey, Cates was appointed a Trustee of the Association. He was also nominated by the Senate of the University of London as member of the Board of Studies for Fine Arts, including architecture, as representative of the Institute; his colleagues elected him chairman of the Board.

Cates died at his home, 12 York Terrace, Regent’s Park, on 15 May 1901, in his seventy-third year.

Further reading

Waterhouse, Paul. Arthur Cates. In Lee S (Ed.) Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co, 1912, pp.323.

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