George Draper, an architect of Chichester, was responsible for three architectural commissions in Southampton and its neighbourhood in 1827.

He rebuilt the decaying and mouldering St Nicholas Church, Millbrook. The existing chancel and tower were incorporated into a new, octagonal church: groundplans can be seen at http://www.churchplansonline.org. The contract, worth £1425, was signed in January 1827. Even such an extensive rebuild, however, failed to remedy the chronic problems of damp. Closed finally for church services in 1920, the building was demolished in December 1939.

Draper was responsible for the "elegant modern-antique" tower added to Netley Fort on the east bank of Southampton Water. Commissioned by William Chamberlayne, MP for Southampton, it was an attempt to beautify the small fort, then much dilapidated, originally built by Henry VIII to complement the castles at Cowes and Hurst. It features in a contemporary print Netley Fort and Abbey from the sea by William Westall (image below), published by Engelmann, Graf, Coindet and Co of Soho in 1828.

The trilogy is completed by the splendid neo-Classical subscription baths on the Beach (rebranded as the Royal Gloucester Subscription Baths in 1829). Built by Daniel Brooks of Orchard Place, they were to "a very chaste design" by Draper. He exhibited drawings of the baths and of Netley Fort (incorporating the tower then being built) at the Royal Academy in 1827.

George Draper was born at Maldon, Essex, c.1796. He was a pupil of Charles Beazley in London between 1811 and 1813. Originally practicing as an architect in London, he had by 1821 moved to Chichester. Living here until the mid 1860s at least, most of his works were in Sussex or Hampshire. These included Chichester Infirmary (later the Royal West Sussex Hospital and now flats); St Bartholomew's Church, Chichester; St Mary's Church, Littlehampton, West Dean vicarage, Sussex; the race stand at Goodwood; the Sir Harry Burrard Neale obelisk near Lymington; the column in West Park, near Fordingbridge, commemorating Sir Eyre Coote; and the restoration of St Peter the Less, Chichester His works were either neo-classical or Gothic in style. Further details, including a list of his identified buildings, can be found in H M Colvin, A biographical dictionary of British architects, 1600-1840, 4th edition, 2008.

Netley Fort and Abbey

Image Unavailable

Drawn by W Westall, 1828


see also

  • Royal Gloucester Subscription Baths
  • St Nicholas Church, Millbrook

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