Edmund Mitchell was active in Leamington Spa s an architect from about 1828 to 1860. He was a partner with the older John Russell until John died in 1841, in the firm of Russell and Mitchell based at No 18 Wise Street; he then continued as a sole trader. He is sometimes incorrectly referred to with the Christian name Edward. Mitchell was born in 1801 in Northamptonshire. He married Caroline Ann Bond on 25th September 1836; she was the daughter of Thomas Bond of Old Square, Warwick. They went on to have three children.
Mitchell worked with his partner to design St Peter’s Church, the first Roman Catholic church in town, in George Street in 1828. It became redundant when the new church was built in Dormer Place in 1868 but it has been used for various purposes and in 2021 it is a Seventh-day Adventist Church, bearing the name The Mission.
He was involved with the design of the extensions to the gas works in Priory Street (originally buiit in 1819) in 1834 and the sale of 14 cottages in Ranelagh Terrace adjoining the site.
In 1836 Russell and Mitchell designed the new drainage scheme for Bath Street and the new town area in association with William Thomas. Mitchell designed the new nave at the Parish Church in 1843 and the new north transept and rose window at this church in 1846.
In 1846 he advised on the height of the chimney at Oldham’s Mill and said that there was no need for it to be taller than the chimneys of nearby houses.
He designed the Holy Trinity church in Beauchamp Avenue in 1847 and also the new sewerage system from Regent Street to the river in the same year.
In 1848 he designed the clock-tower at the parish church and he took over superintending the construction of Adelaide Bridge in 1850 following a dispute with the resignation of the town surveyor over whether to use mortar or cement in the construction of the brick bridge.
In 1851 he designed the Day and Sunday School for St Luke’s in Augusta Place; this still exists with the name Augusta House in 2021. This was successful an in 1853 he was asked to design the enlargement of St Luke’s church in Augusta Place; the capacity increased by about 40% to 800 places.
He also produced a design for a national school intended to be in Priory Terrace; This was eventually built in Bath Place in 1858 to another design by Clarke & Worthington of London, but with Mitchell supervising the construction.
Over a period of some years he carried out a variety of work on several properties for Matthew Wise including several buildings in Bath Street. He also built extensions for Sidney Flavel’s factory after he took over the Eagle Foundry.
In 1858 he approved a temporary stand for 900 people at the Royal Pump Room to view the visit of Queen Victoria and he advised on damage to a wall caused by flooding at Somers Place (alongside Bins, or Milverton, Brook) in 1860.
Outside Leamington, he was involved with work at Rugby School with Henry Hakewill before coming to Leamington. Also, in the 1840s he bought Southam windmill in Welsh Road West which was still operating as a mill at the time.
Edmund Mitchell died suddenly on 13th September 1860 and probate records show that his will left assets of less than £100. In the following year several of his friends were moved to establish a fund to raise money for his wife and family who were in ‘straightened circumstances’ and published an appeal in the Leamington Courier. Among the financial difficulties which he left with his wife was the fact that he had not been fully paid for his extensive work on the parish church; Edmund appears to have been in the process of suing Rev John Craig when he died. It was unfortunate that he also had a patent for a heating system for buildings, including churches, which he designed and was being manufactured by Flavels, but he did not live to see the profits which this may have brought him. He was living at No 1 George Street when he died, having left Church Walk three or four years before. Soon after Edmund’s death, his wife Caroline was living at No 5 High Street and she was listed as being in the boot, shoe & hosiery trade.
Michael Jeffs, April 2021
Thanks to Janet Ainley for biographical research