fonds ATKB - Records of Atkinson Brierley

Identity area

Reference code



Records of Atkinson Brierley


  • 1753-1960 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

12.3 cubic metres

264 boxes, 673 rolls and 794 hanging folders

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

The origins of the firm lie in the partnership of John Carr and Peter Atkinson in York in the late eighteenth century. Peter Atkinson’s son, also Peter, joined the practice as a partner in 1801.

After the deaths of Peter Atkinson Senior (in 1805) and John Carr (in 1807), and following unsuccessful partnerships with Matthew Philips and Richard Hey Sharp, Peter Atkinson Junior went into partnership with his eldest son, John Bonas Atkinson, in 1831. His younger son, William, joined as partner in 1837, and together with his brother established the firm as a significant architectural practice. They were later joined by James Demaine in 1874 and Walter Henry Brierley in 1885.

The work of Brierley made the name of the firm. Between 1885 and 1926 it was responsible for over 300 buildings, including churches, houses and civic buildings in York and across the North of England. These include Northallerton County Hall, Scarcroft School in York, and Goddards on Tadcaster Road, built for the Terry family in the 1920s.

The firm was continued by his partner from 1911, James Hervey Rutherford, with Brierley's place taken by John Stuart Syme, who later entered into partnership with John Keighley and Cecil and John Leckenby.

Today the firm lives on as Brierley Groom, an architectural practice still based in York.

Archival history

The archive was purchased at auction.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was deposited at the Borthwick Institute in 1990. Further additions were made to the archive in 2003 and 2006.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection comprises drawings, with associated correspondence and papers 1753-1960; bound volumes of correspondence sent out from the office, 1926-1932; and bound volumes of specifications 1902-1931. The archive relates principally to buildings in York and Yorkshire, but also includes a smaller number of projects elsewhere in the UK, including projects in Cambridgeshire, County Durham, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk and Sussex.


Further accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Wherever possible the original arrangement has been preserved. Architectural plans are arranged by year and then by project.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A typescript finding aid, to file level, is available for consultation in the searchroom of the Borthwick Institute.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Correspondence, specifications and other papers relating to the work of the firm in the 20th century are held by York Explore.

Further records relating to their work are held at the Borthwick Institute in the parish record collections of York, All Saints Pavement; York, Holy Trinity Micklegate; York, St Chad; York, St Luke; York, St Mary Bishophill Senior; York, St Margaret Walmgate; York, St Hilda, Tang Hall; New Malton, St Michael; Terrington; and Holme on Spalding Moor. Plans and drawings belonging to J. H. Rutherford are also deposited in Miscellaneous Documents.

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

GB 193

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created 02.10.15.




Accession area