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Walter Harvey Brook was born in Salford, Lancashire, in 1863, the son of commercial traveller Walter Brook and his wife Edith. The family had moved to York by 1871, where they settled on East Mount Road in the parish of Holy Trinity Micklegate. Walter went on to train as an architect in London and travelled widely, visiting Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Brook maintained a lifelong interest in historic archaeology. In the 1890s he worked with his friend, John Solloway, Rector of Holy Trinity, Micklegate, to restore Holy Trinity Church, supplying the stained glass for the west window, the entire furnishings of St Nicholas Chapel, new bell ropes and the new bay of the North aisle, with a new doorway. In 1905 Brook also began a restoration of Jacob’s Well, the medieval parish room of Holy Trinity Church, installing a new staircase and bay window and creating a new entrance from the garden. He was also an accomplished artist and produced oil paintings of Holy Trinity and other historical buildings in York.
In 1912 Brook was appointed Honorary Curator of Medieval Archaeology at the Yorkshire Museum by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society. In this role he worked on the excavation of St Mary’s Abbey in the museum grounds, partially rebuilding parts of the North and East Cloisters and co-founding the Museum of Medieval Architecture to showcase the abbey’s stonework. In 1923 he became Vice President of the Society.
Brook died on 6 April 1943.
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Borthwick Institute, W. H. Brook Architectural Papers.
Foot Walker, W. 'Walter Harvey Brook: Exhibition of Works by Walter Harvey Brook, Architect of York 1864–1943' (Byre Art Gallery Exhibition Catalogue).