Basic Biographical Details

Name: Robert James Johnson
Designation: Architect
Born: 1832
Died: 18 April 1892
Bio Notes: Robert James Johnson was born in 1832 and trained in the office of John S Middleton of Darlington. He was an assistant in the practice of Sir George Gilbert Scott in London from 1849 to 1858. In that year he entered into partnership with Francis Robert Newton Haswell in North Shields. By 1861 or 1862 he was back in London, but he later practised in Newcastle in partnership with Thomas Austin, with whom he purchased the practice of John Dobson in 1865. However Thomas Austin was in poor health and Johnson was in effect the sole practitioner as Austin spent the last two years of his life travelling in an endeavour to recover fitness but died in 1867. William Searle Hicks joined the partnership in 1875, the practice title becoming Austin, Johnson & Hicks though he was based in Middlesborough and was responsible for his own projects during the partnership. In the early 1890s ill-health forced Johnson to take A B Gibson and A Crawford Hicks into partnership. Johnson died on 18 April 1892.

Johnson was held in high regard by his contemporaries and was a particular favourite of George Gilbert Scott.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 3North Shields, Tyneside, EnglandBusiness1858Before 1861 
Item 2 of 310, Belgrave Street South, Pimlico, London, EnglandPrivate/business(?)1861  
Item 3 of 3Newcastle upon Tyne, EnglandBusiness1875 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 4John Middletonc. 1847(?)1849Apprentice 
Item 2 of 4(Sir) George Gilbert Scott18491858Assistant 
Item 3 of 4Haswell & Johnson1858Before 1861(?)Partner 
Item 4 of 4Austin & JohnsonBefore 18651867Partner 


RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Campbell Douglas9 June 1879for Fellowship
Item 2 of 3Francis Robert Newton Haswell6 January 1873for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3John Edward Watson1877For Fellowship

Buildings and Designs

This architect was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 21858Trinity Church  EdinburghScotlandWon open competition (joint first place with Lanyon & Lynn?) - not built
Item 2 of 21882Tyne Improvement Commission Offices  Newcastle-upon-TyneEnglandWorking with John James Stevension


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 2Faulkner, T E1995Robert James Johnson, architect and antiquary56, pt 1Durham University Journal, January 1995, pp3-11 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Archaeologia Aeliana1913ser 3, 10 pp272-3
Item 2 of 3Newcastle Chronicle25 April 1892  Called 'Newcastle Daily Chronicle' by 1892
Item 3 of 3Newcastle Journal2 April 1892  Called 'Newcastle Daily Journal' by this date