Pocock family, of London

William Pocock (1750-1835), a carpenter employed by Samuel Tooth, builder of Wesley's Chapel, met his wife Hannah Fuller at the Foundery and both were present at the laying of the foundation stone of the Chapel. Pocock went into business on his own account and in 1782 obtained the freedom of the Carpenters' Company. He became a cabinet maker in Leyton and is said to have made the first telescopic dining table.

His eldest son William Fuller Pocock (1779-1849) was born on 26 September 1779. He was apprenticed to his father, but decided to become an architect and attended the Royal Academy Schools. Described as 'competent but unremarkable', he was an early member of the Institute of British Architects, entering unsuccessfully the competition for the design of the new Palace of Westminster in 1835. In 1840 he was elected Master of the Carpenters' Company. His first publication was Architectural Designs for Rustic Cottages, Picturesque Dwellings, Villas etc... (1807); followed later by Designs for Churches and Chapels (1819; new edition, with introduction by Christopher Webster, 2010).

He and his wife Fanny (née Wilmer) were members of Sloane Terrace chapel, Chelsea (which he had designed) near their Knightsbridge home. His designs included the headquarters of the London Militia, Bunhill Row, Finsbury (1828), Kensington WM chapel (1836), Christchurch parish church, Virginia Water (1837) and the Centenary Hall (WM Mission House), Bishopsgate, London (1840). He died at Knightsbridge, London on 29 October 1849.

The eldest of their four sons, William Wilmer Pocock (1813-1899), entered his father's practice in 1837, became FRIBA in 1843 and wrote a memoir of his father in 1883. He was one of the first students at King's College, London and graduated at London University. In 1861 he designed Spurgeon's Metropolitan Tabernacle in Newington Butts; in 1875, the Central WM chapel at Hastings and in 1878 the chapel, school and Soldiers' Home at Aldershot. He was a trustee of Wesley's Chapel for 49 years and closely associated with the renovation of 1891. A 'sensible, sound' local preacher, but 'never very effective or popular', he became President of the LPMAA in 1875 and is commemorated in a stained glass window at Wesley's Chapel. He died on 18 September 1899. His son, Maurice Henry Pocock (1854-1921), was also an architect.

A younger son Thomas Wilmer Pocock (1817-1889) became a doctor at Brompton and retired early to' Glenridge', a cottage his father had built at Virginia Water. He served on the connexional Home and Overseas Mission Committees and served as a local preacher over a wide area. With his older brother he planted Methodism in the area between Guildford and Portsmouth which was sometimes described as 'the Methodist wilderness', fostering Home Mission efforts there. His eldest son, also Thomas Wilmer Pocock (1846-1929; e.m. 1876), was a missionary in South Africa 1876-1929 and his youngest son, Percy Wilmer Pocock (born 14 April 1856; died 9 November 1942), was a solicitor, local preacher and Sunday School Superintendent at Egham. One of Percy's sons, also Percy Wilmer Pocock (1886-1986), followed the profession of his great grandfather and became an architect, dying in 1986 at the age of 100.

  • W.W. Pocock, In Memoriam William Fuller Pocock FRIBA... (1883)
  • Clyde Binfield, 'Architects in Connexion' in Revival and Religion since 1700 ed. J. Garnett & C. Matthews (1993) pp.153-82
  • Wesley Historical Society, London Branch Bulletin, 38 (1988) pp.12-14; 39 (1989) pp.15-17; 41 (1990) pp.7-9; 43 (1991) pp.11-13
  • Clyde Binfield, in J.C.G. Binfield (ed.) Sainthood Revisioned: studies in Hagiography and Biography (1995) pp.67-91
  • John Clyde Goodfellow Binfield, 'Return to Ranelagh: William Fuller Pocock and the Sloane Terrace and Ranelagh Chapels' in Chapels Society Newsletter, no.50, May 2012, pp.5-10
  • Oxford DNB
  • Directory of British Architects 1834-1914