Dove Brothers Ltd “Dove Brothers Ltd was a prominent construction company based in Islington from 1781 to 1993 which worked with most of the major architects of the late 19th to 20th century. The company was founded by William Spencer Dove (1793-1869). He began when he arrived in London in 1824 as a jobbing builder and carpenter and his first major commission was the Islington Literary and Scientific Society building in Almeida Street, (now Almeida Theatre) and much of Milner Square.

His sons formed the Dove Brothers partnership in 1852 and expanded the business. Between 1858 and 1900, the company constructed 130 churches and from the 1870s onwards, built other buildings including banks, industrial premises and public buildings, predominantly in London but also across England and occasionally abroad.

Archive collection is held at Islington Local History Centre Special Collections. Deposited with Islington Libraries in 1983 by a director of Dove Brothers. The collection was used during research for ‘Building in the blood: the story of Dove Brothers of Islington, 1781-1981’ by David Braithwaite (Godfrey Cave Associates, 1981).” “Established in Studd Street, Islington, by 1861 they were one of the largest contractors in London, employing 210 men and 11 boys. A partnership between three brothers, in 1867-70 they were contractors for St John the Baptist’s Church, Croydon. They also carried out St Mary Abbots, Kensington, and St Clement’s Church, Barnsbury, for Scott.” “By the 1870s the company possessed 12 horses, premises in Moon and Studd Streets, and two steam engines. The two mansion blocks at either end of the yard were built by the company around 1900, and their offices were in the building at the Cloudesley Place end (see image). Dove Brothers built about 130 London churches, including at least 15 in Islington, but surprisingly, they were not involved in the building of neighbouring Holy Trinity, although they did carry out several repair projects there over the years.

…from the 1870s it diversified into civil engineering contracts. Builders of the pathology block of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in 1909…a major force in London and beyond for many years up to 1993. During the 19th and 20th centuries they worked with many famous architects on buildings such as the Wesleyan Methodist Central Hall, Australia House, and Guildford Cathedral, as well as major repairs to St Pauls Cathedral. During the first world war their workshops, employing men and women, were used to construct aircraft propellers out of teak.” “These two very big semi-detached dwellings, visually seeming to be one house, are completely different from any other buildings in the village except the church, for which there is a good reason: they were built by William Spencer Dove in the early 1860s, and he was the contractor who rebuilt the parish church.

Between 1857 and 1864 St Mary’s Church was almost completely rebuilt and Dove Brothers were the building contractors.

During the time Dove Brothers were working in Datchet (Berkshire), William Spencer Dove acquired a plot of land in the village on which he intended to build a crescent of villas. On July 28th 1863 his wife Ann Isabel Dixon Dove died, in the 64th year of her age, and the plans were abandoned so that by William’s death on August 5th 1869, aged 75, only one pair of villas, Ormonde and Mordenholt, had been built. William and his wife had originally lived in Sunbury, which accounts for the first name of this building: Sunbury House.” “Their grave is in St Mary Churchyard, Sunbury, Spelthorne Borough, Surrey.”

William Dove bought the huge plot of land (in which Churchmead School now stands) and built a new road, now Priory Way, to provide access for the first pair of villa residences which were intended to form a crescent. After Dove’s plans were abandoned, Mr Good bought most of the land.”

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