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John Verge was a leading society architect and builder of the 1830s in Sydney and an exponent of the Regency style. His clients included John Macarthur and William Charles Wentworth. Verge’s work can be seen at Elizabeth Bay House, Camden Park, Tempe House and the vestries and eastern porches of St James Church, King Street.

Verge’s buildings demonstrate the Regency style showing clear rectilinear outlines, broad eaves, simplicity and classical proportions.

Glebe connections

John Verge, attributed to James Wilson, State Library of NSW
John Verge, attributed to James Wilson, State Library of NSW

Two of the original four John Verge buildings are still extant in Glebe. Glenwood (c1837), near 57 Hereford Street, was demolished in 1940 to make way for warehouses. Forest Lodge, built for Ambrose Foss in 1836, has also been demolished.

Toxteth Park (1831) – John Verge was commissioned by George Allen to build “an elegant country house”. The Regency design consisted of a 2-storey rectangular block with single storey wings and a stone-flagged verandah around two sides of the house, supported by cast-iron columns. A third storey and Italianate additions were subsequently added by the son, Sir George Wigram Allen.

Lyndhurst (c1835) – John Verge was commissioned to build Lyndhurst for James Bowman, son-in-law of John Macarthur and Principal Surgeon of Sydney Hospital. This two-storey villa displays many similarities to Camden Park. A community campaign saved Lyndhurst from demolition to make way for an expressway through Glebe. The building was restored in the 1970s and is listed on the State Heritage Register.

More information

Glebe Walks – Early Glebe Architects

Australian Dictionary of Biography – John Verge  

Dictionary of Sydney – John Verge

Graham Jahn, A Guide to Sydney Architecture, The Watermark Press, Balmain, 1997

Bernard and Kate Smith, The Architectural Character of Glebe, SUP, 1989

Max,Solling, “Glebe: A semi-rural retreat – Places, people and society in Glebe 1828-1861, Part 1”, Leichhardt Historical Journal, No.23, pp 5-36

Joan Lawrence and Catherine Warne, Pictorial HistoryBalmain to Glebe, Kingsclear Books, Alexandria, 2009

Posted on April 6, 2011 by Peter

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