Former Office of Paley and Austin, Architects 1868 - 1944
Sharpe, Paley and Austin are the surnames of architects who practised in Lancaster, Lancashire, England, between 1835 and 1946, working either alone or in partnership. The full names of the principals in their practice, which went under various names during its life, are Edmund Sharpe (1809–77); Edward Graham Paley (1823–97), who practised as E. G. Paley; Hubert James Austin (1841–1915); Henry Anderson Paley (1859–1946), son of Edward, usually known as Harry Paley; and, for a very brief period, Geoffrey Langshaw Austin (1884–1971), son of Hubert. The firm's commissions were mainly for buildings in Lancashire and what is now Cumbria, but also in Yorkshire, Cheshire, the West Midlands, North Wales, and Hertfordshire.
The practice specialised in work on churches; the design of new churches, restoring older churches, and making additions or alterations. They also designed country houses, and made alterations to existing houses. Almost all their churches were designed in Gothic Revival style, except for some of Sharpe's earliest churches and a few designed later by the practice. Within the Gothic Revival style, the practice initially used Early English and, particularly, Decorated features. E. G. Paley introduced Perpendicular elements, and Perpendicular became the dominant style used by the practice following the arrival of Hubert Austin, to such a degree that the firm became regarded as the regional leader in the use of that style.
The practice used a greater variety of styles when working on country houses, including Elizabethan and Jacobean elements as well as Gothic. Other features were incorporated towards the end of the 19th century similar to those in works produced by the Aesthetic and the Arts and Crafts Movements. Not all the firm's work was on a large scale; as the major architectural practice in North West England they also undertook work on schools, vicarages, hospitals, factories, hotels, shops, railway stations, and war memorials.