Collection Clarke MSS - Somers Clarke Collection

Identity area

Reference code

Clarke MSS


Somers Clarke Collection


  • 1880s-1926 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

7 boxes, 27 notebooks, 11 parcels, 8 rolls, 1 album, and 1 CD

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

British architect and archaeologist. Born, Brighton 1841. Died, Mehamid 1926. Educated privately. His first architectural appointment was with Sir Gilbert Scott where he was responsible for church restorations. Surveyor of the Fabric, Sir Paul's Cathedral, 1897. Architect to the Dean and Chapter, Chichester Cathedral, 1900. Took up residence in Egypt in the early 1900s after retiring from general practice. Worked with J. J. Tylor at El-Kâb, and was involved with the publishing of some of the private tombs there. Assisted Quibell and Green at Hierakonpolis. Appointed to oversee the restoration of buildings in Egypt, including ancient monuments. Published several books relating to his work on excavations as well as architectural related works.

Archival history

The manuscripts were originally given to the Society of Antiquaries with the condition that the Keeper of the Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities at the British Museum and the Society of Antiquaries could extract and retain relevant information for their respective archives. Any residue would then be passed on to the Corporation of Brighton. In the event, all three bodies waived their claim on these papers, which were then subsequently offered to the Griffith Institute. The accession of the Somers Clarke MSS was announced at the Griffith Institute Committee meeting on 29-04-1948.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Via Mr A. J. Collins, Keeper, Department of Manuscripts, British Museum, 1947. CD with digital copies of plan and photographs of S. Clarke's house at El-Kâb presented by Mr Nicholas Warner in 2008.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Notebooks, notes, maps, plans, drawings, photographs, and correspondence. There is a small amount of material amongst these papers relating to Westminster Abbey (correspondence).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Presumably kept as received. Correspondence arranged alphabetically.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Property of the Griffith Institute. No restrictions

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright Griffith Institute, Oxford

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

No problems.

Finding aids


Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

These are originals.

Existence and location of copies

Not known.

Related units of description

Other Archives:

  • His negatives of El-Kâb are in the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, British Museum.

Publication note

  • Publication details indicated in Clarke catalogue.
  • Some photographs of S. Clarke's house at El-Kâb published by N. Warner, 'Somers Clarke: a Pioneer of Mud Brick Architecture in Egypt', in S. Santelli (ed.), Hassan Fathy. Une ambition égyptienne (2011), 1-11.
  • Extracts from correspondence, some photographs and references to notebooks and other documents in the collection published by N. Warner, 'An architect abroad: the life and work of Somers Clarke in Egypt', in Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo 68 (2012), 237-261.
  • Some photographs and references to notebooks published by N. Warner, 'Clarke / Fathy: la résurgence des traditions', in L. el-Wakil (ed.), Hassan Fathy dans son temps (2013), 252-269.
  • Some photographs of the Red Monastery and some pages of notebooks G and Q published by N. Warner and C. Meurice, ''A strange jumble of Roman detail': western explorers and antiquarians at the Red Monastery 1673-1926', in E. S. Bolman (ed.), The Red Monastery church: beauty and asceticism in Upper Egypt (2016), 230-241.

Notes area

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Accession area

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Physical storage

  • Shelf: 0608-0612A
  • Shelf: 1811