Collection: Gerald Cobb

1600 - 1992
Collection containing Photographic, Graphic, Textual and Miscellaneous material
Placeholder image for archive collection
Not what you're looking for? Try a new search


This collection comprises a range of largely image based archive, presented in 136 site based or themed albums, chronologically arranged within each album. The albums have been catalogued at item level and contain a total of 14,338 individual images. They were compiled from the 1950s to the 1980s. The majority of items date from the late 19th century and early- to mid-20th century, although there is material from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Gerald Cobb (1899 - 1986) built up this remarkable collection over a lifetime. A trained artist, he worked in the College of Arms for over 60 years and was also a brother of the Art Workers' Guild. He was a member of the Ecclesiological Society and their Vice President in 1976, and was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

The collection focuses mainly on the major ecclesiastical buildings, such as cathedrals and abbeys. There is significant coverage of the following: St Paul's Cathedral in London (21 albums), Canterbury Cathedral (13), Ely Cathedral (5), Gloucester Cathedral (5), Durham Cathedral (5), Lincoln Cathedral (5), York Minster (5), Lichfield Cathedral (4), Peterborough Cathedral (3) and Wells Cathedral (3). Most other major sites are also covered, in 1 or 2 albums each. Ecclesiastcal sites comprise 67% of the collection, with a further 8% on church monuments.

The albums also feature domestic and commercial/industrial buildings such as markets, galleried inns, weatherboarded houses, and former mercantile and dock buildings with a London emphasis. There are 21 albums of various London sites or themes, such as crypts, religious houses, streets and shops. Other historic towns and sites are represented, York in 3 albums, Windsor Castle and Eton in 2 albums, also Rochester Castle and town, Lincoln, Durham, Canterbury, Croydon and others.

Cobb published two books based on his collection, 'The Old Churches of London' (1942) and 'English Cathedrals: The Forgotten Centuries' (1980).

There has been a further acquisition of a large number of files, essentially potential album contents left unbound but sorted by site or theme, which is uncatalogued (COB01/02). The Guildhall Print Room holds the London City churches component of these files.

A subsequent acquisition of 29 mounted photographic prints is also uncatalogued (COB01/03)

Archival History

Received via Nicholas Redman, Archivist at Whitbreads and executor of the Cobb estate, 1987

Provenance : Documentary and image-based material assembled in thematic, chronological manner by noted ecclesiastical architectural historian, antiquarian and author of works on Cathedrals and London City Churches (1899-1986)

Cobb Sub-groups: COB01/1: Cobb Albums COB01/2: 22/05/2000 Acquisition COB01/3: 01/06/2000 Acquisition

Coverage : Cathedrals, abbeys, churches and other ecclesiastical sites and remains

Coverage of London : markets, galleried inns, weatherboarded houses and former mercantile and dock buildings National coverage, but with strong emphasis on London

COB01/2: Ecclesiastical and secular coverage with an emphasis on churches and cathedrals. There is a substantial amount of material relating to Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

COB01/3: Mainly churches and cathedrals.


This Collection is divided into 9 Child Series
This Collection contains the following materials:
Photograph (35mm Slide): 1
Photograph (Collotype Print): 5
Photograph (Halftone): 67
Photograph (Postcard - Photographic): 2,463
Photograph (Print): 4,362
Photograph Album: 134
Annotated Map: 4
Drawing: 40
Engraving: 299
Graph: 2
Location Map/Plan: 4
Map: 5
Measured Drawing: 17
Overlay: 16
Painting: 25
Print - Art: 1
Print - Mechanical: 568
Sketch: 46
Correspondence: 36
Extract/Cutting: 5,955
File: 744
Loose Notes: 4
Manuscript: 7
Offprint: 8
Published Material: 12
Report: 1
Typescript: 1
Album - Miscellaneous: 2
Miscellaneous: 41
Photocopy: 515


Contact Historic England Archive

People & Organisations

Creator of Archive: Cobb, Gerald