Office of Works

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The Office of Works was established in the English Royal household in 1378 to oversee the building of the royal castles and residences. In 1832 it became the Works Department within the Office of Woods, Forests, Land Revenues, Works and Buildings. It was reconstituted as a government department in 1851 and became part of the Ministry of Works in 1940.

The organisation of the office varied but latterly it was headed by a Surveyor and administered by a Comptroller. In 1782 these offices were merged into Surveyor-General and Comptroller. From 1761 there were named Architects. The office also had posts of Secretary, Master Mason and Master Carpenter.

After James Wyatt's death in 1813 a non-professional Surveyor-General was appointed Colonel B.C. Stephenson he was assisted by three 'Attached Architects': Sir John Soane, John Nash and Sir Robert Smirke. This arrangement ended with 1832 with the formation of the Works Department and H.H. Seward was appointed Surveyor of Works and Buildings.

Surveyor of the King's Works

Comptroller of the King's Works

Surveyor-General and Comptroller

Deputy Surveyor

Surveyor of the King's Private Roads

Surveyor of Royal Gardens

Superintendent of all the King's Gardens

Surveyor of Gardens and Waters

Paymaster of the Works

Architect of the Works

Secretary to the Board of Works