ALLEN, Charles John  [1862-1956]

Whilst C J Allen's name is probably not familiar to many Liverpudlians, one of his works, the Victoria Monument in Derby Square is probably one of the most prominent pieces of sculpture in the city. Allen was born in Greenford, Middlesex in 1862 and studied at the Lambeth School of Art. He had already exhibited at the Royal Academy (1890) when he was appointed Instructor in Sculpture and Modelling at the Liverpool School of Architecture and Applied Arts in 1895. It was here that he met the artist and designer, Robert Anning Bell, the two men sharing a house at 2 Rodney Street where they held joint exhibitions. After his marriage in 1899, to Ethel Margaret Eaton, the couple took up residence at 164 Chatham Street L7.  In addition to the Victoria Monument (1902-05) he also produced two panels for the exterior of St George's Hall, two figures on the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board Building and reliefs for the Royal Insurance building. Becoming Vice-Principal of the School of Art, he stayed in the city until shortly after his retirement in 1927, moving to Surrey after the death of his wife.  His wife's probate record gives her address at death as 21 Cambridge Street L7, quoted elsewhere as the address of Allen's studio. This property has since been demolished.

Allen merits a brief, unflattering reference in CH Reilly's autobiography (Scaffolding in the Sky).  He refers to Allen as "a facile person.....he had too a pretty wife who, under a rather simpering manner, was a woman of great decision" . It seems that Reilly found Allen, or more likely his wife, responsible for the garish choice of colours for the University's academic hoods. Such are the great issues of academia.

2 Rodney Street L1

Adshead shared the house with Robert Anning Bell

164 Chatham Street L7


A list of his works and their locations can be found on the Mapping Sculpture Project  website