Mr Sampson was responsible for practically the whole of the architectural layout of early 20th century Sidmouth, including the Victoria Hotel and many other outstanding buildings.
When the 20th century began, the Lord of the Manor of Sidmouth (Col J E H Balfour) was 37 years old. He was assisted by two very effective agents – W H Hastings, his solicitor, and R W Sampson, his architect. Between them they changed the face of Sidmouth.
In those days, many things that we now expect some public authority to perform were initiated and steered by The Manor.
The influence of Sampson can be seen everywhere in Sidmouth. For a period of over 40 years following his arrival in the town in 1891 his architectural output was prolific. Many of the early commissions were for the Manor of Sidmouth but he quickly established his own practice, working on both residential and commercial projects, large and small.
His buildings have a solidity about them and were all soundly constructed. It is fair to say that he adapted to changing tastes but in many of his buildings he was ahead of the time.
R W Sampson was also prominent in the artistic life of the town being an inspired Ko-Ko in the Mikado, performing in Sidmouth to high aclaim only 11 years after its first ever performance in London.
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