Ernest Albert Coxhead was born in Eastbourne, England in 1863. He received his architectural training at the Royal Academy and Architectural Association in London. In 1886, Coxhead moved with his brother Almeric to Los Angeles, where the two began their architecture practice. Four years later they moved to San Francisco, where they remained until retirement.
At the beginning of his career, Ernest Coxhead focused on designing churches, primarily in the Gothic Revival style. His church of St. John the Evangelist in the Mission District was destroyed by the 1906 fire, but his Episcopal church in Petaluma, California, and eleven (out of 17) church buildings remain in California.
After the mid 1890s, Coxhead focused on residential designs. He was involved in the emergence of the Arts and Crafts style in California. He succeeded in designing residences that incorporated the elements and character of the English country house. His residences include townhouses in San Francisco and large homes in Palo Alto, Alameda, and Berkeley. Coxhead also built residences for himself in San Francisco and in San Mateo, CA.
From 1918 to 1919, Coxhead went to LeMans, France, to organize and direct the American Expeditionary Forces University School of Architecture, established by John Galen Howard, for members of the United States armed forces stationed in France. He was subsequently appointed Chief of the University Extension Field Work of the Fine Arts Department at the University School of Architecture in Beaune, France.
Coxhead returned to the United States and lived in Berkeley until his death in 1933.
Richard Longstreth. On the Edge of the World: Four Architects in San Francisco at the Turn of the Century University of California Press. 1983
Robert Winter. Toward a Simpler Way of Life, The Arts & Crafts Architects of California" University of California Press. 1997