Thomas Garner

Thomas Garner

One of the leading English Gothic church architects
Country: Great Britain

Biography of Thomas Garner

Thomas Garner was born in 1839 and was one of the leading English Gothic church architects of the Victorian era. He is often associated with his nearly thirty-year creative partnership with George Frederick Bodley. Garner was born on Vasperthon Hill Farm in Warwickshire and grew up in a simple rural environment that had little to inspire him. However, he had a natural affinity for architecture, which was strengthened over the years.

As a youth, Garner spent his time in London, where his interest in architecture only grew. At the age of seventeen, he began studying under architect Gilbert Scott, where he met George Frederick Bodley, who was already starting his career as an independent architect. A warm and sincere friendship developed between the two young men.

After returning to Warwickshire, Garner completed several works as a student and follower of Gilbert Scott. For example, he was involved in the repair and restoration of the old chapel at Leicester Hospital. On October 6, 1866, Thomas married Rose Emily Smith. Two years later, he returned to London to join his friend Bodley. They formed a partnership and worked together in an office they rented.

Their collaboration was highly productive, with each partner contributing their own ideas and moods, resulting in stunning designs. During this period, they built St. John's Church in Liverpool, the Church of the Holy Angels in Staffordshire, the Cathedral in Hobart, Tasmania, and the Church of St. Augustine. Alongside the construction of churches and cathedrals, they also built university buildings for Oxford and Cambridge. They even received orders for private offices. The volume of work eventually led them to work on separate projects.

Garner independently designed the Tower of the Church of Christ, the Entrance Gate on High Street at Magdalen College, and other notable structures. He had a preference for designing spiritual buildings and created the famous altar at St. Paul's Cathedral, as well as several other monuments. In 1889, he developed the Gothic design for the organ at the Holy Trinity Church. After the dissolution of their partnership, Garner worked on projects for manors, chapels, and hotels. His final work was the singing abbey at Downside, near Bath, Somerset.

In his later years, Garner spent his time at his estate in Fritwell, his hometown. He passed away on April 30, 1906, but his legacy is still admired and celebrated today.