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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Thomas Garner (1839–1906)

Architect and designer born at Wasperton, Warwickshire. In 1856, he entered the office of Sir George Gilbert Scott and in 1869, after working independently for some years, went into an informal partnership with G.F. Bodley. The most important of the partnership’s buildings for which Garner was either wholly or primarily responsible include St Michael’s Church, Camden Town (1879–81), and Hewell Grange, Worcestershire (designed 1883), the latter described in Brooks and Pevsner as ‘one of the most important late nineteeth-century country houses in England’ (it is now an open prison). Garner also designed the reredos, St Paul’s Cathedral (1886–87; removed after Second World War bomb damage), and monuments to Bishop Woodford (d. 1885), Ely Cathedral, and Bishop Wordsworth (d. 1885), Lincoln Cathedral; in each of which the figures were modelled by Guillemin of Farmer & Brindley. In 1874, Garner, Bodley and George Gilbert Scott junior founded Watts & Co, for which Garner made designs for textiles and ecclesiastical furnishings. The conversion to Roman Catholicism of Garner and his wife in 1896 led to the amicable dissolution of Garner’s partnership with Bodley the following year (their business being preponderantly Anglican church design). In 1899, following the death of Edward Hansom, Garner was appointed architect to Downside Abbey, Stratton-on-the-Fosse, Somerset, for which he designed the choir (1901–05) in which he himself was later interred.

Bibliography: A. Brooks and N. Pevsner, Worcestershire, (2007), 2018, p. 625; T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 129–31; P. Waterhouse (rev. M. Hall), ‘Garner, Thomas (1839–1906)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022