- Born: - Died: 1891
Architect and county surveyor for Cos. Cavan and Dublin (northern division). Thomas Turner was a son of RICHARD TURNER of Dublin and his wife Jane (née Goodshaw). If, as seems likely, he was the Thomas Turner who attended the Royal Dublin Society's Schools of Landscape and Ornament in 1832 and Drawing in Architecture in 1833,(1) he was probably the second child, the eldest, Richard, having been born in 1817. According to Dixon and Rowan, Thomas Turner received his architectural training under JACOB OWEN of the Board of Works and then became an assistant to CHARLES LANYON in Belfast. He was in Lanyon's office in 1843, when he made drawings of the latter's designs for churches for the Down & Connor Church Accommodation Society for inclusion as twelve lithographed views in the Society's fourth and final report, but it is not clear how much longer he remained there. In 1849-1850 he must have been much taken up with the plans for a building for the Great Exhibition of 1851 which he prepared in collaboration with his father, and he was practising on his own account by 1851. In February 1852, he was appointed county surveyor for Cavan. He tendered his resignation at the Cavan Spring Assizes in 1853, giving as a reason that he 'could not reside in Cavan, in consequence of having other business to attend to' and recommending that his deputy, FREDERICK GAHAN , be appointed in his stead.(2)
For the next thirty years Turner was in independent private practice . The known facts of his life suggest that he inherited the same restless energy and 'ubiquitousness' which THOMAS DREW attributed to his father,(3) moving between Belfast, Derry, Glasgow and perhaps even London while maintaining his links with the family ironworks in Dublin. A partnership with THOMAS JACKSON which was projected in August 1854(4) came to nothing. Did Turner then go briefly to London? Under the heading 'Another submarine tunnel railway project' , The Builder of 22 December 1855 announced that 'Mr R. Turner of Dublin and Mr T. Turner of London' had proposed a semi-circular cast- and wrought-iron tube to run under the English Channel between England and France.(5) However he appears continuously in the Belfast directories throughout this period. He went to Glasgow in July 1860(6) but retained his practice in the north of Ireland. By the spring of 1861 he had formed a partnership with RICHARD WILLIAMSON , who had become county surveyor for Co. Derry the previous year, and soon afterwards the partnership arrangements were extended to include Thomas Drew, then based in Belfast, with the express purpose of enabling Turner to live in Glasgow.(7) According to a surviving copy of the partnership deed, the arrangement left Turner free to reside in Glasgow provided that he visited the Belfast office for about a week each month.(8) Drew's participation came to an end the following year when he moved to Dublin.
Turner appears regularly in the Glasgow directories between 1861 and 1871, but maintained a Belfast address in the same building as ROBERT YOUNG. F rom 1872 he was based in Belfast. The partnership of TURNER & amp; WILLIAMSON seems to have continued to operate in Co. Derry until Williamson's death in 1874. By 1880 Turner had formed a new partnership in Derry with HUME BABINGTON , which was listed in the Derry Almanac until 1892.
Towards the end of his life Turner returned to Dublin. In May 1883 he was appointed county surveyor for the northern division of Co. Dublin, following the resignation of JAMES BELL. (9) He held the position until his death, which took place on 10 October 1891 at Raheny House, a property he had rented from the Sweetman family.(10) He was buried with his parents in Mount Jerome Cemetery.(11) He was succeeded as county surveyor by WILLIAM COLLEN.
Turner, who never married, was remembered by Robert Young, as a 'good-looking, amiable, well bred and mannered Southern gentleman', whose 'ease and savoir faire' made him 'quite at home and a favourite at once in any company he entered'. As an architect, according to Young, he was a 'thorough and rapid draughtsman' who 'excelled in sketching details of ornament in carving', was a master of planning and had a facility for sketching perspective views of how a building would appear.(12) He was an inveterate participator in competitions, entering at least fifteen between 1849 and 1877. During the early 1870s he was also an active member of the Belfast Architectural Association (see below)
Belfast Architectural Association:(13) chairs meeting, 9 December 1872; named as judge in drawing competitions, 22 June 1874 and 26 April 1875; offers prize, 8 November 1875.(14)
Addresses:(15) Work, Belfast: 8-9 Donegall Place Buildings, 1852-1861; 13 Donegall Place, 1864; 16 Calendar Street, 1865-1868; The Castle, Castle Place, Belfast, 1875(16)-1883;
Work, Glasgow: 204 West George Street, 1861-1871;
Home: 21 Queen Street, Belfast, 1852; Raheny House, Co. Dublin, at time of death.(17)
See WORKS and BIBLIOGRAPHY . See also WORKS of TURNER & amp; WILLIAMSON.
All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from Hugh Dixon & Alistair Rowan, 'The architecture of Thomas ?Turner', Country Life 153, 24 May 1973, 1495-1496. Genealogical information about the Turners is from E. Charles Nelson, 'Richard Turner: an introductory portrait', Moorea 9 (Dec 1990), 3-5. The obituary which appeared in the Derry Sentinel, 13 Oct 1891, was reprinted in IB 33, 15 Oct 1891, 230. Further documents relating to Turner are in PRONI, D3354 (see PRONI e-catalogue).
(1) Gitta Willemson, The Dublin Society Drawing Schools 1746-1876 (2000), 95.
(2) Anglo-Celt, 3 Mar 1853.
(3) Building News, 19 Mar 1880, ?.
(4) Draft indenture of partnership, 1854, in PRONI, D1905/2/1470 (L'Estrange & Brett papers).
(5) B 13, 22 Dec 1855, 628.
(6) Note by Hugh Dixon in Buildings of Ireland files, source not given, though possibly PRONI, D1905/2/1470.
(7) Instructions from Turner to J.R. & T Garrett re terms of partnership, with notes by T. L'Estrange, 27 Mar 1861, in PRONI, L'Estrange & Brett papers, D1905/2/147/1D ; DB 3, 15 Apr 1861, 488.
(8) Copy of deed of partnership, 2 Apr 1861, in PRONI, L'Estrange & Brett papers D1905/2/147/1D ; the draft contract excludes Armagh Court House, Tullyhenan House and Dromore Cottage from the clause which sets out how the profits on work already in hand are to be apportioned.
(9) IB 25, 15 May 1883, 161.
(10) Note by Hugh Dixon in Buildings of Ireland files, based on Thom's Dublin Directory, 1884-1893.
(12) Robert Young, Reminiscences (), 113.
(13) H. Dixon in Buildings of Ireland files, citing PRONI, D2094/1/1.
(14) IB 17, 15 Nov 1875, 310.
(15) From transcripts from Belfast and Glasgow directories in Buildings of Ireland files, unless otherwise stated.
(16) IB 17, 15 Aug 1875, 231.
(17) Obituary in IB 33, 15 Oct 1891, 230.
38 work entries listed in chronological order for TURNER, THOMAS
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CASTLE STREET, DUBLIN CASTLE|
|Nature:||Iron gates for Palace Street entrance.
Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 360.
|Building:||CO. LOUTH, DUNDALK, RODEN PLACE, CHURCH OF ST PATRICK (RC PRO-CATHEDRAL)|
|Nature:||Entrance screen. Cost about £900 (£596 exclusive of gates). Built by Robinson & Kelly, Belfast.|
|Refs:||B 9, 26 Jul 1851, 466-7(illus.); DB 5, 1 Aug 1863, 131; Christine Casey & Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North Leinster (1993), 264|
|Building:||ENGLAND, LONDON, 1851 EXHIBITION BUILDING (CRYSTAL PALACE)|
|Nature:||Submitted design with Richard Turner 24 Jan 1850 and was then an entrant in subsequent competition. Only design which had transepts.|
|Refs:||Min.Proc.Inst.CE 10 (1850-51), 166-168(illus.); B 14, 19 Apr 1856, 216; Robert Young, Reminiscences(????), 114-5; Roger Harper, Victorian Architectural Competitions (1983), 89|
|Building:||CO. DOWN, CRAIGAVAD|
|Nature:||New house for John Mulholland. Classical. Contractors: John Kelly & Robert McCready, Belfast.. Estimated cost: £3,379.|
|Refs:||Building contract, 11 Aug 1851, among Mulholland MSS, Ballywalter Park in 1960s; H. Dixon & A. Rowan, 'The architecture of Thomas Turner', Country Life 153, 24 May 1973, 1495; Mark Bence-Jones, Burke’s Guide to Country Houses. Volume I, Ireland. (London, 1978), 93|
|Building:||CO. DOWN, HOLYWOOD, HILLBROOK|
|Nature:||Alts. including addition of offices, for Rev. William Bankhead. (TT supplied designs only but did not superintend work.)|
|Building:||CO. DOWN, HOLYWOOD, HOUSES|
|Nature:||New terrace of houses to be built.|
|Refs:||B 11, 8 Jan 1853, 28|
|Building:||CO. TYRONE, COOKSTOWN, GLENAVON HOUSE|
|Nature:||Italianate house, for Thomas Adair 'to judge by its appearance, either by Lanyon or by Thomas Turner, once his principal clerk'(Rowan).|
|Refs:||Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979), 218|
|Building:||CO. ARMAGH, THE ARGORY|
|Nature:||Proposals for enlargement of house for Walter McGeough Bond.
Kevin V. Mulligan, The Buildings of Ireland: South Ulster (2013), 86.
|Building:||CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, WARING STREET, NO. 035-39 (ULSTER BANK)|
|Nature:||Was TT a competition entrant? See Graves, which credits Thomas Turner (wrongly called Thackeray Turner), of London, with a design for Ulster Bank, exh. RA 1859, no. 1090. (Anonymous competition design for bank in Ulster Museum attr. to Thomas Turner by Dixon.)
|Refs:||Graves, IV, T, 42; Hugh Dixon, Ulster Architecture 1800-1900 (UAHS, 1973), 25,no. 122(illus.).|
|Building:||CO. DERRY, COLERAINE, DIAMOND, TOWN HALL|
|Nature:||New town hall. FS laid, 21 Jul 1857. 'just completed' Mar 1859. Contractor: McLaughlin & Harvey, Belfast. Final cost: £4,146.19s.10½ instead of estimated £3,021.|
|Refs:||B 15, 28 Feb,1,8 Aug 1857, 123,443,449; DB 1, 1 Mar 1859, 33; W.D. Girvan, Historic Buildings…in Coleraine and Portstewart (UAHS, 1972), 8(illus.),9; C.E.B. Brett, Court Houses and Market Houses of the Province of Ulster (UAHS, 1973), 84; H. Dixon & A. Rowan, 'The architecture of Thomas Turner', Country Life 153, 24 May 1973, 1495(illus.); Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979), 206-7,Pl.99|
|Building:||CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, NEWTOWNARDS ROAD UPPER, STORMONT CASTLE|
|Nature:||Additions on side and rear of old building which has been cased with free stone with dressings to correspond with the rest.. In progress, 1858. Builder: John Lowry. Cost about £10,000|
|Refs:||B 16, 4 Dec 1858, 818-19(illus.); perspective view repr H. Dixon & A. Rowan, 'The architecture of Thomas Turner', Country Life 153, 24 May 1973, 1495; copy of plan, by J. Livock, in RIBA Drawings Collection, see Jill Lever, ed., Catalogue of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects T-Z (1984), 83|
|Building:||CO. LOUTH, DUNDALK, CROWE STREET, EXCHANGE & MARKET|
|Nature:||Entrants in the first competition for designing same, 1857, and on short-list of 5 of the original entrants who were invited to prepare new plans for the building in a second, limited competition, 1858.|
|Refs:||P.J. Geraghty, 'Urban improvement and the erection of municipal buildings in County Louth during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries', County Louth Archaeological and Historical Journal 25, no. 3 (1995), 314|
|Building:||CO. LOUTH, DROGHEDA, MARKETS (PROPOSED)|
|Nature:||TT wins competition for same. (Unexecuted)|
|Refs:||Buildings of Ireland files (source not given)|
|Building:||ENGLAND, MANCHESTER, ASSIZE COURT|
|Refs:||Roger Harper, Victorian Architectural Competitions (1983), 116|
|Building:||CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ?, SHOP & HOUSE|
|Nature:||House and shop with cast-iron front.|
|Refs:||Examples of Building Construction (1859-60), Pls. 5 & 6|
|Building:||CO. DOWN, BANBRIDGE, MILLMOUNT?|
|Nature:||Unexecuted designs, for R. Hayes. (?Richard Hayes, who lived at Millmount, Banbridge)|
|Refs:||PRONI, D1905/2/1470? (B. of I.)|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ST ANDREW'S STREET, ST ANDREW'S CHURCH (CI, 3RD)|
|Nature:||TT competition entrant under name of 'Excelsior'. Placed 5th.|
|Refs:||DB 2, 1 May 1860, 248|
|Building:||CO. DERRY, THORNHILL HOUSE (DERRY)|
|Nature:||Stable and lodge by TT.|
|Refs:||Note by Hugh Dixon (B. of I.; source not given); Hugh Dixon & Alistair Rowan, 'The architecture of Thomas Turner', Country Life 153, 24 May 1973, 1496.|
|Building:||CO. DOWN, MONTALTO (BALLYNAHINCH)|
|Nature:||Proposals (3) for entrance gate for David S. Ker, M.P., with Thomas Drew. Entrance in course of construction, Aug 1861.|
|Refs:||DB 3, 1 Aug 1861, 591; Hugh Dixon, Ulster Architecture 1800-1900 (UAHS, 1972), 16 (no. 56); J.A.K. Dean, The Gate Lodges of Ulster (UAHS, 1994), 84 (no. 232, illus.)|
|Building:||SCOTLAND, COLTNESS HOUSE (GLASGOW)|
|Nature:||Extensive alts. and adds. being made for R. Holdsworth.|
|Refs:||DB 3, 1 Aug 1861, 591|
|Building:||CO. ARMAGH, TULLYHENAN HOUSE (LURGAN)|
|Nature:||Works at same.|
|Refs:||Copy of deed of partnership, 2 Apr 1861, in PRONI, D1905/2/1470 (L'Estrange & Brett papers); Hugh Dixon & Alistair Rowan, 'The architecture of Thomas Turner;, Country Life 153, 24 May 1973, 1496|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, KILDARE STREET, NO. 006 (ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS)|
|Nature:||Turner & Drew submit 2 sets of plans and 3 different designs for façade in limited competition. Proposed design exh. by Drew at RHA, 1862..|
|Refs:||RHA 1862, no. 492; DB 3, 1 Aug 1861, 589; 4, 15 Jul 1862, 175; Roger Harper, Victorian Architectural Competitions (1983), 43|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUN LAOGHAIRE, HAIGH TERRACE, MARINERS' CHURCH (CI)|
|Nature:||TT wins competition, 1862, for extension including new tower and spire. FS laid 2 Jun 1865 by Lord de Vesci. Contractor: Crowe, Seapoint (£3,000). Work 'progressing', Apr 1867.
DB 7, 15 Mar,15 Jun 1865, 82,149; Irish Times, 12 Apr 1867; IB 9, 15 Apr 1867, 102; B 24, 5 May 1866, 332; exterior illus. in Claude Costegalde & Brian Walker, The Church of Ireland: an illustrated history (2013), 291.
|Building:||ENGLAND, MANCHESTER, LIVERPOOL INSURANCE CO.|
|Nature:||TT winner of competition, 1863. Premium of £200.|
|Refs:||DB 5, 15 Aug 1863, 138|
|Building:||ENGLAND, BOLTON (LANCASHIRE), TOWN HALL|
|Nature:||Winner of 2nd prize in competition.|
|Refs:||Design exh. RHA 1879, no. 475; DB 7, 1 Feb 1865, 38; 'The new town hall, Bolton', Irish Times, 4 Feb 1865; Roger Harper, Victorian Architectural Competitions (1983), 18|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, O'CONNELL STREET LOWER, O'CONNELL MONUMENT|
|Nature:||TT competition entrant. Models exh. in City Hall, Jan 1865. (First competition announced, Oct 1864.)|
|Refs:||DB 7, 15 Jan 1865, ?|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CORK HILL, ROYAL EXCHANGE (CITY HALL)|
|Nature:||New entrance steps and balustraded terrace. Tenders invited Jul 1865. In progress, Nov 1866. Contractor: Meade, Gt Brunswick St (Architects invited by Corporation to submit designs 'for improving the Ascending and Entrance' to City Hall, Jun 1862, see Freeman's Journal, 14 Jun 1862.)|
|Refs:||DB 7, 15 Jul,15 Nov 1865, 178,276; 8, 15 May,15 Sep 1866, 126,128(illus.),230; B 24, 24 Nov 1866, 872|
|Building:||ENGLAND, MANCHESTER, ROYAL EXCHANGE|
|Refs:||Elevations in PRONI, D3354/2 (see PRONI e-catalogue); Roger Harper, Victorian Architectural Competitions (1983), 117.|
|Building:||CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, TOWN HALL (PROPOSED)|
|Nature:||Proposal for new town hall and public offices? Also? project for demolishing old Linen Hall to provide site for new town hall.|
|Refs:||DB 8, 15 Nov 1866, ?; IB 9, 15 Jan 1867, 21|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, MOLESWORTH STREET, NO. 017-18 (FREEMASONS' HALL)|
|Nature:||Competition entrant. (Motto: 'St Patrick'.)|
|Refs:||Drawings and description in Grand Lodge of Freemasons, Dublin, Masonic Hall with building committee minutes (information from Marion Gaule), see also Tony Browne, 'A Building Study (2008) of the Freemason's Hall', 25 http://irishmasonicjewels.ie/last visited Feb 2010).|
|Building:||CO. ARMAGH, LURGAN, COURT HOUSE|
|Nature:||New court house, with Henry Davison. Contractor: McLaughlin & Harvey, Belfast. (Opposed by ratepayers of Portadown, who wanted to build court house in their town.)|
|Refs:||Drawings in collection of McLaughlin & Harvey, contractors (in 1970s) (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44); IB 14, 15 Jun 1872, 177; 15, 15 Jan 1873, 29; C.E.B. Brett, Court Houses and Market Houses of the Province of Ulster (UAHS, 1973), 40,41(illus.); Hugh Dixon & Alistair Rowan, 'The architecture of Thomas Turner', Country Life 153, 24 May 1973, 1495-1496; Kevin V. Mulligan, The Buildings of Ireland: South Ulster (2013), 431, Pl..108..|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, ST STEPHEN'S GREEN, NO. 123 (ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS)|
|Nature:||TT entrant in competition for new hall.|
|Refs:||IB 17, 1,15 Aug 1875, 215,216,?|
|Building:||CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CARLISLE BRIDGE (NEW)|
|Nature:||Design for improvement (i.e. rebuilding on present piers) of same adopted by City Council (John Lanyon and Charles Geoghegan also submitted proposals)|
|Refs:||Letter to editor from TT, 4 Sep 1875, re same published in Irish Times, 6 Sep 1875.m>IB 17, 1,15 Sep 1875, 243,289; 18, 1 Jan 1876, 3; RHA 1876, no. 262.|
|Building:||ENGLAND, LEEDS (YORKSHIRE), MUNICIPAL OFFICES|
|Refs:||Design exh. RHA 1877, no. 302 (for competition see Roger Harper, Victorian Architectural Competitions (1983), 77)|
|Building:||ENGLAND, WAKEFIELD (YORKSHIRE), TOWN HALL|
|Refs:||Design exh. RHA 1878, no. 587 (for compeition see Roger Harper, Victorian Architectural Competitions (1983), 165|
|Building:||CO. DERRY, DERRY, SHIPQUAY PLACE, COUNCIL OFFICES|
|Nature:||2 storey brick building to S of Court House.|
|Refs:||Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979), 389|
|Building:||CO. DERRY, KILREA, NORTHERN BANK|
|Nature:||'A two-storey ashlar block on a corner site with wayward Italianate detail that could by by Thomas Turner'|
|Refs:||Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (1979), 336|
|Building:||CO. DERRY, DERRY, BISHOP STREET, COUNTY COURT HOUSE|
|Refs:||Obituary of TT in IB 33, 15 Oct 1891, 230|
|Dixon, Hugh, & Rowan, Alistair||'The architecture of Thomas Turner'||1973||Country Life 153, 24 May 1973, 1495-1496.|
|Turner, Richard||[Leaflet on portable cattle sheds]||1859||Note by Hugh Dixon in Buildings of Ireland files|