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Thomas Harrison

Georgian Architect of Chester and Lancaster 1744-1829

Thomas Harrison (1744-1829), an architect who was born in Yorkshire and trained in Rome, made his reputation at Lancaster and practised for much of his life at Chester. Arguably the greatest architect of his day in the North West of England, he left the region a legacy of fine Georgian architecture, especially public buildings and bridges. This book gives his work the recognition which it deserves and through it opens many windows onto the very different world of Late Georgian Society.

About the Author:
John Champness, an architectural and buildings historian, was the County Conservation Officer for Lancashire County Council for nearly 25 years. He also taught courses on Country Houses on Lancaster University's Summer Programme for many years.

  • Softback
  • Full Colour Cover
  • ISBN: 1-86220-169-2
  • 69 Black and White Figures
  • 160 Pages

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Published by Centre for North-West Regional Studies, Lancaster University.


Extract from the Introduction

There are few 'north-western' architects whose names mean anything outside the north west. The dynasty of Paley and Austin and the Websters of Kendal are certainly amongst them. Perhaps Richard Gillow does too. The only other north-western architect who is a candidate is Thomas Harrison 'of Chester' whom Sir Nikolaus Pevsner described 'as a local architect whose work is as good at that of any architect in London'.

Harrison 40 years of professional practice began with a bridge in Lancaster - supposedly the first in England with a level road deck - and ended with a bridge in Chester - whose stone arch certainly had the longest span in the world.

Extract from Chapter 1

Thomas Harrison started his professional career in December 1782 at the age of 38. What is more he started with a masterpiece Skerton Bridge is perhaps the most elegant bridge in Lancashire and became a model for a number of other more famous bridges, including the London Bridge which is now in Arizona.

Grosvenor Bridge

We have become so used to seeing photographs of wide spans in striking landscapes, created by the use of reinforced concrete, that we have become somewhat blase but in 1833 this gateway to the city for river traffic, with its clear masonry span of 200 feet, must have been literally breathtaking. It is still impressive.

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Images from Thomas Harrison

Book cover

Book cover

Chester Bridge

Skerton Bridge

Grosvenor Bridge

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