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Mr George Truefitt

George Truefitt was an architect whose practice was based in Bloomsbury Square, London. Truefitt's main patron was banker Sir William Cunliffe-Brooks, for whom he worked on the Glen Tanar and Aboyne estates in Scotland.

The design of Tower Lodge and the bridge at Bridge of Ess, Glen Tanar was carried out with designer Thomas Mawson in 1890.

George Truefitt was born in 1824 and articled to Lewis Nockalls Cottingham c.1839-44. He was subsequently an assistant with Sancton Wood in London and Hervey Eginton in Worcester before commencing practice on his own account about 1850 as a distinctly eccentric designer. About this time he went with his friend Calvert Vaux on a walking holiday in France and Germany and returned with 400-500 sketches. On his return, he competed for the Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall. Although he was unsuccessful in the competition, his design came to the attention in Mr (afterwards Sir) William Cunliffe Brooks M.P who was to become one of his best friends and clients.

He published 'Designs for Country Churches' in 1850 and was admitted FRIBA in 1860. The prosperity of his practice was largely dependent on his surveyorship of the Tufnell Park estate in London, an appointment which he held for over 25 years, and on the patronage of the banker Sir William Cunliffe Brooks in Manchester and on the Glentaner and Aboyne estates in Scotland which he bought in 1869 and 1888 respectively. At Glen Tana, William Brooks, indulged in a programme of almost continuous re-building on his estate. Some of the later work was carried out in collaboration with the landscape gardener T H Mawson. Truefitt also carried out extensive restorations and additions to Aboyne Castle, the adjacent estate in Aberdeenshire, and the residence of the Sir William’s son-in-law the Marquis of Huntly.

One obituary noted “Mr. Truefitt has erected buildings in 25 different counties. He has put up 16 churches and chapels, including: St. George's Tufnell Park; St. George's Worthing, St. John's Bromley, Kent; Davyhulme Church Cheshire; Blakemere, Herefordshire; etc.; and restored 10 churches. He has erected 8 rectory houses; 7 schools, 13 banks in London, Manchester, Altrincham, Blackburn, etc.; 7 large halls and church rooms; 170 houses and mansions, including a large house at Antibes, in the South of France, 20 various buildings; 44 cottages and lodges.” He enjoyed architectural competitions, as they never cost him anything but his own time, and he reckoned that of all the work he has done, about three-fourths of it has been the result of competition, although this was probably an over-estimate

Truefitt was twice married, firstly on 23 September 1852 to Mary, the eldest daughter of Charles Haywood, of Broughton Fields, Worcester, by whom he had two sons George Haywood and Lewis Haywood and one daughter Mary Louisa. Following her death on 16 September 1896 he married secondly Constance (1870 - ) on 16th December 1896 by whom he had one daughter, Connie Georgie Truefitt. DSA

George Truefitt gave up practice about 1892 years ago, retiring to as picturesque home at Worthing, filled with curiosities which he began to collect when he was first a pupil. His favourite amusement was sketching both in pen and ink and water colour, and this he continued almost to the last. However, he could be a man of rigid principles. Although he was well to do, quite famous, he refused to buy a carriage as he felt that he did not have the social position to justify one. The opinion of his young wife who, no doubt' would have enjoyed some personal transport that they could easily have afforded is not recorded.

His daughter by this second marriage, Connie Georgie, described him as a very short man, full of energy, who was known for hurrying along in built up shoes to give extra height. She noted particularly his "intense eyes with large pupils", and the fact that he never needed to wear glasses for reading or drawing.

George Truefitt died on Monday 11 August 1902 at the Old House, Worthing after an illness of six months.


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