Hugh Thackeray Turner (1853-1937) was a notable British architect renowned for his contributions to late Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Born on January 21, 1853, in London, Turner's architectural career left an indelible mark on the landscape of England during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hugh Turner was born at Foxearth, Essex, England. His father, Rev. John Richard Turner, was a Church of England vicar from Wiltshire. Turner received his education at King's College School in London before pursuing architecture at the Royal Academy Schools, where he developed a passion for design and aesthetics. He was apprenticed to Sir George Gilbert Scott, and then worked under his son. In 1888 he married April Powell, daughter of Thomas Wilde Powell of Guildford. His early career saw him working with renowned architects such as George Edmund Street, where he gained valuable experience that would shape his distinctive style.
His architectural style was characterized by a fusion of classical elements with the burgeoning Arts and Crafts movement, showcasing a unique blend of traditional craftsmanship and innovative design. Turner's commitment to detail and craftsmanship set him apart, earning him a reputation for creating elegant and harmonious buildings.
One of Turner's significant achievements was his collaboration with Edwin Lutyens on the design of New Delhi, India's capital city. Turner's expertise in classical architecture and Lutyens' vision resulted in the architectural masterpiece that is the Rashtrapati Bhavan (formerly the Viceroy's House), an iconic symbol of India's architectural heritage.
Turner's portfolio includes various commissions for public buildings, private residences, and commercial structures. His designs often incorporated elements of the Arts and Crafts movement, emphasizing simplicity, functionality, and a connection to nature. His attention to detail and innovative approach to design earned him admiration and respect within the architectural community.
Though Turner's life was primarily dedicated to architecture, he also contributed to academia, lecturing on architectural history and theory. His insights into architectural design and his dedication to preserving craftsmanship influenced generations of architects.
While some of Turner's works have been lost or altered over time due to changing architectural trends and urban development, many of his buildings stand as a testament to his enduring legacy. His contributions to the architectural landscape continue to be celebrated for their elegance, functionality, and timeless appeal.
He founded the West Surrey Society and was a member of the Godalming Town Council from 1907 to 1910. He designed several notable houses and gardens, including Westbrook, Wycliff Buildings, The Court and Mead Cottage.
Turner's buildings included Wycliffe Buildings (1894), The Court (1902), and Mead Cottage in Guildford, Surrey. In 1899, Turner bought some land in Godalming, Surrey, with the aim of building a house. With the Arts and Crafts garden designer Gertrude Jekyll, he designed the Philips Memorial Cloister on the riverside in Godalming, commemorating the bravery of Jack Philips, a hero on board the Titanic in 1912.
In 1888, Turner married the embroiderer Mary Elizabeth Powell (1854–1907), the daughter of Thomas Wilde Powell from Guildford. Their daughter, Ruth, married George Mallory, the climber of Mount Everest who also taught at Charterhouse School.
- Curl, James Stevens. "A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture." Oxford University Press, 2006.
- Stamp, Gavin. "Turner, Hugh Thackeray (1853–1937), architect." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
- Watkin, David. "A History of Western Architecture." Laurence King Publishing, 2015.