Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, 'Father of Southsea' is available through this website. Go to The Saleroom for further details. NB It is not being sold through Amazon.
Thomas Ellis Owen was not a national figure but his life and work entwined with others who were. George Stephenson, Charles Dickens, John Nash all featured at one time or another. He had permanent bases in London but, at the end of the day, his loyalty to Portsmouth, and especially Southsea, kept him close to home.
Born more than 200 years ago, the son of an ambitious and charismatic canal engineer, Thomas grew up in a huge family of talented people. Even in his own family, however, he excelled. He attracted an unusual array of architectural and engineering commissions whilst still in his 20s. Then, after most of his birth family moved to Dublin, he laid the foundations of modern Southsea with elegant terraces, villas and curvy lanes bedecked with foliage. He also designed workhouses, schools, theatres, churches, model lodging houses, and cemeteries and, working as an engineer in Portsmouth, drew up improvements to the Camber Docks, furnished plans for the gasworks and designed the first stretch of Clarence Esplanade along Southsea seafront.
In 2004, many local people helped organise or contributed to a festival in Southsea (funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund) to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Thomas's birth. The information on this website was tracked down by members of the Thomas Ellis Owen Research Group who, between 2001 and 2004, worked diligently to find out as much as possible for the exhibition that was mounted as part of the festival at the Portsmouth City Museum.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 28 February 2013 15:35|