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June 8, 2009

Thomas Graham Jackson (1835-1924)

Thomas Graham Jackson was educated at Brighton College and then Wadham College. After a brilliant career at Oxford he entered the office of Sir George Gilbert Scott at the age of 23, and remained there for three years, but his future work showed that he was not very deeply influenced by the somewhat narrowly Gothic method and predilection of Scott. Much of his career was devoted to the architecture of education and he worked extensively for various schools, notably Giggleswick and his own alma mater Brighton College. He also worked on the college chapel at the University of Wales, Lampeter. He is best remembered for his work at Oxford for various colleges as well as the university, including the Bridge of Sighs over New College Lane, most of Hertford College, much of Brasenose College and the Examination Schools.

Jackson’s name will also be connected with a large number of new churches for which he was responsible, and of even more in the restoration of which he was concerned, amongst the latter being St. Mary’s, Oxford. Though subjected at the time to much criticism as to the decorative features of the exterior, and especially the spire, Jackson’s work still holds its own as dealing conscientiously and conservatively with the difficult and disputed problem of restoration. He carried out many new houses, and a large number of alterations and additions to others.

He was a friend of William Morris, and was a pioneering member of the arts and crafts moment. A distinguished historian, he also restored dozens of houses and churches – and ensured the survival of Winchester Cathedral in Winchester, during the years 1905-1912.

Jackson was not only a scholar, but also an antiquarian, a keen traveller, and a writer of considerable standing. As an author he was responsible for several works, covering a wide area of his profession, and especially his many visits to the Near East and the Balkan States. Travelling extensively throughout Europe, Jackson recorded his experiences in notebooks, sketchbooks and diaries.

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