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June 8, 2009

Thomas Worthington (1826-1909)

Thomas Worthington was an eminent 19th-century English architect, particularly associated with public buildings in his native Salford. Worthington was the fourth of six sons of a Salford Unitarian cotton merchant. He left school, aged 15, and was articled to Henry Bowman, architect. After completing his articles in 1847, he went, in 1848, on an eight-month study tour to Italy. The following year, he returned to Manchester and established his own architectural practice in King Street, though he subsequently undertook a second tour to Italy in 1858. Worthington was strongly influenced by his Unitarian upbringing, becoming committed to social reform and improvement, and joining numerous learned societies, including the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, the Portico Library and the Royal Manchester Institution. Partly as a result of his social concerns, Worthington was often commissioned to design public buildings, ranging from public baths and hospitals to workhouses and Unitarian churches. These were often designed in a Gothic style, not dissimilar to that of his contemporary and rival Alfred Waterhouse.

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