George Faulkner Armitage
- Born: September 1849
- Died: 10 November 1937
Born at Longsight, in September 1849, George Faulkner Armitage was the fifth son of William Armitage J.P. The Armitage family was to become one of the most important in Altrincham, partners in the firm of Armitage and Ward later to become Armitage & Rigby, with cotton mills in both Manchester and Warrington. They were leading members of the Bowdon Downs Congregational Church and close associates of the Mills family. William Armitage was the first chairman of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank, founded by John Mills and his third son, also William, married Margaret, the Mills' second daughter. In 1854 William Armitage bought Mount Pleasant in the north west of Altrincham, later to be called Townfield (where Townfield Gardens apartments now stand) with six acres of ground. The house was later described as an Italianate villa, William having greatly added to it over the years.
G. Faulkner Armitage lived and worked from Stamford House in Church Street, Altrincham, originally the Stamford Arms and Bowling Green Hotel. By his own account he studied his skills in France, Italy and Switzerland as well as in England. It is to be hoped further research can bring more details to this account. In 1879 he married his cousin, Sarah Ann, the second daughter of John Rigby of Altrincham. John Rigby, through his wife, Sarah Beaumont was uncle to architects Richard Fletcher Beaumont (qv) and his brother, James William Beaumont (qv). G Faulkner Armitage later purchased Sandiway House, an adjacent residence with 1 acre of land. In 1901 Armitage employed a staff of six - three gardeners, a coachman, laundry maid and house maid. Although a strictly Congregational household, with prayers “de rigeur” each morning, the house also played host to many family and social gatherings which would include sports and musical concerts. He was Mayor of Altrincham 1913-1919 and Justice of the Peace. After his death in 1937, Stamford House was put to a variety of uses but was accidentally destroyed by fire in 1945 while in the occupation of the 1st Battalion of the Cheshire Home Guard, the site approximately now occupied by Hamilton House next to the Cresta Court Hotel.
G F Armitage acted as both architect and craftsman in domestic and church interiors and specialised in built-in fitments and painted decoration. He designed and furnished many large country houses and London clubs. 1887-92 Barry Parker was articled to Faulkner and remained with him, acting as Clerk of Works 1892-4 before leaving to set up his own practice in Buxton. In the 1880's the office was run by his cousin Armitage Rigby (qv) before his removal to the Isle of Man. In 1899 London showrooms were opened on Clifford Street, which were managed by another cousin, John Rigby and Faulkner’s nephew, John Basil (Jack) Armitage. After his return to Altrincham in c1906, Jack continued to work at Stamford House and by 1909 had been made a partner in the firm, the intention being that he would take over on Faulkner Armitage’s planned retirement in 1914. However, Jack was killed in France in 1917 and another partner, Robert Harrop Wolff ultimately took over the firm. In its latter years, under various permutations of name, the firm mainly concentrated on cabinet making and furniture sales, eventually, by the 1980s existing solely as a furniture shop on John Dalton Street, Manchester under the name of Shaw and Alexander, finally closing in the 1980s.
[Incorporating additional information from Gill Fitzpatrick. 6 April 2019]