John Berry Thornley

Place of Birth

  • Born  :     5 March 1867, at Bolton-le-Moors.
  • Married  :  17 December 1888 to Helen Green, of Westhoughton at St Bartholomew, Westhoughton.
  • Died   :     30 October 1932 at Darwen

John Berry Thornley was born on 5 March 1867, the son of William and Mary Thornley of Bolton and was educated at Bolton High School before serving his articles with an architect and mining engineer at Bolton. Early in his career he entered into partnership with Johnson Lomax Crumblehulme under the style of Thornley and Crumblehulme at 1 Manchester Road, Nelson. This partnership was dissolved in 1891 after which he practiced in Darwen.  About 1900 he entered into partnership with his brother William with offices at Darwen and Wigan. This partnership appears to have been effectively dissolved about 1911 (although not formally until 1922), after which John Berry Thornley continued to practice on his own account from the Darwen office. A staunch Methodist, he obtained many of his commissions through this association, advertising in the Methodist Who’s Who:

JOHN B. THORNLEY, 45, Market Street, Darwen, Lancs., Architect, Specialist in Chapels and Schools. Has many examples of tasteful and economic planning of Churches and Sunday Schools throughout the Connexion. Inspection of sites and preliminary sketches free of charge. Due regard given to financial considerations. [The Methodist Who’s Who 1912 page 256 –advertisement]

Among his most significant works were the Joseph Cross Convalescent Memorial Home for Weavers at Poulton-le-Fylde; the head office of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows, Manchester; the Carshalton Methodist Church, London, the Carnegie Library, Ashton in-Makerfield, and number of churches, public buildings, cinemas, buildings and housing estates in different parts of Lancashire. His last church - Highfield Congregational at Darwen – was opened days before his death.

He was elected to the Darwen Town Council on 4 February 1904 and remained a member until his death. For several years he was an alderman and chairman of the Electricity Committee. He was vice-chairman of the Darwen Divisional Liberal Association, a trustee of the Railway Road Methodist Church and was appointed a borough magistrate in September 1919. He was a founder member of  The Central Subscription Bowling Club at Belgrave, Darwen and partner in the firm of the Glossit Company, polish manufacturers of Bank Top, Darwen, ending his association with the firm in 1924.

John Berry Thornley died on 30 October 1932 at Darwen. He was survived by his widow and two married daughters, his son, Norman, having been killed in the First World War. The practice was continued by his widow, Helen, together with Annie Brown and Irene Mary Hunt under the style Thornley and Partners, still at 45 Market Street, before being transferred to John Rutherford Johnson.

1891        Thornley and Crumblehulme 1 Manchester Road, Nelson (London Gazette)
1894        J B Thornley. Market Street, Darwen (British Architect)
1899        J B Thornley. 45, Market Street, Darwen (British Architect)
1901        J B and W Thornley. Powell’s Chambers, Millgate, Wigan
1912        29 City Road, London EC (Methodist Who’s Who)
1913        J B Thornley 14 Birley Street Blackpool
1923        Mr John B Thornley. 45, Market Street, Darwen
1924        John B Thornley. 45, Market Street, Darwen
1934        Thornley and Partners 45, Market Street, Darwen

1891             John Berry Thornley, Highfield Road Darwen (London Gazette)
1897-1932    John Berry Thornley, Ivy Dene Belgrave Road, Darwen, Lancashire

Reference    London Gazette 12 June 1891
Reference    London Gazette 16 March 1934 Page 1809
Reference    The Methodist Who’s Who 1912 Page 224
Obituary      Lancashire Evening Post 31 October 1932 page 6


Buildings and Designs

Building Name District Town/City County Country
Extensive Additions to the Co-operative Central Stores, Darwen   Darwen  Lancashire  England
New Office for the Darwen News Duckworth Street Darwen   Darwen  Lancashire  England
Alterations to Wesleyan Chapel, Glossop   Glossop  Derbyshire  England
Post Office Union Street Darwen   Darwen  Lancashire  England
Extension to Stables. Wood Street, Darwen   Darwen  Lancashire  England
Six Houses: Cemetery Road, Darwen   Darwen  Lancashire  England
Wesleyan Chapel Bolton Road and Epworth Street, Darwen   Darwen  Lancashire  England
Wesleyan Chapel, Radcliffe   Radcliffe  GMCA  England
Wesleyan Chapel, Samlesbury   Salmesbury  Lancashire  England
Stores for the Helmshore (Lancs) Industrial Co-operative Society Limited   Helmshore  Lancashire  England
Extensions to Co-operative Stores Spring Bank Branch, Darwen   Darwen  Lancashire  England
New Central Stores (Five Shops), Blackburn   Blackburm  Lancashire  England
Wesleyan Chapel, Gannow Lane and White Street, Rosegrove Burnley Rosegrove  Burnley  Lancashire  England
Primitive Methodist Church and Schools, Padiham Road, Burnley   Burnley  Lancashire  England
Primitive Methodist School. Third Avenue Trafford Park Trafford Park  Manchester  GMCA  England
Wesleyan Church Darwen   Darwen  Lancashire  England
Alterations Chevin Hall Otley   Otley  Yorkshire  England
Rosegrove Primitive Methodist School-Church, Lowerhouse Lane, Burnley   Burnley  Lancashire  England
Thirteen Houses Brooklands Terrace Blackburn   Blackburn  Lancashire  England
Primitive Methodist School Ossett Yorkshire   Ossett  Yorkshire  England
United Methodist Church, Newton Drive, Blackpool   Blackpool  Lancashire  England
St Paul’s Wesleyan Chapel Radcliffe   Radcliffe  GMCA  England
Shops, New Offices etc. Market Street, Droylsden   Droylsden  GMCA  England
Carshalton Methodist Church, London Carsholton  London  Greater London  England
Wesleyan School, Pilling. Pilling  Over Wyre  Lancashire  England
Manchester Unity of Oddfellows' New Offices, Grosvenor Street, Manchester. All Saints  Manchester  GMCA  England
Tower Buildings. Bury New Road and Fairfax Road Prestwich   Prestwich  GMCA  England
Alterations to Sanatorium. Poulton-le-Fylde   Poulton-le-Fylde  GMCA  England
Branch Store Failsworth Failsworth  Oldham  GMCA  England
Joseph Cross Convalescent Memorial Home for Weavers at Poulton-le-Fylde   Poulton-le-Fylde  Lancashire  England
Highfield Congregational Church Darwen   Darwen  Lancashire  England
Fielden Sailors’ Rest, Dock Street, Fleetwood   Fleetwood  Lancashire  England
15 Houses, Devon Street, Darwen   Darwen  Lancashire  England
Store & House. Wilpshire near Blackburn for Daisyfield Co-operative Society Wilpshire  Blackburn  Lancashire  England
Eight houses, Whalley Old Road, Blackburn   Blackburn  Lancashire  England
Methodist School Chapel, Orchard Street, Great Harwood Great Harwood  Hyndburn  Lancashire  England


Name Designation Formed Dissolved Location
Thornley J B and W Architectural practice 1901 1920 Wigan