Thomas Worthington

Place of Birth

Born into a middle-class Nonconformist Salford family in 1826, Thomas Worthington was articled to the Manchester architect Henry Bowman at the age of 15. Worthington stayed with Bowman, a confirmed Goth, for the full seven years of his articles, later describing him as "not the pushy man of business". He then moved to the London office of William Tite, best known as the architect of the Royal Exchange, London. In Tite's office Worthington worked mainly on railway commissions throughout the country but was eventually advised by his employer, "You have many friends in the North: go down to Manchester and hang out a sign there". Acting on this advice, Worthington returned to Manchester where he was to become one of the best known mid-Victorian architects in the North of England.

In common with many architects of the period, Worthington travelled extensively to Europe studying Gothic architecture. These travels gave Worthington an appreciation not only of north European gothic styles but a love of the renaissance architecture of northern Italy. Designs inspired by these travels appear in such Manchester buildings as the Albert Memorial, the tower of the Nicholls Hospital School (1880) and the Sessions Court in Minshull Street (1873) while the facade of the Memorial Hall in Albert Square is based directly on the Ca d'Oro Palace in Venice. Yet he was to write of the Overseers, and Commissioners' Office, "...a simple bit of Italian design in brick and stone".

Worthington was to produce numerous designs for hospitals, public baths and low-cost housing for the working classes. Between 1862 and 1896 he was the architect for at least eight new hospitals, including the infirmary at the Chorlton Union Workhouse. Designed as a series of pavilions, the infirmary was closely based on recommendations by Florence Nightingale, who was to approve the plans. Through his involvement with the Manchester Statistical Society and the Manchester Sanitary Association, Worthington produced schemes for low-cost flats for the Salford Improved Industrial Dwellings Company. Intended as the first in a series of such developments, the flats brought shareholders only a 3% return on their capital rather than the anticipated 5% return, and thus no further schemes were undertaken.

Worthington's public baths with their advanced constructional techniques and complex mechanical services were to serve as prototypes for a new generation of buildings. The French government bought copies of the plans for Leaf Street baths in Hulme, intending to provide similar facilities in Paris and he was consulted from places as far afield as Gothenburg and Gibraltar. Worthington's motives for involvement in such schemes appear to be based solely on a concern for the less fortunate. However, these commissions show the increasing specialisation that began to occur in the late nineteenth century architectural profession.


54 John Dalton Street

13 Union Terrace Cheetham

Obituary    Building News 12 November 1909 Page 716
Obituary    British Architect 19 November 1909 Page 363
Obituary    Builder 13 November 1909 Page 533
Obituary    Builder 20 November 1909 Page 563-564
Obituary    Manchester Guardian 10 November 1909 page 14
Reference:Manchester Guardian 12 November 1909 page 5 – funeral

Buildings and Designs

Building Name District Town/City County Country
Broomfield Macclesfield Road Alderley Edge   Alderley Edge  Cheshire  England
Six Houses, Cheetham Cheetham  Manchester  GMCA  England
Villas Bowdon for Walter Worthington Bowdon  Altrincham  GMCA  England
Design for the Great Exhibition of 1851, Hyde Park, London Hyde Park  London  Greater London  England
Peel Monument Peel Park Salford (Architectural Competition)   Salford  GMCA  England
Overseers’ Offices, Fountain Street Manchester Central  Manchester  GMCA  England
"Timberhurst," Heap Bridge, Bury Heap Bridge  Bury  GMCA  England
Exhibition House; Manchester Botanical Gardens, Old Trafford Old Trafford  Stretford  GMCA  England
Cemetery, Burnley (Architectural Competition)   Burnley  Lancashire  England
Public Baths, Collier Street, Greengate, Salford Greengate  Salford  GMCA  England
Mayfield Baths New Store Street Ardwick Ardwick  Manchester  GMCA  England
Baths and Wash-houses, Stretford New Road, Hulme Hulme  Manchester  GMCA  England
Cross Street Chapel Manchester Central  Manchester  GMCA  England
Cumberland and Westmorland Lunatic Asylum (Garlands Hospital) Carleton  Carlisle  Cumbria  England
Upper floors: Overseers’ Offices, Fountain Street Manchester Central  Manchester  GMCA  England
Leaf Street Baths, Hulme Hulme  Manchester  GMCA  England
Penny Baths Ardwick  Manchester  GMCA  England
Unitarian Memorial Hall Albert Square and Southmill Street Central  Manchester  GMCA  England
Albert Memorial, Albert Square, Manchester   Manchester  GMCA  England
The Park Prestwich   Prestwich  GMCA  England
The How Sedgley Park Road Sedgley Park Sedgley Park  Prestwich  GMCA  England
Sale Old Hall Sale  Trafford  GMCA  England
Sale Old Hall: Dovecote Sale  Trafford  GMCA  England
Fairfield Crumpsall Lane Higher Crumpsall Higher Crumpsall  Manchester  GMCA  England
Hospital: Chorlton Union Workhouse, Withington Withington  Manchester  GMCA  England
Prestwich Union Workhouse, Bongs Estate, Crumpsall Crumpsall  Manchester  GMCA  England
Prestwich Union Infirmary Crumpsall Crumpsall  Manchester  GMCA  England
City Police and Sessions Courts Minshull Street, Manchester Central  Manchester  GMCA  England
Gladstone Hall, Woolton Wood, Liverpool Woolton  Liverpool  Merseyside  England
The Liverpool Convalescent Institution, Woolton, near Liverpool Woolton  Liverpool  Merseyside  England
62 Tenament Dwellings Greengate Salford Greengate  Salford  GMCA  England
Nicholls Hospital Hyde Road Ardwick Ardwick  Manchester  GMCA  England
The Towers Didsbury Didsbury  Manchester  GMCA  England
Royal Albert Edward Infirmary Wigan   Wigan  GMCA  England
Wigan Royal Infirmary: Extension   Wigan  GMCA  England
Reiss Shipping Warehouse, Quay Street, Manchester Central  Manchester  GMCA  England
Female Lunatic Ward. Workhouse, Withington Withington  Manchester  GMCA  England
Brookfield Unitarian Chapel, Gorton Gorton  Manchester  GMCA  England
Peacock Mausoleum, Brookfield Unitarian Church Gorton  Manchester  GMCA  England
Unitarian Chapel. Monton Green, Monton, Eccles Monton  Eccles  GMCA  England
Monton Memorial Schools, Monton, Monton, Eccles  Salford  GMCA  England
Unitarian Chapel, Dunham Road, Altrincham   Altrincham  GMCA  England
Unitarian Free Church, Cross Lane, Windsor, Pendleton, Salford Windsor  Salford  GMCA  England
Buxton Unitarian Chapel Hartington Road Buxton   Buxton  Derbyshire  England
Flowery Field Unitarian Church, Hyde Flowery Field  Hyde  GMCA  England
"Sutton Oaks," Sutton near Macclesfield Sutton  Macclesfield  Cheshire  England
Broomfield Hall Sunningdale   Sunningdale  Berkshire  England
Ayres End House Weathampsted near St Albans Weathampsted  St Albans  Hertfordshire  England
Swinton Vicarage   Swinton  GMCA  England
Lodge Harebarrow   Over Alderley  Cheshire  England
Church of St Wilfrid Standish: Tower and spire Standish  Wigan  GMCA  England
Church of St John the Baptist Godley Hyde: Tower Godley  Hyde  GMCA  England
Offices, Cross Street, Manchester Central  Manchester  GMCA  England
Manchester Assize Courts (Architectural Competition) Strangeways  Manchester  GMCA  England
Kendal Railway Station   Kendal  Cumbria  England


Name Designation Formed Dissolved Location
Worthington and Elgood Architectural practice 1880 1893 Manchester
Worthington Thomas and Son Architectural practice 1893 1919 Manchester