Francis Thompson (architect)

Francis Thompson (Architect)

Francis Thompson (architect)

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Francis Thompson (1808-1895) was an architect particularly well known for his railway work.

He was born in 1808 in Woodbridge in Suffolk, England, to a family of builders. He married Anna Maria Watson in 1830 at Woodbridge church and emigrated to Montreal in British North America (now Canada). Their son Francis Jacob was born in 1831. Anna died the following year during the cholera epidemic which claimed 4000 lives in Montreal.

Having an interest in and understanding of architecture gained from his relatives Thompson designed houses, commercial buildings, court facilities and a church. With John Wells he designed St Ann's market hall, which later became the Canadian parliament house.

After the death of his wife, and because of the increasing political unrest between the French and the increasing number of British settlers, he returned to England in 1837.

Railway mania

The first "railway mania" was in full swing and, although at first sight young and inexperienced, Robert Stephenson appointed him to be the architect for the North Midland Railway then under construction.

He designed many publicly acclaimed buildings, major and minor railway stations, and warehouses. One of the most representative of his surviving work is the Midland Hotel in Derby.

This was part of a complete railway complex, the world's first, comprising one of the most magnificent station buildings of the time, attached to which was a large three-bay glazed train-shed, togetherwith ...
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