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  • The architecture of Thomas Turnbull and Son

The architecture of Thomas Turnbull and Son

Date: Wednesday 8 June 2022, 5:30pm to 6:30pm
Cost: Free. A koha from non-members is appreciated. Booking is not required.
Contact details: ATLOutreach@dia.govt.nz
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Adrian Humphris, Wellington City Archivist, will talk about architects Thomas and William Turnbull, their company, and the many significant buildings they designed and built in Wellington from the 1890s to the 1940s.

Join us in person or online for this event.

Early Wellington architects Turnbull and Son

Thomas Turnbull and Son was a prominent and well-recognised Wellington architectural practice of the early 20th century. The firm, led by Thomas Turnbull and later his son William, had a prolific output and designed at least 120 buildings from the early 1890s until the 1940s.

In about 1915 the firm was commissioned to build a house and library for Alexander Turnbull (no relation) in Bowen Street, Wellington. The building was completed in 1916, and today is managed by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.

A lasting influence on local architecture

Wellington city archivist Adrian Humphris will talk about Thomas and William Turnbull — as well as Turnbull and Son the firm — their history, background and the significant buildings they designed and built.

While Thomas was one of the leading local architects of the Victorian era and is recognised as one of the architects to transform Wellington from a town of two-storey timber buildings to a fine Victorian city, William was also a talented architect who kept up to date with the changing architectural styles of the early 20th century.

Many New Zealand architects either articled or had their initial training experience at Turnbull and Son, for example, William Meek Page, Richard Atkinson Abbott and John Thomas Mair spent time working at the firm.

The Friends of the Turnbull Library

The Friends of the Turnbull Library, Ngā Hoa o te Whare Pukapuka Turnbull, offers a monthly programme of public talks that are free to all. The public programme highlights the work of researchers who draw on Turnbull material for their projects.

Friends of the Turnbull Library

Can’t make it in person?

Can't make it in person? This event will also be delivered using Zoom. You do not need to install the software in order to attend, you can opt to run zoom from your browser.

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About the speaker

Adrian Humphris is the Wellington City Archivist and the author of many books and articles on New Zealand architecture. These include Ring around the city: Wellington’s new suburbs 1900-1930 (2009) and Raupo to deco: Wellington styles and architects, 1840-1940 (2014), and most recently Architects at the apex: the top 50 in New Zealand, 1840-1940 (2020), all with architectural historian Geoff Mew.

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Black and white photo of a large, three-storey building on a wharf. The building has many arch windows and an ornate clock tower.
Photo 'Post & Telegraph Offices, Customhouse Quay, Wellington, designed by Thomas Turnbull, opened in 1884' by William Williams. Ref:1/2-140319-G. Alexander Turnbull Library.