Thomas Ellis Owen
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Thomas Ellis Owen (1805 – 1862) was an English architect and developer responsible for many of the buildings that still exist in Southsea and Gosport. He designed many churches in Hampshire and some of his work that still stands today can be found in Shropshire, Dorset and Pembrokeshire.
Owen was born in Middlesex, the son of Jacob Owen, who worked for the Royal Engineers Ordnance Department in Portsmouth. He trained as an architect and, although his architecture was probably influenced by John Nash (architect) Owen had a lighter touch that belonged more to his Georgian routes than the Victorian times he mainly practised in.
Owen was instrumental in shaping the development of Southsea during the middle part of the 19th century, developing it from poorly drained farmland into a garden suburb. He designed and built 106 villas and 54 terrace houses in Southsea, including Queens Terrace, Portland Terrace, and Eastern Parade. In addition, he designed a range of commercial, religious, and civic buildings, including St Jude's Church in central Southsea.
In addition to his work as an architect and developer, Owen was a prominent civic figure. He became Mayor of Portsmouth twice (in 1847 and 1862) and also served as a magistrate. A fuller account of his life can be found in Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, 'Father of Southsea'
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