Godwin, George

BORN 28 Jan 1813, London: Brompton - DIED 27 Jan 1888, London: Kensington
GRAVE LOCATION London: Brompton Cemetery, Old Brompton Road, West Brompton (4E)

George Godwin (the Younger) studied architecture under his father, the local architect George Godwin (the Elder). When he was twenty he won a prize for an essay on concrete. In 1844 he became the editor of The Builder and he held this position until his death. He was an expert on gothic architecture. One of the medieval buildings he restored to former glory was St Mary Redcliffe Church in Bristol.

Apart from a book called "The Churches of London" he wrote two books on the bad sanitary conditions of the poor and he was a firm believer in universal access to the fine arts. He believed that it would lead to economic, social and moral benefits if the lower classes were exposed to art.

Godwin himself had a very unusual hobby: he collected chairs that had een used by famous people. It was claimed that he had chairs that Anne Boleyn, Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh, Alexander Pope, Napoleon and Thackeray had sat in. After his death in 1888 his art collection was sold at Christie's, London.

Written works: "London Shadows" (1854); "Another Blow for Life" (1864).


The grave of George Godwin at Brompton Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (27 May 2004)


• Culbertson, Judi & Tom Randall, Permanent Londoners, Robson Books, London, 1991

Godwin, William

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 20 May 2023