Thomas Prosser (architect)

Last updated
Thomas Prosser
Bornc. 1817
Died2 March 1888
Hardwicke Place, Gateshead
Parent(s)Thomas Prosser (Father)
PracticeNorth East Railway Company
BuildingsYork Railway Station
ProjectsNewcastle Central Station

Thomas Prosser (c. 1817–1888) was the company architect of the North Eastern Railway Company, the first to hold the position. [1]

North Eastern Railway (United Kingdom) British railway company, active 1854–1922

The North Eastern Railway (NER) was an English railway company. It was incorporated in 1854 by the combination of several existing railway companies. Later, it was amalgamated with other railways to form the London and North Eastern Railway at the Grouping in 1923. Its main line survives to the present day as part of the East Coast Main Line between London and Edinburgh.


Early life

Thomas Prosser spent his early years at Wynyard Park. It was here that his father, also Thomas, had been commissioned as architect in the rebuilding of Wynyard Park. [1]

Wynyard Park, County Durham

Wynyard Park, sometimes known as Wynyard Hall is a large English country house in County Durham. The house used to be the family seat of the Vane-Tempest-Stewarts, Marquesses of Londonderry, an Anglo-Irish aristocratic dynasty, but it was sold in the 1980s.


Prosser began his training in the office of architect Ignatius Bonomi (1787-1870) in Durham. It was Bonomi who was one of the designers of the Skerne Railway Bridge for the Stockton and Darlington Railway. The bridge is one of the oldest railway bridges in the world and the oldest still in use. [2]

Ignatius Bonomi (1787–1870) was an English architect and surveyor, with Italian origins by his father, strongly associated with Durham in north-east England.

Durham, England City in England

Durham is a historic city and the county town of County Durham in North East England. The city lies on the River Wear, to the west of Sunderland, south of Newcastle upon Tyne and to the north of Darlington. Founded over the final resting place of St Cuthbert, its Norman cathedral became a centre of pilgrimage in medieval England. The cathedral and adjacent 11th-century castle were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. The castle has been the home of Durham University since 1832. HM Prison Durham is also located close to the city centre. City of Durham is the name of the civil parish.

Stockton and Darlington Railway

The Stockton and Darlington Railway (S&DR) was a railway company that operated in north-east England from 1825 to 1863. The world's first public railway to use steam locomotives, its first line connected collieries near Shildon with Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington, and was officially opened on 27 September 1825. The movement of coal to ships rapidly became a lucrative business, and the line was soon extended to a new port and town at Middlesbrough. While coal waggons were hauled by steam locomotives from the start, passengers were carried in coaches drawn by horses until carriages hauled by steam locomotives were introduced in 1833.

The portico of Newcastle Central Station Newcastle Central station (6419229235).jpg
The portico of Newcastle Central Station

Prosser then went to Newcastle-upon-Tyne to work at the firm of John Dobson at the Newcastle Central Station project. It was Prosser who did some of the preparatory architectural drawings before going on to become the clerk of works. It was Prosser who drew up the plans for the station portico as a revision to the original design. [3]

Newcastle upon Tyne City and metropolitan borough in England

Newcastle upon Tyne, commonly known as Newcastle, is a city in Tyne and Wear, North East England, 103 miles (166 km) south of Edinburgh and 277 miles (446 km) north of London on the northern bank of the River Tyne, 8.5 mi (13.7 km) from the North Sea. Newcastle is the most populous city in the North East, and forms the core of the Tyneside conurbation, the eighth most populous urban area in the United Kingdom. Newcastle is a member of the UK Core Cities Group and is a member of the Eurocities network of European cities.

John Dobson was a 19th-century English architect in the neoclassical tradition. He became the most noted architect in the North of England. Churches and houses by him dot the North East - Nunnykirk Hall, Meldon Park, Mitford Hall, Lilburn Tower, St John the Baptist Church in Otterburn, Northumberland, and Beaufront Castle among them. During his career he designed more than 50 churches and 100 private houses. However, he is best known for designing Newcastle railway station and for his work with Richard Grainger developing the centre of Newcastle in a neoclassical style.

Newcastle railway station mainline railway station in Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Newcastle railway station is on the East Coast Main Line in the United Kingdom, serving the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear. It is 268.633 miles (432.323 km) down the line from London King's Cross and on the main line it is situated between Chester-le-Street to the south and Manors to the north. Its three-letter station code is NCL.

York Railway Station is another of Prosser's major works, with the train-shed regarded as ‘one of the great cathedrals of the Railway Age’. [4] Prosser worked on the station in partnership with engineer Thomas Elliot Harrison. [5]

York railway station main-line railway station serving the city of York in North Yorkshire, England

York railway station is on the East Coast Main Line in the United Kingdom, serving the city of York, North Yorkshire. It is 188 miles 40 chains (303.4 km) north of London King's Cross and on the main line it is situated between Doncaster to the south and Thirsk to the north. As of June 2018 the station is operated by London North Eastern Railway.

Thomas Elliot Harrison British civil engineer

Thomas Elliot Harrison (1808–1888) was a British engineer. Born in London, he was raised in the north east of England where his father was a promoter of early railway companies; after an apprenticeship under William Chapman; he gained engineering experience on the lines his father had helped establish, as well as in working in association with George Stephenson and Robert Stephenson during his early career.

A plaque commemorating the restoration work at York Railway Station in 2004. It notes the work of Thomas Prosser and Thomas Elliott Harrison as architects. York Railway Station Restoration Work Plaque.jpg
A plaque commemorating the restoration work at York Railway Station in 2004. It notes the work of Thomas Prosser and Thomas Elliott Harrison as architects.
The Grade II listed signal box at Shildon, believe to have been designed by Thomas Prosser. Shildon Signal Box.jpg
The Grade II listed signal box at Shildon, believe to have been designed by Thomas Prosser.

Suffering with ill heath Prosser retired in May 1874. [1]

"I ought perhaps to have taken this step sooner but I have hoped from day to day to recover so as to perform satisfactorily the duties to which I am so much attached."

Thomas Prosser – Letter of Resignation [1]

In recognition of his service the railway company granted Prosser a £300 a year allowance. These payments ran until June 1884 when they were transferred to his brother Robert, whom he was living with after his condition worsened. [1]

Thomas Prosser died at his brothers home at Hardwicke Place, Gateshead on March 2, 1888. He never married. [1] [6]

Other notable works

This is particularly interesting as part of the history of immigration to the United States of America. The Hull facility was for the exclusive use by immigrants heading to America from north west Europe. They would sail to Hull and from there by train to Liverpool where they would sail for America. For reasons of health amongst others immigrants were kept separate from other travellers. The station had waiting facilities where immigrants could meet their ticket agents, wash and use the toilet as well as take shelter from the weather. It is estimated that 2.2. million people (mainly from Scandinavia and the Baltic) passed through here between 1836 and 1914. [9]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Thomas Prosser". Railway Architecture of North East England. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  2. Historic England. "Skerne Railway Bridge, 320m south east of Darlington Railway Museum (1002331)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  3. "Newcastle Central Station in anniversary spotlight with new exhibition and book". Chronicle Live. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  4. "Fabulous food, drink and stuff to do near York Station". Virgin Trains East Coast. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  5. "York Railway Station, Thomas Prosser, and Thomas Elliot Harrison blue plaque in York". Blue Plaque Places. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  6. "obituary for Thomas Prosser, architect, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, d. 1888". The Building News. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  7. Historic England. "Former Sculcoates Goods Station (1219995)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  8. Historic England. "North York Moors Railway Goathland Station (1295785)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  9. 1 2 Historic England. "Former Immigrant Station and Railway Platform (1207714)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  10. Historic England. "Hexham Railway Station (1370815)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  11. Historic England. "Royal York Hotel and Area Railings Attached at Side and Rear (1256559)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  12. Historic England. "Royal Station Hotel (1104900)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 31 January 2018.