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George Truefitt FRIBA
14th Febuary 1824 – 16th August 1902

Obituary: The Observer, August 16th, 1902

Death of Mr. George Truefitt FRIBA [Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects]

Mr. George Truefitt passed away on Monday last at the Old House, after an illness of six months in his 79th year.

Up to the last ten years he practised as an architect in London, he was a pupil at the age of 15 of the elder Cottingham. He was articled for five years, and then had an appointment at once with the late Sancton Wood, and afterwards with Eginton of Worcester.

He then went with his friend, Calvert Vaux [also apprenticed to Lewis Nockalls Cottingham] on a walking tour through France and Germany, taking between 400 and 500 sketches.

On his return, although very young, he competed for the Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall, a most successful competition for him as his design brought one of his best friends and clients in Mr. (afterwards Sir) William Cunliffe-Brooks M.P. [Member of Parliament, here & here], for whom he worked till Sir William died.

Mr. Truefitt has erected buildings in 25 different counties. He has put up 16 churches and chapels, including: St. George's Tufnell Park; St. George's Worthing, St. John's Bromley, Kent; Davyhulme Church Cheshire; Blakemere, Herefordshire; etc.; and restored 10 churches.

He has erected 8 rectory houses; 7 schools, 13 banks in London, Manchester, Altringham, Blackburn, etc.; 7 large halls and church rooms; 170 houses and mansions, including a large house at Antibes, in the South of France, 20 various buildings; 44 cottages and lodges.

Amongst his works he has laid out large sums of money in the forest of Glen Tana, Aberdeenshire, for Sir William Brooks, in architectural buildings, and he has done extensive restorations and additions to Aboyne Castle (also in Aberdeenshire, the residence of the Marquis of Huntly).

He was architect to the Tufnell estate for over 25 years. Mr Truefitt has been a hard worker, he himself having made the whole of the designs, drawings, working drawings, specifications, and perspective, coloured or in pen and ink. Competitions have therefore been easy with his, as they never cost his anything but his own time, and he reckons that of all the work he has done, about threefourths of it has been the result of competition a good hint to young men.

Mr. Truefitt gave up gave up practice about 10 years ago, and has since been residing at his picturesque home at Worthing, filled with curiosities which he began to collect when he was first a pupil. His favourite amusement was sketching both in pen and ink and water colour, and this he continued to the very last.

In the twenty first century, many of GT's pen and ink sketches, water colours and "curiosities" are still with members of the family, all of the churches and many of the other buildings still stand. This collection of web pages is about George Truefitt.

Contributors to the text

"G" Bell-Syer, daughter of GT (1897 – 1984)
Ginette Leach, granddaughter of GT (1933 – )
Mark Leach, great grandson of GT (1956 – )
Sue Beedell, family friend & author (1921– 2003)

George Truefitt, The Family Man

After the death of his first wife on the 16th of September 1896, George Truefitt, aged 71, courted young Connie aged 26, and the couple were married exactly three months later on the 16th December 1896. The marriage caused consternation in GT's family, because the 3 children by his first wife where aged in their mid-forties! Tongues must must also have been wagging in the town of Worthing, where GT lived as a well respected man.

George Truefitt died in 1902 aged 79, and writing in 2005 there are now no personal memories of the man. However, his daughter, Gorgie (or as as always known, "G"), was five when he died. Speaking in her eighties, G had vivid recollections of the man:

She would describe his "intense eyes with large pupils", and the fact that he never needed to wear glasses for reading or drawing. She described a very short man, full of energy, who was known for hurrying along in built up shoes to give extra height.

GT was remembered as being "very Victorian, strict with is wife and servants", although he probably spoilt his wife personally and in private.

A story passed down from from mother to her daughter shown was that he was a man of very rigid principles. Although he was well to do, quite famous, and living in a beautiful home as a respected family; he refused to buy a carriage as he felt that he did not have the social position to justify one. In other words, a carriage would be pretentious, an attitude that irritated his young wife who would have liked some personal transport that they could easily have afforded.

The drawing and paintings reproduced in this web book were done throughout George Truefitt's life in Worthing, although most in possession of the family are dated after his retirement in 1892.

George Truefitt must have been a familiar figure around Worthing with his sketchbook, and later with his pretty young wife and small daughter.

Churches & Other Extant Buildings by George Truefitt (click to enlarge)

St. George's, Worthing


St. Mary's, Davyhulme, Manchester


St. John's, Bromley, see here.


St Mary's, Partington

European Walking Tour

The churches below are not by Truefitt, but drawings made on his tour of Europe with Calvert Vaux in about 1850(?). Notice, that the first church has a small bell tower to one side. This is a design motif used by Truefitt on all his churches.

Lombard Terrace

This building is in the middle of Manchester's business district, and was probably a built as a bank. It is now a solicitors office, Cobbetts.


The Sussex Coast (click to enlarge)



By Train to Worthing


Chanctonbury Ring


The Fig Garden in Tarring


Seaside Worthing


The Town of Worthing


Moving a Windmill


The Old House, Heene





Shelsley Lodge




Artist: George Truefitt
Title: A collection of china
Medium Pencil and Watercolor w/bodycolor
Size 25.5 x 30.5 in. / 64.8 x 77.5 cm.
Misc. Signed
Sale Of Christie's South Kensington: Thursday, June 5, 2003
[Lot 893] Link

© Mark R. Leach 2005-2009