John Bowden

Architect and surveyor
Place of Birth
  • Birth date            8 May 1841 at Bothal, Northumberland
  • Christening          1 August 1841 at Bothal, Northumberland. (christened John Thomas)
  • Marriage (1)         28 August 1866 to Sophia White, daughter of Thomas White at Morpeth
  • Mariage (2)          13 April 1901 to Fanny Louisa Dixon, daughter of Dudley Hart at All Saints Church, Stretford
  • Death date          16 November 1905 at Moorfield, Glossop in his 65th year.
  • Burial                  20 November 1905 at Stretford Cemetery

John Bowden was born at Bothal, Northumberland, on 8 May 1841, the son of Thomas Bowdon, joiner and millwright, and his wife Dorothy*. He was christened John Thomas Bowden but his second name was dropped thereafter. He was originally trained as a joiner but he moved to Preston in 1863 as assistant surveyor to the Corporation of Preston, a position he held for four years. In 1868 he obtained an appointment as District Surveyor to the Salford Corporation. His connection with the latter body lasted until 1872, during which time he was engaged in the design and execution of extensive sewerage and other works, including the main intercepting sewer of the borough to Mode Wheel. In 1872 he was appointed Surveyor of the De Trafford Estates near Manchester and in Cheshire, a position which he held for a period of 31 years. During this period, he also engaged in private practice as an architect, surveyor and valuer in Manchester, and carried out several important, drainage schemes in the neighbourhood. He was an associate member of the Institute of Civil Engineers and Fellow of the Surveyors’ Institute. John Bowden took a leading role in the inception and successful carrying out of the Royal Jubilee Exhibition at Old Trafford in 1887 where his qualifications as both an engineer and architect were found of special value. He was a member of the Executive Committee, and of the Council of Guarantors, and chairman of the Works Committee, which had allotted to it the duty of laying out the site, discussing and setting the plans and designs, letting the contracts and superintending the construction of the buildings. On the occasion of the opening of the Exhibition John Bowden was among those presented to Edward VII who, as Prince of Wales, performed the opening ceremony.

On 28 August 1866 John Bowden married, Sophia, youngest daughter of Thomas White Esq, architect and borough surveyor of Morpeth at Morpeth Parish Church.  The union produced three sons and three daughters. His second son Ernest Newton Bowden, joined his father and continued the practice under the style John Bowden and Company after his father’s death. Sophia died on 23 August 1896 and was buried at Stretford Cemetery. On 13 April 1901 John Bowden re- married his second wife being Fanny Louisa Hart, the widowed daughter of Dudley Hart, Rector of All Saints Church Stretford. Less than six months later his daughter Kate Evelyn Bowden married Charles Dudley Hart, the son of Dudley Hart. As a result, John Bowden was both father-in-law and brother-in-law of Charles Dudley Hart.

For many years he took a deep interest in Henshaw’s Blind Asylum, and the Royal Schools for the Deaf and Dumb where he was an active member of its Committee of Management. He was a prominent member of the Manchester Botanical Society and in politics was a Conservative.

John Bowden, died at Moorside, Glossop, whence he had removed upon his retirement, on Thursday 16 November 1905 and was interned in Stretford Cemetery.

*John Bowden’s parents were commemorated in one of the three lights of stained glass in the great east window of St. Andrew's Church, Bothal. It contains a full- length figure of St Paul, and underneath is the inscription: "To the glory of God and in memory Thomas Bowden, died 1869 aged 61; Dorothy Bowden, died 1894, aged 85."

1876-1905    John Bowden, architect surveyor and valuer. 14, Ridgefield, Manchester

1874-1876    2 Longford Place Chester Road, Stretford
1881            Wansbeck House, Edge Lane, Stretford, (Census)
1901            Wansbeck House, Edge Lane, Stretford, (Marriage record)
1906            Moorfield, Glossop

Obituary       Institution of Civil Engineers: 1906
Obituary       Manchester City News 25 November 1905 Page 6 (Personal)
Obituary       Manchester Guardian 21 November 1905 page 8
Obituary       Transactions of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors 1906, page 560-561
Obituary       Builder v89, 25 November 1905 page 566]
Obituary       Morpeth Herald and Reporter. 2 December 1905 page 7
Reference     Pike
Reference     Manchester Courier 31 August 1866 page 4 - marriage