Walter Aubrey Thomas (1859 – 1934)

Born in 1859, of Scottish ancestry, in Tranmere, Birkenhead, Married Maud Parris in 1886, they had 7 children. Died 1934 Moorside, Neston.

After apprenticeship/articled to Liverpool architect, with Francis Doyle. Doyle was architect of churches in Neston, (see Town Trail point 1 and 10), St Mary & St Helen’s, Parish Church 1874-5, tower rebuilt, and United Reformed/ Presbyterian Church 1884.

Thomas set up his own practice with an office in Dale Street, Liverpool c 1876 and specialized in designing commercial buildings eg banks, cinemas, in Liverpool, Wigan, Warrington, Widnes, Woolton…

Buildings in Liverpool included some famous landmarks- Lord Street Arcade, Lord Street 1901 State lnsurance Buildings, 14 Dale Street 1906 – WWII damaged Tower Buildings, Water Street and The Strand 1906 Royal Liver Building 1908-11, St George’s Dock of 1771, drained in 1899. Crane Building, Hanover Street, a 5 story building, selling musical instruments, Neptune Theatre (now Epstein Theatre)

Wirral homes include – Designed and built his own house in Parkgate, in 1904, named “Bleak House” after the novel by his favourite author, now named Brooke House, an “understated” Arts and Crafts style. Dunstan Wood, Burton Cheshire 1926 Elmhurst, Neston, extending and modifying a 1717 building

Having a large family, he had two Wirral homes, but moved before his death to a small bungalow in Neston

Aubrey Thomas also built a retreat in Wales c 1918 – Cartrefle fishing lodge, Pont y Gwyddelat, near Abergele, Snowdonia, 21 acres and a mile of trout fishing on the rivers Elwy and Aled. It had 4 bedrooms, bath and shower rooms, a kitchen/ diner and a rod room. Gardening was his passion

Aubrey Thomas avoided publicity and refused a knighthood.

Old Neston