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Godwins's funerary monument, Brompton Cemetery, London
George Godwin FRS (1813 – 27 January 1888) was an influential architect, journalist, and editor of The Builder magazine. The son of George Godwin, he trained at his father's architectural practice in Kensingtonmarker where he set up a practice with his brother Henry Godwin (1831–1917).

Encouraged by his friend the antiquary John Britton, he pursued an interest in architectural history and wrote several volumes on the Churches of London (1838), masons' marks and gothic style. He was also interested in new materials and wrote on the use of concrete (1836). He soon joined the Institute of British Architects, the Society of Antiquaries, and became a Fellow of the Royal Society.

The Builder

The Builder was first published in 1842 by Joseph Hansom, inventor of the Hansom cab, as a weekly magazine. In 1844 Godwin became its third editor and immediately expanded its scope and coverage beyond new works and architectural issues to include history, archaeology, arts, sanitation and social issues. It described itself as 'An illustrated weekly magazine for the architect, engineer, constructor, sanitary reformer, and art lover'.

This broadened its appeal beyond the construction trade, and he took a campaigning stance to improve the circumstances of the working classes. Godwin wrote on slums and republished edited collections of his articles as reforming books. In addition to self-improvement, he promoted the use of public baths, wash-houses, charitable housing trusts, and pavilion-styled hospitals.

He edited the journal until 1883. The magazine was renamed Building in 1966 and is still in existence.

Other works

Godwin funerary monument, Brompton Cemetery, London
Throughout his editorship, he worked in the family architectural practice. Works included churches, housing and public buildings: St Mary Redcliffemarker, Bristolmarker, St Mary's, Waremarker, Redcliffe Square, Kensington, and St Luke, Kensington. He was largely responsible for the design of the construction of large areas of South Kensingtonmarker and Earls Courtmarker including no less than five public houses including the Finborough Arms, now the Finborough Theatremarker.

Godwin was retained as district surveyor for south Islingtonmarker between 1853 and 1874.

In 1884, he reported into the Royal Commission that was producing recommendations for improving working class housing.

He also wrote plays and co-founded the Art Union of London.

Godwin died on 27 January 1888 at Kensingtonmarker and was buried in Brompton Cemeterymarker. His memorial is Grade II listed, containing a portrait medallion, and being topped by the mourning figures of Faith and Charity.


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