Thomas George Harris - 1873-1957

Craftsman in Glass

Battle of Britain Memorial window in Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey website

One of Harpenden’s best known craftsmen, whose work can be seen in the principal cathedrals of Britain, died on Tuesday at the age of 84. He was Mr Thomas George Harris of 2 Grove Avenue, a founder and active member up to his death of the local stained glass firm of Hawes and Harris.

A Northampton man by birth, George Harris came to St Albans as a boy and later worked there for the stained glass firm of H J Salisbury [at 50 Alma Road, elder brother of Frank O Salisbury]. He came to work as a cutter and glazier for the old Harpenden Building Company and, about 32 years ago, founded his firm with the late Mr Cecil Hawes [who was choirmaster at Batford Methodist Church in the 1930s, ed].

Hawes and Harris have been responsible for the construction and erection of innumerable stained glass windows in Churches up and down the land and even overseas. In the latter connection they were responsible before the war for the erection of a huge window in Medak Cathedral, India.

Westminster Abbey

Among the best-known examples of the work on which Mr Harris was engaged are the Battle of Britain memorial window in Westminster Abbey, the Nurses’ memorial also in the Abbey, and windows in many cathedrals, including Ely, Exeter, Chichester and St Albans.

Locally, they have provided the Dr Leslie Burgin Memorial window in Harpenden Methodist Church, windows at the National Children’s Home Chapel and have worked in the Parish Church.

The late Mr Harris was working until shortly before his death and just completed a small window for Philbeach Gardens, Kensington.

He was a quiet and much respected man and is survived by his three sons and two daughters. Mr D G Harris is carrying on the business.

Ed. note: We have not found any photos of Thomas George Harris: maybe there is one in some family archive?

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