Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John Harry Grainger

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John Harry Grainger (1854-1917) was an English-born architect and civil engineer who emigrated to Australia in 1877, and the father of musician Percy Grainger. He designed 14 bridges, including the Princes Bridge in Melbourne.

1854 November 30th. Born at 1 New Street, Westminster, the son of John Grainger, a master tailor, and his wife Mary Ann Parsons.

He grew up in Durham.

Started his engineering training when he was fifteen, in the office of William E. Wilson MICE of Dean’s Yard, Westminster. Wilson was a well-connected consultant to contractors for railway and other big projects. He also studied architecture under I. J. Eden & W. K. Green of Westminster.

In the mid-1870s, while still in Wilson’s employ, Grainger travelled throughout Europe, visiting Spain, Italy and France.

1877 He travelled to Australia and a position in the office of H. C. Mais, Engineer-in-Chief of the South Australian Public Works Department. He resigned in July 1878 after he had won a design competition for the Albert Bridge, Adelaide

After winning two major bridge design competitions for Melbourne and Sale in 1879, he visited Victoria for the first time in February 1880 to inspect the site for the Sale Swing Bridge. In October 1880 he married Rose Annie Aldridge, daughter of an Adelaide hotel-keeper.

In 1882, the couple moved to Victoria and settled in the Melbourne suburb of North Brighton, where their only son, christened George Percy Grainger, was born on 8 July 1882

1881-85 In partnership with an old friend, Charles D'Ebro, with whom he had sailed from England and with whom he had also worked in the South Australian Public Works Department. They designed many notable buildings together, for cities all over Australia, including the Fremantle Town Hall.

1917 April 15th. Died.

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