Franklins - from Hempton to Hobart

 Rob Forsyth

The successful joiner's and builder's business of Robert Franklin (d. 1864) in Chapel Square was turned by his sons H.R. and W. Franklin into a firm with an international reputation for high-quality restoration work on church and college buildings in London, Salisbury, Oxford and elsewhere. Abroad, their contracts included the pulpit and chancel screen of Hobart Cathedral, Tasmania, Australia, where they are still to be seen. Henry Robert Franklin lived at Castle House[2] and William at The Blocks (now Featherton House)[6].

At their height the Franklin workshops employed as many as 200 skilled masons and woodcarvers. The firm closed in 1917. The site is now used by Johnson & Co., builders' merchants.

 

Franklin chancel screen built for Hobart Cathedral, Tasmania

 

 

 

The Franklin chancel screen built for Hobart Cathedral, Tasmania, 1916. Reproduced by kind permission of Oxfordshire Photographic Archive, Centre for Oxfordshire Studies, Central Library, Westgate, Oxford OX1 1DJ. Tel: 01865 815749, cos.occdl@dial.pipex.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Workforce

The workforce of H. R. and W. Franklin, joiners and builders, photographed in 1895.   Reproduced by kind permission of Oxfordshire Photographic Archive, Centre for Oxfordshire Studies, Central Library, Westgate, Oxford OX1 1DJ. Tel: 01865 815749, cos.occdl@dial.pipex.com.

The same photograph with some names attached can be seen in the Gallery

     

An exhibition

about this well known firm was held in Banbury Museum. The design and content of the exhibition was carried out by Sally Straddling of Oxfordshire County Council. Extracts from her exhibition notes and about the tools that Franklin workers used can be accessed and downloaded below. We are very grateful for her permission to publish them.

Exhibition notes (pdf)

Woodworking tools (pdf)