Spranger was born in 1848 and moved to Southampton in the 1880s, living first at Windsor House, Cumberland Place and later, after he had inherited his father-in-law’s estate, at Springhill Court in Hill Lane, which he rebuilt and enlarged. His work was in the field of education, but he is best remembered in Southampton for restoring Tudor House in St Michael’s Square. He acquired the much-dilapidated building in 1886 along with the adjoining Norman House. At that time the premises were leased to a number of businesses, including Pope’s dyers and George Cawte’s bookbindery (image 2), while the Norman House was being used as a coal store by Beavis’s coal merchants.

Spranger began restoration work on the Norman House almost immediately but he had to wait for business leases to expire before he could start work on Tudor House itself. The extensive and meticulous restoration work took nearly five years between 1898 and 1902. The outer stucco was removed to reveal the timber and brick building that is so familiar to us today. In 1911 he transferred the building to the ownership of the corporation for use as a museum. He died in 1917 and was buried at the Old Cemetery in Hill Lane.

1. William Francis Gummer Spranger

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Portrait by an unknown artist, 1915

2. Tudor House Before Restoration.

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A photograph from c.1890, before restoration work.

See also

Further reading:

The Saving of Tudor House, by A. G. K. Leonard. (HS/k)
Familiar and Forgotten, by Southampton Art Gallery. (HS/t)


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