George E. Turner

George E. Turner was the Edmonton Public School’s Building Commissioner during the population boom before the First World War.

The 1913 publication Men and Makers of Edmonton informs us that George E. Turner was born in Manchester, England, educated in Harrogate, Yorkshire, and arrived in Edmonton in 1908. There is not much more that we know about this man except that he started his own private architectural practice when he came here, and within a short time was hired by the Edmonton Public School Board as their Building Commissioner. He worked for the school board for five of its busiest years. When Turner started in 1910, Edmonton Public had eleven schools, half of these were only one- or two-room buildings. When he left sometime in 1914 there were thirty-four schools in the city, with seven new schools of ten or more rooms. The demographics are telling, with many, many more students in the youngest grades; there were seventy-six students in grade 12 in 1914, but 2,992 in grade 1, out of a total student population of 9,954. Some schools were added to Edmonton Public’s jurisdiction when Strathcona and Edmonton amalgamated in 1912. The largest of these additions, however, were beautiful Collegiate Gothic structures that Turner designed with the lasting value that we see today. These are steel and concrete structures, clad with red brick and Bedford stone, with crenellated parapets, battlements, with central or corner towers, oriel windows, ornamental finials, Tudor arches over the windows and doors, and buttressed entrance porches. There were carefully planned with fireproof staircases and landings, separate playrooms in the basement for boys and girls, with most classrooms able to handle classes of forty-five to fifty students. Each school had a library, assembly hall, and cloakrooms in each classroom separated by double entry swing doors. H. Allen Gray and Westmount were the largest schools in the city when they were constructed in 1913. Turner’s role was taken over in 1915 by an Edmonton Public School Board draughtsman named Robert Mitchell.

Details

Full Name

George E. Turner

Character Defining Elements

Arch, Brick cladding, Brick structure, Carving, Concrete Structure, Coping, Corbelling, Crenellated parapet, Date stone, Dripstone, Flag pole, Flat roof, Gabled parapet, Intersecting gable roof, Irregular footprint, Mullion, Oriel Window, Pediment, Pilaster, Portico, Poured concrete structure, Pyramidal roof, Quoins, Smooth stone, Steel Structure, Stepped parapet, Stone cladding, Tower, Two storeys

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