AN EXHIBITION has opened at Oswestry Town Museum to honour the architect and former mayor Thomas Penson.

Penson, who was mayor of Oswestry in 1840-41, was one of the leading architects working along the Welsh border in the 19th century, with a base in Willow Street, where he designed Holy Trinity Church, the National School and both the Cross and Powis Markets.

The exhibition at the museum, which is based in the Guildhall, covers his works, including bridges he designed as a surveyor in Montgomeryshire and Denbighshire that are still in use today.

A spokesman said: "He designed notable churches at Newtown, Welshpool, Gwersyllt and Llanymynech and some fine country houses as well as markets, workhouses and prisons.

"He also remodelled Montgomery’s Town Hall.

"The exhibition was created by volunteers at Llanfyllin Workhouse in partnership with the museum with the help of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

"It includes many photographs and drawings of Penson’s buildings and shows how he was among the first Victorian architects to make use of ornament in terracotta, which he obtained from another pioneer John Howells of Trefonen.

"There’s a large-scale map to pinpoint his surviving works.

"The displays are accompanied by a newly launched website,, which offers many more images of Penson’s buildings and an account of his remarkable life."

Councillor Mark Jones admitted he was delighted to open the exhibition into the life of his predecessor.

He said: "This is a fascinating display, and I hope many people from Oswestry and beyond will come to see it."

Historian Frances Ward, one of the organisers, also appealed for any potential portraits or photograph of Penson or his two sons, who followed him into architecture as there were currently none.

The display will remain on view for several months during museum opening hours of Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 10am-3pm, and it will then go on tour along the border.