Garth England: Murdered with straight lines

Author Edited by Jes Fernie and Theresa Bergne, with a text by Jes Fernie

Date 01.04.2016

Publisher Redcliffe Press for Bristol City Council

ISBN ISBN 978-1-908326-94-2

Shop Contact Redcliffe Press 01179 737 207 /


Garth England was born in Bristol General Hospital in 1935, four years before World War II broke out. His mother named him after a blind pianist in a romantic novel by Florence Barclay, a blockbuster in its day. Garth spent almost all of his seventy-nine years living in neighbourhoods in south Bristol: Knowle West, Hengrove, Totterdown and Bedminster. The jobs he held throughout his life – paperboy, telegram boy, milkman and railway man – meant that he had a deep understanding of the rhythm, architecture and people of this part of the city.


This book is made up of exquisitely detailed drawings by England of different stages of his life. Together they tell the poignant story of a childhood lived through a world war and its aftermath; the development of Britain’s Welfare State and social housing provision; vernacular architecture, indoor toilets and fitted kitchens. The drawings were discovered by Jo Plimmer, engagement curator of Future Perfect, when she visited Hengrove Lodge as part of the public engagement programme. Garth died in 2014 but was aware of the plans to publish his drawings. The title of the book is a reference to the response that his teachers had to his drawings. Murdered with straight lines was published as part of the Future Perfect public art programme. It is co-edited by Future Perfect curators Jes Fernie and Theresa Bergne. The book is designed by Polimekanos and funded by the Hengrove Arts Fund and the Hengrove Neighbourhood Partnership.