Charles Henry Heathcote
Charles Henry Heathcote was one of Manchester's most successful and prolific architects of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. His practice was almost exclusively industrial and commercial although he also designed a few private houses. Heathcote was working at a time when the commercial and financial core of Manchester was being systematically redeveloped and many of his buildings remain in the banking and commercial areas of the city. The Gothic Revival had produced work that of its kind no other country could equal. However, both architects and the public had tired of this and sought a new style, the neo-Classical architecture of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. Unlike their European counterparts with institutions like the French Beaux Arts, British architects had no collective knowledge of the new style coming into fashion and were apt to create their own rules. "Violent projections and recessions of surfaces" were introduced to achieve a rich three‑dimensional effect. The Baroque revival was led by architects such as Ashton Webb and Beresford Pite but Heathcote showed that he too was at the forefront of commercial design.
Heathcote was originally articled to the eminent church architect, Charles F. Hansom of Clifton and was awarded the Medal of Merit by the Royal Institute in 1868. To gain further experience, he then spent a year working for Lockwood & Mawson. Heathcote began his own practice in Manchester in 1872, the same year he was elected an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He was elected Fellow of the RIBA in 1884.
In 1879, the practice was in the name of Smith and Heathcote at 88, Mosley Street. For a time he was in partnership with Rawle (presumably his brother-in-law William Henry Rawle) but Rawle appears to have retired from the partnership in the late 1880s and died in 1904. By 1900, Charles Heathcote was in partnership with two of his sons, Charles Harold Heathcote (1876 - ) and Ernest Grigg Heathcote (1877-1947). Edgar Horace Heathcote (1882-1929) appears to have joined the partnership about 1919. Ernest Grigg Heathcote and Edgar Horace Heathcote, both trained as engineers at the Cambridge School. Heathcote had his offices at 6, Princess Street
With the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal, Charles Heathcote & Sons gained several lucrative commissions for industrial projects from companies seeking to establish themselves around the new docks or on the industrial estates being developed in Trafford Park. These included British subsidiaries of American companies such as Westinghouse and the Ford Motor Company. The Manchester Guardian estimated that Heathcote & Sons had been responsible for more than half the factories in Trafford Park.
During the First World War, Charles Heathcote was appointed by the Ministry of Munitions to build a number of large warehouses throughout South Lancashire for the storage of war materials and foodstuffs. In 1928 Heathcote returned from semi-retirement to supervise the construction of a new plant for the Ford Motor Company at Dagenham.
Heathcote was finally to retire in 1932 and died after a short illness at his home, The Gateway, Branksome Park, Bournemouth in 1938. He was a Liveryman of the Glaziers Company and Freeman of the City of London.
Buildings and Designs
|Heathcote and Rawle||Architectural practice||1888||1892||Manchester|
|Heathcote C and Sons||Architectural practice||1903||1931||Manchester|
|Lockwood Smith and Heathcote||Architectural practice||1878||1879||Manchester|
|Smith and Heathcote||Architectural practice||1875||1880||Manchester|