- Birth date 29 July 1829 at Lindley, near Huddersfield.
- Married (I) Emma Crosland (1833-1860) on 17 December 1851 at Lindley, Huddersfield.
- Married (II) Ellen (1833-1867)
- Married (III) Harriet Knowles (1859 -1894) on 10 April 1871 at St Cuthbert's Church Lytham.
- Death date 8.00am Tuesday 4 September 1883 at Uttoxeter
George Woodhouse was born at Lindley, near Huddersfield, his father being in the wool business, and when 15 years of age moved to Bolton. At that time it was his intention to follow the musical profession and he commenced by becoming the organist at the Bridge-street Wesleyan Chapel. Ultimately a change was decided upon and he commenced an architectural career. He was first articled to James Whittaker of Skipton Mill, Doffcocker, Bolton, then practising as an architect in Silverwell Yard Bolton. When James Whittaker joined Messrs Ormrod & Hardcastle as their private architect and engineer, Woodhouse transferred to his employer's brother John Williamson Whittaker, also an architect. Such was his ability that he was admitted to the partnership before the expiry of his articles. In 1852 he set up on his own account in Bolton, his first major commission being Heaton Grange, a house for John Knowles J.P.
George Woodhouse would later take Knowles' half-sister, Harriet, as his third wife, but as a result of his professional associations already established with Knowles, a number of other commissions followed. He was also a Methodist at a time when many of the mill-owning elite of Bolton were of similar persuasion. He was thus well placed to take advantage of the growing number of commissions for new mills in the Bolton area, especially when there appears to have been a strong inclination to employ local architects in such works in the cotton towns round Manchester. Woodhouse also retained strong links with his native village of Lindley and designed several chapels in the locality.
That he became one of the leading and most prolific architects in Lancashire appears from his obituary in the Bolton Chronicle. He he had possibly been connected with the building of more mills than any other person in Lancashire, and the list of chapels for which he was responsible totalled thirty, not only in Lancashire but in Yorkshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, and Warwickshire. He erected the first cotton mill to be built in the Midlands, at Nuneaton and produced plans and specifications for overseas countries, including Canada.
For a number of years George Woodhouse was in partnership with his former pupil, Edward Potts in Oldham. This partnership was dissolved in 1872 although Woodhouse was later to collaborate with Potts in the preparation of designs for the extension of Oldham Town Hall. This partnership between Woodhouse and Potts seems to have been restricted solely to the office at Clegg Street, Oldham, (generally understood to have functioned under the direction of Edward Potts), while George Woodhouse continued to practice on his own account in Bolton. This is evidenced by the advertisements placed in the Manchester Guardian for various Building Contracts. Only those advertisements issued from the Oldham office were issued under the name of Woodhouse and Potts; those from the Bolton office being under the sole name of George Woodhouse, architect. Edward Potts was later to adopt similar partnership arrangements with Hennings and with George Herbert Woodhouse.
During his professional career, Woodhouse also forged a number of brief associations on specific commissions, including those with the Bolton architect Leigh Hall on Bolton Workhouse and with William Hill on Bolton Town Hall. Hill obtained the commission for Bolton Town Hall as a result of a successful competition entry and is generally credited with sole responsibility for the design. According to the Illustrated London News of 14 June 1873 Woodhouse was the resident architect for the construction work with Ellis & Hincliffe acting as main contractors. The master key used in the opening of the Town Hall, now in Bolton Museum, also records both Hill and Woodhouse as the joint architects.
George Woodhouse died at 8 o’clock on the morning of Tuesday 4 September 1883 at his temporary residence near Uttoxeter, Staffordshire where he has, under the advice of his doctor, Dr Snape, been staying for some weeks. He was 56 years of age and left eight children.
If his obituary notices in the local press are accepted, it is doubtful whether a formal partnership agreement was ever formed between George Woodhouse and William Morley as some have claimed. According to these accounts, Morley was employed as a “locum” to take over the running of the practice in the weeks leading up to George Woodhouse’s death. It seems that the partnership was in fact formed between George Herbert Woodhouse and William Morley in 1884.
1850 Whittaker and Woodhouse 5 Wood Street Bolton
1853 George Woodhouse Silverwell Yard, Bradshawgate
1861 George Woodhouse St George’s Road, Little Bolton
1864 George Woodhouse St George’s Road, Little Bolton (Kelly Lancashire Trades Page 579)
1864 Woodhouse and Potts Clegg Street Oldham (Kelly Lancashire Trades Page 579)
1881 George Woodhouse St George’s Road, Little Bolton
1853 Bridgeman Street, Bolton
1883 Heath Bank, 219, Chorley New Road Bolton
1887 Mrs Harriet Woodhouse Heath Bank 219 Chorley New Road, Bolton (Bolton Directory)
1895 Mrs Woodhouse Heath Bank 219 Chorley New Road, Bolton (Bolton Directory)
The Bolton Evening News Vol XXXV No 5045. Tuesday 4 September 1883 Page 3 Column 5
Bolton Weekly Journal 8 Sept 1883 Page 3
Bolton Chronicle 8 September 1883
Illustrated London News 7 & 14 June 1873 (Bolton Town Hall Opening Ceremony)
Jones, Edgar Industrial Architecture in Britain 1750-1939 London 1985
Edward J Low. Architects of Huddersfield and District to 1860