Leonard Cecil Howitt

City architect
Place of Birth
Islington London

  • Birth date            1896. Islington London
  • Baptism               27 December 1896 at Holy Trinity Islington
  • Married                Patricia. Children Jean, Elizabeth and William
  • Death date          20 May 1964.
  • Cremation           Manchester Crematorium 25 May 1964

Leonard Cecil Howitt was born in Islington in 1896, the only child of William Howitt, type founder, and his wife Ada and was baptised at Holy Trinity, Islington on 27 December 1896. William seemingly died about 1910, Ada and Leonard returning to Manchester to live with her mother and step-father in Old Trafford. Leonard  Howitt began his career in Manchester City Architect’s office shortly before the First World War and after war service he entered Liverpool University School of Architecture, where he obtained his degree in 1925.  Following graduation, he joined Herbert J Rowse, in Liverpool, rising to managing assistant and was a member of the team responsible for the design of the Mersey Tunnel. He remained with Rowse until 1934 when he took the appointment of chief architectural assistant to Lancelot H Keay, Liverpool Director of Housing. In 1937 he returned to Manchester as deputy city architect under G Noel Hill, but his career was again disrupted by service in the Army during the Second World War, where he rose to the rank of major. He returned to Manchester in 1945 as acting city architect.  In June 1946 he was appointed City Architect* and remained in this post until his retirement in 1961.

Among his best-known designs in the city are the reconstruction of the Free Trade Hall after bomb damage, the new Courts of Justice (1957-1962), the Terminal Buildings at Manchester Airport, Hollings College (1957-1960) and Heaton Park Pumping Station (1955). He was also responsible for the design of many schools, colleges and other corporation buildings. Leonard C Howitt became a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in March 1942.  He was vice-president from 1956-1958 and served on its council for twelve years; he was president of the Manchester Society of Architects, 1955-1957; president of the City and Borough Architects’ Society, 1948-1956; a member of the Architects’ Registration Council,1950-1952; and a member of the Building Research Board, 1951-1955. He also served on a number of other professional committees dealing with architects’ salaries and status and was Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Clerks of Works of Great Britain.. In recognition of his services to Manchester, the Regional College of Art awarded him an honorary DA (Manc) in 1959.  On his retirement from the corporation in 1961 he entered private practice in Manchester in partnership with Leonard J Tucker.

Leonard C Howitt died on at his home in Mowbray Avenue Brooklands Sale on 20 May 1964 aged 67. He was survived by his wife Patricia two daughters and a son. [DSA]

*Five applicants were short listed for the post of City Architect following the appointment of G Noel Hill as architect to the Lancashire County Council: J Blacketth, deputy borough architect, Newport (Mon) L C Howitt, acting city architect, Manchester; F A C Maunder, chief planning and reconstruction architect, Portsmouth; A Steele, senior architect, Southwark; T R Wood, regional architect to the Ministry of Heath, Leeds. The post carried a salary of £1,750 rising by annual increases of £125 to £2,000. [Manchester Guardian 20 June 1946 page 3]

1896        91 Liverpool Road Islington - baptismal record
1911        24 Carlton Street, Old Trafford (census)
1923        20 Maxwell Road, West Derby, Liverpool
1938-1964    “Scoveston” Mowbray Avenue Brooklands, Sale Cheshire (1938 telephone directory)

Reference    Manchester Guardian 22 May 1964 page 2 - deaths
Reference    Manchester Guardian 3 July 1964 page 16 - Legal Notices
Reference    Manchester Guardian 20 June 1946 page 3
Reference    Dictionary of Scottish Architects
Obituary      Manchester Guardian 22 May 1964 page 4 with photo