Name

Richard Knill Freeman

Designation
architect
Born
1840
Place of Birth
Stepney London
Location
Bolton
Died
1905

Richard Knill Freeman was born in 1840 in Stepney. His father was a draper and his mother ran private schools. Little is known of his early life; from 1854 to 1860 he was articled to the architect George Rake of Portsea, and between 1861 and 1863 seems to have been working in both Portsmouth and Bolton. His obituary in the Building News states that "In the early sixties Mr Freeman gained some distinction as an architect at Derby, where for a time he had an office", (although as Building News gets his name wrong this may not be the most reliable information; also Derby is not mentioned in his RIBA nomination papers). He moved to Bolton in about 1865 living first in Manchester Road, then at Haulgh Hall. He eventually settled in about 1874 at 114 Radcliffe Road where he lived until his death in 1904.

His original office seems to have been Haulgh Hall, Bolton; he then moved to 17 Wood Street where he remained for the rest of his working life. In his capacity as Diocesan Surveyor of Ecclesiastical Dilapidations he also had an office at Diocesan Chambers, 51 South King Street, Manchester.

Born: 1840, Stepney, London
Married: Mary Jane Tilly, Tewkesbury, 1864
Died: June 1904, Bolton
Buried: St Stephen and all Martyrs, Bolton

He was associated with various other architects. His first partnership was with George Cunliffe of Bolton, as Cunliffe and Freeman, between 1865 and 1870/71. He was also involved with SD Robins (Freeman and Robins, 1888-1897) who did work in the Newcastle area, but it is probable that they just collaborated on competition entries or on projects in the North East. He was also associated with a number of other local architects. Charles Thomas Marshall, John Oliver Harris, Marshall Robinson, and Dan Gibson were assistants and Thomas Mawson worked with Knill Freeman on some projects such as the large house and garden at Graythwaite in the Lake District. Orlando Prescott, who practised in Wigan, was a pupil. There is no evidence for the claim that Freeman trained in Austin and Paley's office.

He designed a very wide range of buildings like many practices of the time: he was mainly an ecclesiastical architect but also designed schools, pubs, theatres, pier improvements, vicarages, libraries, town halls, museums, and public baths. He designed churches all over Lancashire and houses for Bolton’s nouveau riches, particularly in Bolton, Lytham and the Lake District.

Freeman’s obituary in Building News states that he "went in freely for architectural competitions, in which he was far more successful than the majority of those who regard that form of speculation as a profitable investment of time and money". He had an early success with the Mechanic’s institute in Bolton in 1866, and in May 1878 he won two major competitions: Bolton Infirmary, judged by Charles Barry, then president of the Institute of British architects and the Heaton Cemetery memorial chapels. Architectural competitions were very important to him throughout his career and of 29 that he entered, he came first in fourteen and second in five. He won the competitions for Dublin museum of science and Art (not built) and  Hartlepool council offices. He failed in competitions for Taunton and Leamington town halls, Southport art gallery, Southport market and Liverpool Exchange station. His only attempt in London was the Admiralty and Admiralty arch. Many of his unsuccessful designs were published in the Builder and the Building News where the quality of his drawings can be seen. He later became a competition judge.

He was an accomplished artist, exhibiting at the Royal Academy seven times. He was also part of an architect’s sketching group.

Freeman was also very active in the architectural profession. He was secretary of the Manchester Architectural Association in 1860  and president of the Manchester Society of Architects in 1890. He was the obvious choice to oversee their amalgamation in the 1890s.

Knill Freeman died of pneumonia in 1904 aged 64. Hints of his character can be found in his obituaries: he was the local branch of the English Church Union" (an Anglo-Catholic advocacy group within the Church of England) according to the Bolton Journal. He “held office” in connection with St Stephen and All Martyrs, Lever Bridge, where he is buried.

The Building News stated that he "was a very active, energetic, and distinctly clever man; he could speak well and easily. He had corns, as those who trod on them were apt to find out; he sometimes forgot that others might have corns too." He was considered an authority on church architecture and the practice of designing church fabrics [presumably pulpits, reredoses and pews, etc.] not only in Lancashire but also in the country and on the continent. He was a member of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society from 1885 until his death. He exhibited at the Royal Academy on seven occasions between 1882 and 1894.

After his death, in 1904, The Waifs and Strays' Society opened his former house at 114 Radcliffe Road as a home, after ten years of fundraising within the Manchester Diocese. The extent of Freeman's involvement in this is not clear but he was involved in other charitable schemes. He also had an interest in housing for the working classes and published some plans of model dwellings.

His son, Richard Frank Freeman (generally known as Frank R Freeman), FRIBA (1870-1934), continued the practice after Knill Freeman’s death as Knill Freeman & Son (Architects). He built a number of churches, schools and other buildings in a somewhat similar style to his father and completed or extended some of Knill Freeman’s churches. [David French]

More information can be found at: http://www.davidfrench.org.uk/knillfreeman/index.html

Buildings and Designs

Building Name District Town/City County Country
Adlington vicarage Adlington  Chorley  Lancashire  England
All Souls vicarage Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
Blackrod vicarage Blackrod  Bolton  GMCA  England
Bradshaw vicarage Bradshaw  Bolton  GMCA  England
Clayton le Moors vicarage Clayton le Moors  Accrington  GMCA  England
Hollinwood vicarage Hollinwood  Oldham  GMCA  England
Little Lever vicarage Little Lever  Bolton  GMCA  England
Moscow parsonage   Moscow    Russia
Newton Heath rectory Newton Heath  Manchester  GMCA  England
Over Wyresdale vicarage Lancaster Over Wyredale  Lancaster  GMCA  England
Peel vicarage Peel  Salford  GMCA  England
Prestolee vicarage Prestolee  Bolton  GMCA  England
Ringley vicarage Ringley  Bolton  GMCA  England
St Simon and St Jude Great Lever Great Lever  Bolton  GMCA  England
St. Albans Cheetwood vicarage Cheetwood  Manchester  GMCA  England
St. Annes Lytham vicarage   St Anne's  Lancashire  England
Tonge Moor vicarage Tonge Moor  Bolton  GMCA  England
Audenshaw Certified Industrial School Audenshaw  Manchester  GMCA  England
Bolton Central Higher Grade Board School   Bolton  GMCA  England
Lostock Junction Industrial Schools Lostock Junction  Bolton  GMCA  England
Bolton Wesleyan Schools   Bolton  GMCA  England
Brunswick Wesleyan Schools Pendleton Pendleton  Salford  GMCA  England
Chalfont Street Board School   Bolton  GMCA  England
Christ Church School Harwood Harwood  Bolton  GMCA  England
Coe Street Mission School   Bolton  GMCA  England
Devon Street School Farnworth Farnworth  Bolton  GMCA  England
Daisy Hill School   Bolton  GMCA  England
Francis Street School Farnworth Farnworth  Bolton  GMCA  England
Egerton Street Wesleyan Schools Farnworth Farnworth  Bolton  GMCA  England
Hargreaves Memorial school Westhoughton Westhoughton  Bolton  GMCA  England
Hawkshead Grammar School   Hawkshead  Cumbria  England
Holy Trinity Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
Kirkham Church school   Kirkham  Lancashire  England
Markland Hill schools   Bolton  GMCA  England
Old Grammar school Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
Primitive Methodist school Walkden   Salford  GMCA  England
Rivington school   Chorley  GMCA  England
St Bartholomew's Schools Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
St Thomas Eskrick Street   Bolton  GMCA  England
St Simon and St.Jude   Bolton  GMCA  England
St. Stephen & All Martyrs Schools: North Wing Lever Bridge  Bolton  GMCA  England
St. Stephen & All Martyrs SchoolsI Infants School Lever Bridge  Bolton  GMCA  England
St. Augustine's School Tonge Moor Bolton Tonge Moor  Bolton  GMCA  England
St. Chad's Mission church Tonge Fold Tonge Fold  Bolton  GMCA  England
St. James's Schools Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
St. John's Schools Farnworth Farnworth  Bolton  GMCA  England
St. John's Schools Cheetham Cheetham  Manchester  GMCA  England
St. John's Heywood   Rochdale  GMCA  England
St. Luke's Schools Rochdale   Rochdale  GMCA  England
Mission School St. Oswald Ainsworth Ainsworth  Bury  GMCA  England
St. Paul's School Peel Peel  Salford  GMCA  England
St. Paul's School Rochdale   Rochdale  GMCA  England
St. Peter's Schools Farnworth   Bolton  GMCA  England
St. Stephen and all Martyrs   Bolton  GMCA  England
St. Thomas's School Halliwell Halliwell  Bolton  GMCA  England
Walmsley Church Schools Walmsley  Bolton  GMCA  England
Hargeaves Nemorial School Westhoughton Westhoughton  Bolton  GMCA  England
St Simon and St Jude's School Great Lever Great Lever  Bolton  GMCA  England
All Saints Church Moses Gate Moses Gate  Bolton  GMCA  England
Brunswick Wesleyan Chapel Pendleton Pendleton  Salford  GMCA  England
Christ Church Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
Christ Church Heaton Heaton  Bolton  GMCA  England
Coe Street Mission   Bolton  GMCA  England
St Michael Croston Preston Croston  Preston  Lancashire  England
Holy Trinity Blackpool   Blackpool  GMCA  England
St James and St Elizabeth, Bickershaw Lane, Bickershaw, (Johnson Memorial Church) Bickershaw  Wigan  GMCA  England
Lever Bridge Mission church Lever Bridge  Bolton  GMCA  England
Ribbleton Parish church Ribbleton  Preston  Lancashire  England
St. Aidan Bamber Bridge Bamber Bridge  Preston  Lancashire  England
St. Aidan's Mission Prestolee Prestolee  Bolton  GMCA  England
St. Alban Cheetwood Cheetwood  Manchester  GMCA  England
Anglican Church of St. Andrew Moscow   Moscow    Russia
St. Andrew Thornton Thornton  Wyre  Lancashire  England
St. Augustines Tong Moor Tong Moor  Bolton  GMCA  England
St. Catherine Horwich Horwich  Bolton  GMCA  England
St. John Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
St. John San Remo   San Remo    Italy
St. John Wingates   Bolton  GMCA  England
St. Jude Preston   Preston  Lancashire  England
St. Lawrence Barton Barton  Preston  Lancashire  England
St. Paul Marton Marton  Blackpool  GMCA  England
St. Peter Farnworth Farnworth  Bolton  GMCA  England
St. Simon & Jude Great Lever Great Lever  Bolton  GMCA  England
All Souls Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
Christ Church Adlington Adlington  Chorley  GMCA  England
Emmanuel Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
Holy Trinity Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
Horwich Parish church Horwich  Bolton  GMCA  England
Church of St Saviour, Fold Road, Ringley: Restoration of Tower Ringley  Bolton  GMCA  England
Irlam o' th' Heights Wesleyan Chapel Irlams o'th'Height  Salford  GMCA  England
St. Andrew Ashton on Ribble Ashton-on-Ribble  Preston  Lancashire  England
St. Anne Lancaster   Lancaster  Lancashire  England
St. Anne Lytham   Lytham  Lancashire  England
St. Anne Turton   Turton  Lancashire  England
St Bartholomew Westhoughton Westhoughton  Bolton  GMCA  England
St. Bartholomew Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
St. James Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
St. John Farnworth Farnworth  Bolton  GMCA  England
St John Read Read  Whalley  Lancashire  England
St. John Whittle le Woods: New Tower Whittle-le-Wood  Chorley  Lancashire  England
St. Luke Deeplish Deeplish  Rochdale  GMCA  England
St Marguerite Forest Guernsey       Guernsey
St. Margaret Hollinwood Hollinwood  Oldham  GMCA  England
St. Mark Cheetham Hill Cheetham Hill  Manchester  GMCA  England
St. Mark Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
St. Mark Worsley Worsley  Salford  GMCA  England
St. Mary Deane   Bolton  GMCA  England
St. Matthew Little Lever Little Lever  Bolton  GMCA  England
Restoration of Tower: St. Maxentius. Bradshaw, near Bolton Bradshaw  near Bolton  GMCA  England
St. Peter and Paul Mawdsley Mawdsley  Chorley  Lancashire  England
St. Stephen and all Martyrs Oldham   Oldham  GMCA  England
St Stephen and all Martyrs Lever Bridge Lever Bridge  Bolton  GMCA  England
St John Wingates Wingates  Bolton  GMCA  England
All Saints Pen-y-Lan   Ruabon  Clwyd  Wales
House Clitheroe   Clitheroe  Lancashire  England
Brierwood Bolton Tonge Moor  Bolton  GMCA  England
Bryerswood Far Sawrey  Windermere  Cumbria  England
Castle Rigg Manor   Keswick  Cumbria  England
Crooke Hall Clayton-le-Woods  Accrington  GMCA  England
Graythwaite Hall Newby Bridge Newby Bridge  Windermere  Cumbria  England
Halliwell Lodge   Bolton  GMCA  England
Hammarbank Windermere: New Wing   Windermere  Cumbria  England
House and stables Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
Hulton Park Westhoufgton  Bolton  GMCA  England
Runshaw Hall. Leyland   Leyland  Lancashire  England
Villa delle Palme San Remo Italy   San Remo    Italy
Sawery Inn Far Sawrey (Cuckoo Brow Inn) Far Sawrey  Windermere  Cumbria  England
Business Premises South Shore Blackpool South Shore  Blackpool  GMCA  England
Wheatfield House. Haulgh Haulgh  Bolton  GMCA  England
Woolstenholme Hall Rochdale: Alterations   Rochdale  GMCA  England
Wyresdale Hall: New Wing Scorton  Lancaster  Lancashire  England
Alhambra Theatre West Hartlepool   West Hartlepool  GMCA  England
Art Gallery for Thomas Bromley Bradshawgate Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
Black Lad Hotel Rivington Rivington  Chorley  Lancashire  England
Blackpool Central Pier   Blackpool  Lancashire  England
Blackpool North Pier   Blackpool  Lancashire  England
Queen's Hydro South Shore Blackpool South Shore  Blackpool  Lancashire  England
Church House Little Lever Little Lever  Bolton  GMCA  England
Church Army Labour Homes Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
Collingwood Restaurant, Groat Market, Newcastle-upon Tyne   Newcastle-upon Tyne  Tyne and Wear  England
Bank for Hardcastle Coss and Company Deansgate Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
Heaton cemetery Chapel Heaton  Bolton  GMCA  England
Mechanics Institute Bolton   Bolton  Lancashire  England
Nathan Bury shop 81 Bradshawgate Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
Nurses home 96-100 St. Georges Road Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
Manchester and County Bank Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
Little Lever Co-operative Hall and Store Little Lever  Bolton  GMCA  England
Southport Pier   Southport  Merseyside  England
Rochdale Waifs and Strays Home   Rochdale  GMCA  England
Wingfields brewery   Bolton  GMCA  England
Doffcocker Inn 780 Chorley Old Road Bolton Doffcocker  Bolton  Lancashire  England
Bolton infimary   Bolton  GMCA  England
Chadwick Museum Bolton   Bolton  GMCA  England
Church Labour homes   Bolton  GMCA  England
Derby library and museum   Derby  GMCA  England
High Street Baths Bolton   Bolton    England
Newcastle Water Company Offices   Newcastle-upon-Tyne  Tyne and Wear  England
War Memorial Cross St Mary's Church Tenbury Wells   Tenbury Wells  Worcestershire  England
Tyldesley cemetery Tyldesley  Leigh  GMCA  England
West Hartlepool municipal   West Hartlepool    England
Worcester public library   Worcester  Worcestershire  England
Sparrow Park Southport CHECK   Southport  Merseyside  England
House near Moscow   Moscow    Russia
Graythwaite Hall Newby Bridge: Stables Newby Bridge  Windermere  Cumbria  England
Public Library and Hastings Museum, Worcester   Worcester  Worcestershire  England

Partnerships

Name Designation Formed Dissolved Location
Cunliffe and Freeman Architectural practice 1865 1871 Bolton