Richard Knill Freeman

Bolton architect

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Richard Knill Freeman was an architect based in Bolton who practised from about 1866 until his death in 1904. Although his work was mainly in the north-west, he also designed buildings abroad including the only Anglican church in Moscow and a church and house in San Remo. The practice was continued by his son Frank R Freeman until his death in 1934.

The office was versatile and prolific. Buildings included churches, schools, houses, pubs, piers, libraries and museums. He designed over a hundred new buildings and carried out over sixty major restorations/additions. About half of his buildings survive, of which over thirty are listed or otherwise protected. Despite this, he is little known, even in Bolton, where three of his buildings have been demolished in the last ten years.  

There is a great deal not known about him. This web site is an ongoing attempt to discover and record the buildings he designed.

Many thanks to Michael Shippobottom, Graham Potts and Neil Darlington for providing information used in this web site.

If you wish to use information from this site, please contact me. (This offer does not apply to David Kaye, who regularly plagiarises this site without acknowledgement or contact.)


2109/03/08: Newly discovered buildings by Marshall Robinson added.

2017/05/10: Most schools pages updated.

2017/04/16: Blackpool central pier pictures added; new buildings added: Little Lever Co-operative society and Manchester and County bank, Bolton.

2016/07/09: Knill Freeman as an artist; Links to Paley and Austin added. St Simon and St Jude (Bolton) and Victoria Wesleyan (Bolton) added.

2016/06/12: Most New churches pages updated

2016/05/01: Most schools and church restoration pages updated

2016/04/24: Sawrey Inn, Windermere added; Ghyll Head, Graythwaite and Hawkshead Grammar school updated; Coe Street mission school, Bolton; Francis Street schools, Farnworth added.

2016/04/06: Holy Trinity, Holtby added; building plans of St Alban’s rectory added

2016/03/02: Additions include Old Basford Board school, Nottingham; illustration of Southport library and art gallery; Southport markets; St Annes house for J Greenhalgh; White Bank, Bolton; Clitheroe house for R Crossland; Lostock Junction Industrial schools

2016/02/22: Original drawing of The Doffcocker added; Runshaw Hall, Windsor dwellings for the poor and Rochdale waifs and strays home added

2016/02/13: Hollinwood vicarage and Barton vicarage pictures added; report of a Talk given to Manchester Architectural association, 1861; Heaton cemetery pictures added; Brownlow Fold, Bolton housing; Mawdsley Street Independent chapel, Bolton added; St Margaret, Hollinwood, Oldham updated.

2016/01/24: Crooke Hall; Wolstenholme Hall added; St Mary Deane updated

2016/01/12: Pictures of Highfield added; Wheatfield added

2015/12/27: Frank Freeman war memorials page added; Winton church updated;

2015/12/20: St Thomas’s school, Farnworth; Bagslate Wesleyan chapel; St Mary Deane pulpit; Abram war memorial added.

2015/12/08: St Mary Magdalen, Ribbleton; St John the Evangelist, Read; St Peter’s Mission, Delph Hill, Bolton and St Andrew, Ashton on Ribble added.

List of buildings