Richard Knill Freeman

Bolton architect






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Features Architectural competitions

Architectural competitions

Competitions for all types of building were an important aspect of Victorian architectural practices, well described in Roger Harper’s Victorian Architectural competitions (1983).

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, 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.

At least two of his competition entries were controversial: the Dublin museum of science and art and West Hartlepool municipal offices. The latter was won in competition in 1886, judged by Alfred Waterhouse. Designs were submitted using a motto to ensure the judge did not know the author of the design. Freeman used the motto “FRIBA” and this was criticised in the Builder:

“Professional assessors are not always engaged and such a motto may, or may not, influence unprofessional judges; at all events I feel pretty sure that the use of the initials in question as a motto in competition will be condemned by the profession generally, and a very large majority of members of the RIBA ; and hope we may not see them used again for such a purpose.”

I would also have thought that using the same motto (“As you like it”) five times and “Bona Fides” at least three times might be criticised since these mottoes were published when giving the results of competitions.


















Competitions won


Tydesley, Cemetery.(1st)[B,34, 1876, p.645; 791]


Derby, Library & Museum.(1st)[Dixon & Muthesius,1978, p.258]]


Bolton, Central Higher Grade School.(1st)[BN,70, 17 Ap 1896, p.584]


1897 Blackpool, Central Pier.(extension + pavilion-1st with T Dryden,CE) [BN,73, 20 Aug 1897, p.255]

Successful competition entries

Bolton infirmary

Derby museum and library


Unsuccessful competition entries


Competitions judged

Withington cemetery

Bury library

Year

Building

Pos/

Entries

Prize

Winner

1866

Bolton mechanics institute (with Cunliffe; motto “As you like it”)

1st (22)

£20


1876

Nottingham cemetery chapel

4th  (9)


W A Heazell

1876

Tyldesley cemetery (motto “As you like it”)

1st (19)

£50


1876

Derby free library

1st (50)

£60


1877

Southport art gallery (motto: “As you like it”



Waddington & Son; J Stevens

1877

St Margaret, Hollinwood

1st



1877

Hindley cemetery

2nd


G Heaton

1877

Wakefield town hall (motto: “Bona fides”)




1878

Chadwick museum, Bolton (motto: “Economy and Supervision”)

1st  (7)

£50


1878

Southport market (motto: “Bona fides”




1878

Eccles cemetery (motto: “As you like it”)

2nd

£10

Colley and Beaumont

1878

Bolton infirmary (motto: “Red cross”)

1st (38)

£50


1878

Old Basford Board school, Nottingham

2nd



1878

Heaton cemetery chapels (motto: “Mors Janua Vitae” (Death is the door to life))

1st



1879

Over Darwen town hall

3rd (24)


Charles Bell

1879

Johnson  hospital, Spalding

 -   (60)



1879

Brunswick chapel, Pendleton (motto: “Bona Fides”)

1st



1879

Newark hospital (with Naylor)

3rd


Wm Bliss Sanders

1880

Clitheroe day and Sunday schools (motto: “As you like it”)

2nd


W S Varley

1880

Park Hotel, Preston (motto: “As you like it”)



Arnold Mitchell

1881

Leamington Spa municipal buildings

2nd (40)



1882

Dublin museum of science and art

1st (68)

£150


1882

Oldham library

  -  (26)


Thomas Mitchell

1886

West Hartlepool municipal offices (motto “FRIBA”)

1st (31)



1887?

High Street library, Bolton (motto: “Supervision”)

1st  (14)



1887

Admiralty and war office




1892

Coxlodge asylum, Newcastle, (with Robins)

4th (18)


J W Dyson

1893

St Aidan, Bamber Bridge

1st (31)



1893

Queens Hydro, Blackpool (alterations)

 1st



1893

Salford Artizan’s dweiilngs

 -  (129)


Walter Sharp

1894

Bolton higher grade school

1st

£50


1894

Newcastle water company

1st



1897

Blackpool central pier

1st



1898

Taunton town hall

 -  (40)



1904

Liverpool church




Freeman later became a competition assessor, judging the following competitions:


Year

Building

Winner

1892

Shrewsbury police station

J Johnson of London

1897

Bury art gallery

Woodhouse and Willoughby

1902

Withington cemetery

Ernest Woodhouse

Harper gives Freeman as the assessor for St Aidan, Bamber Bridge, but this was actually a competition that Freeman entered and won.

Frank Freeman also used competitions to obtain work:


Year

Building

Winner

c.1911

St Stephen Kearsley, (1st)


1912

Winton church (2nd)

R T Bechett

1912

Astley Bridge parochial hall (3rd)

Marshall Robinson

c.1912

Queen Street Council school, Farnworth (1st)