Richard Knill Freeman

Bolton architect

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Frank Richard Freeman (1870-1934)


Frank R Freeman (actually christened Richard Frank Freeman) was Knill Freeman’s fifth child, born in 1870. He was educated at Rossall school and Hulme Hall (Manchester University) and worked for a short period with Sir Thomas Drew in Dublin. He was articled to his father from 1888-93, then assistant from 1893-1904 and continued the practice after Knill Freeman’s death in 1904 as Knill Freeman & Son (Architects).

The successor to the practice in 1934 was Herbert Walker Higson who had been Frank Freeman’s chief assistant for 17 years.


Frank Freeman, like his father, designed many types of building and won commissions through competitions. There are no buildings prior to 1904 attributed to Frank Freeman so it is difficult to know what he worked on when his father was alive. There is also some confusion about who designed some of the buildings in the years immediately after Knill Freeman’s death. This is further confused because Frank worked on a number of buildings started by his father, (for instance St Catherine, Horwich and St Aidan, Bamber Bridge), signed his name “Richard Freeman” and designed in a similar style. His obituary in the RIBA Journal incorrectly lists many of his father’s buildings as being by him.

He was particularly known for designing war memorials.



Mill extensions


War memorials

Other buildings


RIBA biographical list

Directory of British architects, 1834-1914

Bolton Journal, 22 June 1934 (Obituary)

He was made a licentiate member of the RIBA in 1912 (proposed by J B Gass, J Pilling and J Simpson) and fellow in 1933 and was a fellow of the Manchester Society of Architects. He was consulting architect for the Manchester Diocesan Church Building Society. Like his father, he exhibited at the Royal Academy (1906). His offices were in Smalley’s Chambers and later, 21 Wood Street, Bolton.

He married Annie Higson in 1923 at St Margaret’s church, Halliwell, Bolton, living at 416 Manchester Road in 1912, later moving to Ivy Bank, Ivy Bank Road and finally to 2 New Hall Lane, Heaton where he died in 1934. He is buried with his father at St Stephen and All Martyrs, Lever Bridge, Bolton.

Above: The opening of St Bede’s church. Freeman is believed to be on the far right. (Thanks to Bert Kerks)