Lawrence Booth, in proposing Knill Freeman as an associate of the RIBA states that his acquaintance with Freeman began in 1861 when “he was at that time managing the business of a leading architect in Manchester (W W Whittaker [sic], Esq).”
Whitaker was born in Swine, Yorkshire. Nothing is yet known of his education and training but by the early 1840s he was living in Manchester. He was in partnership with Joseph Butterworth. After Butterworth died in January 1849, W W Whitaker continued the practice alone, receiving a significant number of commissions for National and church schools over the next dozen or so years.
In about 1860 he employed Richard Knill Freeman as managing assistant. Freeman would probably have been involved with Whitaker’s last known schemes for Kearsley Moor Church of England Schools (1862), Parsonage House in connection with All Saints Church, Bury, (1862) and St Margaret’s Schools, Cornbrook Street, Whalley Range (1862-1863).