Richard Knill Freeman

Bolton architect

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Bolton infirmary

Built 1879-1883; demolished (the gates remain)

Knill Freeman was placed first in the competition for this contract in May 1878 (on the same day that he won the competition for Heaton cemetery) after a display of the designs in the town hall. The cornerstone was laid in May 1880 and the infirmary and children’s wing (a gift of Dr Chadwick who also sponsored the Chadwick orphanage and the Chadwick museum) were competed in July 1883 at a cost of over £35,000. In 1881 there was a “grand exhibition of fine art treasures” there. This was partly to raise funds for the building and was designed by Selim Rothwell, a Manchester artist. Over 1600 pieces of art were displayed.

It was a large site and the infirmary was a prominent feature of Bolton’s skyline.


Clegg, James; Annals of Bolton, 1888

British Architect, 29 August 1879, p.82

Harrison, Margaret; Bolton’s Royal Infirmary

The Childrens hospital (below) was illustrated in the British Architect in August 1879. It used patent bricks, Yorkshire stone dressings and green slates from Elterwater for the roof. It was the first part to be built and the cornerstone was laid by Mr Musgrave a local spinner whose family has other connections with Freeman (see House in Windermere, Brookland).