Basic Biographical Details

Name: Fred Rowntree
Designation: Architect
Born: 1860
Died: 7 January 1927
Bio Notes: Fred Rowntree was born in 1860 in Scarborough, the son of John Rowntree, master grocer and Ann Webster. His brother, also John Rowntree, was a tea and coffee merchant and café owner there and another relative, William Rowntree, was a prosperous draper who subsequently built a department store. The family were Quakers and related to the chocolate manufacturers. Fred was educated at Bootham School, York, and articled to Charles Augustus Bury of Scarborough from 1876 to 1880. Thereafter he was assistant to Edward Burgess in London and a clerk of works in Leicestershire until 1885 when he was taken into partnership by Charles Edeson of Scarborough, the practice title becoming Edeson & Rowntree. He moved office to London in 1890, but in the same year he entered into partnership with Malcolm Stark in Glasgow. The reason for this move is not yet clear but Stark had won the Govan District Asylum competition and was always coming close to a major national competition win, the Rowntrees had Glasgow connections through the Henderson family and on 6 October 1886 at the Friends Meeting House, North Portland Street Rowntree had married Mary Anna Gray, a daughter of William Gray of Gray, Dunn & Company (biscuit manufacturers), who were also Quakers. Helen Henderson had, as her second husband, married the painter E A Walton and through them Rowntree became acquainted with George Walton, with whom he worked closely for decorative work in the 1890s.

In 1900 the partnership of Stark & Rowntree was dissolved as a long succession of near misses in national competitions, together with health problems, had resulted in Stark descending into alcoholism. They had only narrowly missed winning the commission for Belfast City Hall, but the Govan District Asylum had remained their only significant win. Rowntree relocated his practice in Hammersmith. In 1907 Rowntree joined the Art Workers Guild.

That same year, 1907, Rowntree's son Douglas Woodville Rowntree (born in England c. 1888), who had studied at the Architectural Association for the previous two years and had passed the preliminary exam in 1906, entered the practice as improver. He passed the intermediate exam the following year and was soon promoted to assistant. He sought additional experience from April to September 1910 in the firm of Mussellwhite & Sapp, builders, of Basingstoke, but continued in his father's firm thereafter. In 1912 he and Fred's younger son Colin (born 9 August 1891 at 9 Queen Square, Strathbungo) were taken into partnership as Fred Rowntree & Sons. In the same year they won the competition for the West China University at Chengtu, Szechuan; Douglas Woodville took charge of the office for more than six months whilst his father was away in China attending to the project.

During the First World War Fred Rowntree joined forces with Charles Spooner and Arthur Joseph Penty to form an enterprise employing Belgian refugees in the prefabrication of buildings for re-erection in Belgium after the war. Douglas Woodville Rowntree joined the armed forces in January 1916.

The practice continued under the same title and at the same address - 11 Hammersmith Terrace, Hammersmith - after the war. Douglas Woodville was admitted ARIBA on 3 March 1919, his proposers being his father, Spooner and Stanley Davenport Adshead.

Fred Rowntree died on 7 January 1927 after an operation. The continued careers of his sons fall outwith the scope of this Dictionary as they did not practise in Scotland.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 7The Valley, Scarborough, Yorkshire, EnglandPrivate1886 *  
Item 2 of 7167, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1890Before 1892 
Item 3 of 79, Queen Square, Strathbungo, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1891 *  
Item 4 of 7189, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 18921894 or 1895 
Item 5 of 7249, West George Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1894 or 18951899 
Item 6 of 711, Little College Street, Westminster, London, EnglandBusiness1903 *  
Item 7 of 711, Hammersmith Terrace, Hammersmith, London, EnglandPrivate/businessBefore 1905After 1926 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 5Charles A Bury18761880Apprentice 
Item 2 of 5Edward Burgessc. 1880c. 1882Draughtsman 
Item 3 of 5Edeson & Rowntree18851890  
Item 4 of 5Stark & Rowntree18901900Partner 
Item 5 of 5Fred Rowntree & Son (Fred Rowntree & Sons)1912After 1922PartnerFather

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 9Andrew Rollo1899After 1903Chief Assistant 
Item 2 of 9Alexander McInnes Gardner19011903Assistant 
Item 3 of 9James Henry Gray19031906Apprentice 
Item 4 of 9Alexander Robert MeldrumJune 1903April 1904Assistant 
Item 5 of 9Joseph Abraham Meikle19051906Assistant 
Item 6 of 9Colin Rowntreec. 19051910Apprentice 
Item 7 of 9Douglas Woodville Rowntree1907Before 1912Improver 
Item 8 of 9Douglas Woodville RowntreeAfter 19071912Assistant 
Item 9 of 9Colin Rowntree19101914Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3(Sir) John James Burnet4 December 1905for Fellowship
Item 2 of 3Henry Thomas Hare4 December 1905for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3Andrew Noble Prentice4 December 1905for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 5James Henry Gray27 February 1911for Associateship
Item 2 of 5Joseph Abraham MeikleLate 1921for Associateship
Item 3 of 5Douglas Woodville Rowntree3 March 1919for Associateship
Item 4 of 5Austin Woodeson3 December 1906for Associateship
Item 5 of 5Austin Woodeson1914for Fellowship

Buildings and Designs

This architect was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 901882Sandside Coffee HouseScarborough YorkshireScotland 
Item 2 of 901882William Rowntree's department storeScarborough YorkshireEnglandAs assistant to Burgess and clerk of works
Item 3 of 901890Govan District AsylumGovan GlasgowScotlandDesign commission (won in competition)
Item 4 of 901890London County Council Municipal Lodging House  LondonEnglandCompetition design - unsuccessful
Item 5 of 901891Fancy fair stage set for Glasgow Society of Lady Artists  GlasgowScotlandIn conjunction with George Walton
Item 6 of 901891Glasgow Art Gallery and MuseumKelvingrove GlasgowScotlandCompetition design - reached second tier
Item 7 of 901891Rowntree's Cocoa WorksYork YorkshireEnglandAdditions
Item 8 of 901891Society of Friends Building  DundeeScotlandDesign of elevation in consultation with William Mackison as part of Whitehall Street and Crescent improvement act redevelopment
Item 9 of 901892Kirkintilloch Original Secession ChurchKirkintilloch DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 10 of 901892National SchoolsSnainton YorkshireEnglandDesign exhibited
Item 11 of 901892Soldiers' Home  GlasgowScotlandWithin this period there were 3 campaigns of building. See events
Item 12 of 901892St Pancras Municipal BuildingsSt Pancras LondonEnglandThird (or second?) premiated competition design
Item 13 of 901892Walsall Town HallWalsall StaffordshireEnglandUnsuccessful competition entry
Item 14 of 901893Biscuit Factory of Gray, Dunn & Co, Kinning ParkKinning Park GlasgowScotlandExtension (115 Stanley Street)
Item 15 of 901893Pump Room and Municipal Buildings extensionBath SomersetEnglandUnsuccessful competition design
Item 16 of 901893The Mount SchoolYork YorkshireEnglandGymnasium
Item 17 of 901894Adult SchoolScarborough YorkshireScotland 
Item 18 of 901894Miss Maris Woodhead's School for Ladies, Gymnasium, WestlandsScarborough YorkshireScotland 
Item 19 of 901894Radnor Park UF ChurchClydebank DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 20 of 901894ResidenceHarrogate YorkshireEnglandDesign exhibited
Item 21 of 901894Society of Friends Mission Hall and InstituteScarborough YorkshireEngland 
Item 22 of 901894Temperance Hall, ScalbyScarborough YorkshireScotland 
Item 23 of 901894UP ChurchBridge of Allan StirlingshireScotland 
Item 24 of 901895Arts and Crafts Exhibition, Queen's Rooms  LondonEnglandWith George Walton
Item 25 of 901895John Rowntree & Sons CaféScarborough YorkshireEnglandWith George Walton
Item 26 of 901895Lady Artists' Club, Blythswood Square  GlasgowScotlandDesigns for Fancy Fair, with George Walton
Item 27 of 901895Shopfront for Neilson, Shaw and Macgregor  GlasgowScotland 
Item 28 of 901896Belfast Town Hall  BelfastNorthern IrelandFirst premiated competition design, but commission subsequently awarded to Alfred Brumwell Thomas
Item 29 of 901896Glasgow School of Art  GlasgowScotlandUnsuccessful competition design
Item 30 of 901896GlenbankLenzie Dunbartonshire/LanarkshireScotlandRemodelled, with George Walton designing interior
Item 31 of 901896Govan District Asylum, gate lodge  GlasgowScotlandHS attribution - 'presumably'
Item 32 of 901896Lady Artists' Club, Blythswood Square  GlasgowScotlandGallery, with George Walton
Item 33 of 901896William Rowntree's department storeScarborough YorkshireEnglandTea room and extensions, with George Walton
Item 34 of 901897Asylum for the Insane  BeirutSyriaDesign exhibited
Item 35 of 901897Town Hall  CardiffWalesUnsuccessful competition design
Item 36 of 901897Victoria Place Baptist ChurchGovanhill GlasgowScotland 
Item 37 of 901898RiseboroughScarborough YorkshireScotland 
Item 38 of 901898Rowntree's Cocoa WorksYork YorkshireEnglandFurther additions
Item 39 of 901898UP ChurchNewlands GlasgowScotland 
Item 40 of 901899Cartwright Memorial HallBradford YorkshireEnglandCompetition design
Item 41 of 901899Two lodges  YorkshireEngland 
Item 42 of 901899Workshops for George Walton & Co  GlasgowScotlandWith George Walton
Item 43 of 901900AultwharrieDunblane PerthshireScotlandWith George Walton
Item 44 of 901902Bootham SchoolYork YorkshireEnglandBright Library - in collaboration with William Henry Thorp
Item 45 of 901903Cherry Hill, BransbyYork YorkshireScotland 
Item 46 of 901903Roscoe Rooms Adult SchoolScarborough YorkshireScotland 
Item 47 of 901903The Mount SchoolYork YorkshireEnglandEast wing
Item 48 of 901904310 Tadcaster RoadYork YorkshireEngland 
Item 49 of 901904Low Hall, ScalbyScarborough YorkshireScotland 
Item 50 of 901904ResidenceYork YorkshireEngland 
Item 51 of 901904Rock Ferry  LiverpoolEngland 
Item 52 of 901904The HomesteadYork YorkshireEngland 
Item 53 of 901905Barclay InstituteForest Gate LondonEngland 
Item 54 of 901905Friends SchoolSidcot SomersetEnglandHeadmaster's House and other buildings
Item 55 of 901905Pilmuir, Lodge houseTorquay DevonEngland 
Item 56 of 901906Scottish Temperance Life Assurance Building  LondonEnglandWon in competition
Item 57 of 90After 1906InstituteWalthamstow LondonEngland 
Item 58 of 901907Friends Meeting House, Heath StreetGolders Green LondonEngland 
Item 59 of 901908Friends Meeting HouseCroyden SurreyScotland 
Item 60 of 901908RavensworthCathcart GlasgowScotlandInformation given to David M Walker by Maureen Lishman in letter dated 30 January 1989
Item 61 of 901909Scarborough College, school building, swimming pool and dining hallScarborough YorkshireScotland 
Item 62 of 9019107 Hill CloseHampstead LondonEngland 
Item 63 of 901910Leighton Park SchoolReading BerkshireEnglandTownson House and Libraries, and Peckover Hall - won in competition, with J W Thorp
Item 64 of 901911Home for Physically Defective ChildrenClacton-on-Sea EssexEnglandWon in competition
Item 65 of 901911The Mount SchoolYork YorkshireEnglandWest wing
Item 66 of 901912Bide-a- Wee, ScalbyScarborough YorkshireScotland 
Item 67 of 901912Orleton Private Preparatory SchoolScarborough YorkshireEngland 
Item 68 of 901912West China UniversityChengtu SzechuanChinaWon design competition
Item 69 of 90After 1912Newspaper House  LondonEngland 
Item 70 of 901913Friends Meeting House, North SquareGolders Green LondonEngland 
Item 71 of 901913Highdown WoodMilford SurreyEngland 
Item 72 of 901913St John's Presbyterian ChurchNorthwood LondonEnglandWon in competition
Item 73 of 90Before 1914Ackworth School  YorkshireEngland 
Item 74 of 90Before 1914Bainbridge Village HallBainbridge YorkshireEngland 
Item 75 of 90Before 1914BrandsbyYork YorkshireEngland 
Item 76 of 90Before 1914Butts CloseYork YorkshireEngland 
Item 77 of 90Before 1914Lavender CroftHitchin HertfordshireEngland 
Item 78 of 90Before 1914Moor Allerton HallLeeds YorkshireEngland 
Item 79 of 90Before 1914Myddelton LodgeIlkley YorkshireEngland 
Item 80 of 90Before 1914MyttenCuckfield SussexEngland 
Item 81 of 90Before 1914Oxney GrangeBushey HertfordshireEngland 
Item 82 of 90Before 1914Scalby Village HallScalby YorkshireEngland 
Item 83 of 901919ClaverhamGerrard's Cross BuckinghamshireEngland 
Item 84 of 901919Rowntree ParkYork YorkshireEnglandLayout - with W J Swain
Item 85 of 901922Friends SchoolSaffron Walden EssexEnglandAddition of art rooms and classroom block
Item 86 of 901923Friends Meeting HouseHaringey LondonEngland 
Item 87 of 901924Manor House, Langdale EndScarborough YorkshireScotland 
Item 88 of 901924The Manor HouseScarborough YorkshireScotland 
Item 89 of 901926Friends Meeting HouseMuswell Hill LondonScotland 
Item 90 of 901927Friends Meeting HouseCambridge CambridgeshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 9Bayliss, Ann and Paul2001Architects and Civil Engineers of Nineteenth Century Scarborough: A Biographical Dictionary   
Item 2 of 9Beauty's Awakening Beauty's Awakening: The Centenary Exhibition of the Art Workers' Guild Brighton Museum September -November 1984, Royal Pavilion Brighton 
Item 3 of 9British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 4 of 9Gray, A Stuart1985Edwardian Architecture: A Biographical Dictionary   
Item 5 of 9Moon, Karen1993George Walton, Designer and Architect   
Item 6 of 9Robson, Peter2014Fred Rowntree architect York: Newby Books 
Item 7 of 9Who's Who in Architecture1914    
Item 8 of 9Who's Who in Architecture1923    
Item 9 of 9Who's Who in Architecture1926    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Builder14 January 1927v132 p88 - death notice
Item 2 of 3Builder28 January 1927v132 p150 - obituary
Item 3 of 3RIBA Journal5 February 1927v34London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp255 - obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Additional information (family history and addresses) from research by Iain Paterson
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v16 p59 no1046 (microfilm reel 11)