Thomas Rickman (1776-1841) Architect and Antiquary

The first staging post of the travelling Thomas Rickman exhibition to commemorate the bicentenary of the 1817 printing in Liverpool of Thomas Rickman’s epoch-making book An Attempt to Discriminate the Styles of Architecture.

 Special Collections and Archives, Sydney Jones Library and Harold Cohen Library. 

In 1817 Rickman, a Quaker accountant in a Liverpool insurance firm, wrote An Attempt to Discriminate the Styles of Architecture, the first accurate history of English gothic architecture, which became a nineteenth-century bestseller. Rickman’s Attempt was a scholarly milestone which resulted in greater understanding and appreciation for medieval architecture; its clear schematic illustrations of the varied styles of Norman and gothic architecture enabled architects to employ the styles more knowledgeably in their executed buildings. In 1818 the second Church Building Act was passed by Parliament, creating demand for his services as a recognised expert in gothic architecture with a strong financial background. Thanks to the Church Commissioners, Rickman went on to have a large and varied architectural practice.

 Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • An original first edition of Rickman’s An Attempt to Discriminate the Styles of Architecture (1817) and copies of every subsequent edition
  • The handwritten text of Rickman’s lecture on modern church architecture delivered to the Liverpool Literary and Philosophical Institute
  • A manuscript letter from Thomas Rickman to Matthew Gregson
  • The copy of Rickman’s book owned an annotated by his friend William Whewell, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge
  • William Roscoe’s proprietor’s ticket for the Liverpool Royal Institution
  • Etchings of churches by John Sell Cotman (1782-1842).

 

Discover more about Thomas Rickman 

 

University of Liverpool Students’ Architecture Portfolios

These student portfolios contain architectural drawings and plans for various projects. The drawings form a diverse and interesting collection, frequently demonstrating a high level of draftsmanship. They represent a fascinating snapshot of the teaching practices and high quality of student architects work during this period.

A337 Molly Button (1914-2015): Molly Brettel (nee Hart) Born Bromley 1914, died Huntingdon 2015. Educated at Morton Hall School and University of Liverpool – School of Architecture 1932-1936.

An Authors Cottage: Elevations with floorplan, section and schedule of materials. n.d. [1932-1933].

A Holiday Residence and Garden: Section and floor plan. 1′-16″. n.d. [1932-1936]

D712/1 Papers of Geoffrey Rogers: BArch 1952, on his retirement Mr Rogers was Deputy County Architect for Staffordshire County Council.

Remodelling of a Roadside Inn: Third year. Perspective, plans, section and elevations. n.d. [1949-1950].

 D1132: Michael Bottomley. Michael was a student of the Liverpool School of Architecture between 1945 and 1949. He was elected an associate member of The Royal Institute of British Architects in 1949.

He later became a partner in Haigh Architects of Kendal, with whom he had worked a student placement during 1947. In addition to his work as an architect he was also an accomplished artist.

Fenton House, Hampstead: Apr 1946.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Fire Station for a Country Town: South elevation. 1/8″ to 1′: May 1946.

Holford archive features in Royal Institute of British Architects’ new exhibition

“Mies van der Rohe & James Stirling: Circling the Square” is a major new exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), offering a re-examination of two iconic architectural schemes proposed for the same site in the City of London. Commissioned by architectural patron and developer Lord Peter Palumbo, Mies van der Rohe’s unrealised Mansion House Square project is explored alongside its built successor, James Stirling Michael Wilford & Associates’ No. 1 Poultry.  The design history of the two schemes highlights the differing movements and influences of the mid-20th century. Intended to replace an eclectic block of listed buildings, both became subjects of passionate debate, and high-profile inquiries.

A major new exhibition, Mies van der Rohe and James Stirling: Circling the Square, at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in London. Photo credit: Jeff Spicer/PA Wire

Mies van der Rohe, one of the most prominent architects of the 20th century, designed his proposal for Mansion House Square at the very end of his career, between 1962 and his death in 1969. The glass tower of 19 storeys and accompanying public square and underground shopping centre would have been Mies’ first and only project in the UK. After a protracted planning process, the scheme was finally rejected in 1985. Lord Palumbo then approached James Stirling, fresh from his success at Stuttgart with the Neue Staatsgalerie in 1984, to conceive an alternative vision for the site. James Stirling, Michael Wilford & Associates’ No. 1 Poultry was completed in 1997, two years after Stirling’s untimely death. It has recently been awarded Grade II* listed status; while it still divides opinion, the building was designed with a consciousness of both its historic surroundings and Mies’ earlier design.

On display from Special Collections & Archives are two letters from the archive of William Graham Holford, Baron Holford of Kemp Town (1907-1975), architect and town planner. Holford studied at the University of Liverpool’s School of Architecture under Professor C.H. Reilly, and in 1936 was appointed to the Lever Chair of Civic Design, a post which he held until becoming Professor of Town Planning at University College London in 1948. During his career Holford sat on many committees, including the Royal Fine Art Commission, the National Joint Council of Architects, Quantity Surveyors and Builders, the Royal Academy of Arts, and the Royal Society of Arts. He was President of the Royal Institute of British Architects from 1960 to 1962; amongst personal and consultancy papers, records of international visits, lectures and articles, his papers include records of the Institute during his presidency. These detail his activities and the influence he was able to bring to the questions of architectural politics of the time (D147/RBA).

The letters exhibited are one written by Mies van der Rohe to Holford on 15th February 1963, claiming “to be building such a building in London would indeed be an honour” (D147/C39/1/(ii)), and another dated August 1969 written by Peter Carter on the death of Mies van der Rohe (D147/C39/1/(i)). One of the numerous criticisms levelled against Mies’ scheme for Mansion House is that he took little personal interest in the project, which the 1963 letter helps to disprove. The correspondence is also indicative of the nature of the two mens’ collaboration, and, alongside digital images of Holford drawings also on display, provide an important insight behind the scenes of this much publicised project.

Holford papers D147.C39.1.(i) – letter from Peter Carter to Holford on the death of Mies van der Rohe.

The exhibition, which was rated 4 star in a recent Guardian review, opens on 8 March and closes on 25 June 2017.