Basic Biographical Details

Name: Richard Barry Parker
Designation: Architect
Born: 18 November 1867
Died: 21 February 1947
Bio Notes: Richard Barry Parker was born in Chesterfield on 18 November 1867, the son of Robert Parker, a bank manager. He was educated at Park Hurst, Buxton and studied at T C Simmonds Atelier of Art, Derby 1887-89 from which he took external examinations of the South Kensington Schools, moving to London and spending some three months there. In the latter year he was articled to George Faulkner Armitage of Altrincham whose studio embraced furniture and textile workshops as well as architecture. In 1891 Parker's father was transferred to Buxton for health reasons. Parker joined him there, designing for him three large houses in Buxton while acting as clerk of works at Brockhampton Court, Herefordshire and Caerleon, Monmouthshire. In 1894 Parker commenced practice from home at one of these newly built houses, the Park at Buxton.

In 1896 Parker went into partnership with his older half cousin Raymond Unwin, born at Whiston, Rotherham on 2 November 1863, the son of William Unwin, a tutor at Bailliol College, Oxford. He was also Parker's brother-in-law, having married his sister Ethel in 1893.

The early work of the practice consisted mainly of large houses influenced by Voysey, Baillie Scott and the American Gustav Stickley of which Balnagowan, Edinburgh is one of the best examples. Unwin became convinced that arts and crafts principles should be applied to working-class housing, and in 1898-99 they published designs for co-operative housing and Unwin wrote an important paper 'Co-operation in Building'. This was followed by a more developed paper by Unwin given at the Garden City Association conference in Bournville in September 1901 which brought the commission for the garden village of Earswick from the Quaker cocoa refiners Joseph and Seebohm Rowntree.

In 1903 the founder of the Garden City Movement, Ebeneezer Howard invited Parker & Unwin to advise on the site for Letchworth and in February 1904 Unwin won the limited competition for its layout. This in turn brought the commission for Hampstead Garden Suburb from Henrietta Barnett in February 1905 in which they worked in association with Edwin Landseer Lutyens.

Unwin became incresingly busy with public sector work. Although these activities brought the partnership much new business, they left Parker almost wholly responsible for its management and the first steps towards dissolution were taken in 1914. The practice became Parkerís in May of the following year, Unwin having been appointed Town Planning Adviser to the Central Government Board in December 1914. Nevertheless in addition to a large general practice which included the enlargement of New Earswick in the 1920s Parker had a continuing town planning practice, advising on Oporto, Portugal in 1915 and Sao Paolo, Brazil in 1917-1919 and from 1927 Manchester City Council on the development of Wythenshawe where he had a continuing role until 1941. He died at Letchworth on 21 February 1947.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 4Moorlands, Buxton, Derbyshire, EnglandPrivate/business(?)1896 *  
Item 2 of 4Norton Way, Letchworth, Hertfordshire, EnglandPrivate/business(?)Before 1913After 1914 
Item 3 of 4Crabby Corner, Letchworth, Hertfordshire, EnglandPrivate/business(?)Before 1913After 1914 
Item 4 of 4Wyldes, North End, Hampstead, London, EnglandBusinessBefore 1913After 1914 

* 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 2George Faulkner Armitage18891891Assistant(?)or apprentice?
Item 2 of 2Parker & Unwin18961915(?)Partner 

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 11906BalnagowanMurrayfield EdinburghScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 6British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 6Grove Dictionary of Art Grove Dictionary of Art   
Item 3 of 6Jackson, Frank1985Sir Raymond Unwin, Architect Planner and Visionary London 
Item 4 of 6Miller, M1989Letchworth the First Garden City   
Item 5 of 6Miller, M1992Raymond Unwin: Garden Cities and Town Planning   
Item 6 of 6New DNB New Dictionary of National Biography   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1RIBA JournalMarch 1947v54London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp286 - obituary