Basic Biographical Details

Name: Willink & Thicknesse
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1884
Ended: 1920
Bio Notes: William Edward Willink was born on 17 March 1856, the fourth son of Rev Arthur Willink, vicar of St Paulís Tranmere, Cheshire, and Sarah Wakefield Cropper. His father died, aged 33, on 21 November 1862 in Madeira. Williamís subsequent childhood was spent with his widowed mother and the Cropper family at Dingle Bank, Toxteth Park, an extensive estate that once ran down to the Mersey shore, but one that has long since disappeared, the site eventually covered by the Liverpool Festival Gardens.

He was articled to Alfred Waterhouse in London from 1873.before attending Kingís College Cambridge where he was awarded a BA in 1881 and an MA in 1884. He commenced independent practice in Liverpool in 1882 and two years later took Philip Coldwell Thicknesse into partnership. His partnership with Thicknesse lasted until the latter's death in 1920, after which he worked in partnership with Harold Alfred Dod until his own death on 11 March 1924, following surgery.

W E Willink was elected an Associate member of the RIBA in 1885, having been a candidate in the first RIBA examinations held outside London, and was elected a Fellow in 1898. He was President of the Liverpool Architectural Society 1897-1899. A Justice of the Peace, he also was a member of the Liverpool City Council for sixteen years, serving as both councillor and alderman, and for some time acted as chairman of the Technical Instruction Committee. He was also chairman of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Company, and a member of the General Committee of the Liverpool Cathedral.

On 16 February 1893 William Edward Willink married, Florence Macan Urmston, the daughter of Colonel Henry Brabazon Urmston of Tunbridge Wells. They had five children: Henry Urmston, (1894-1973), Derek Edward (1902-1986), Beatrice C, ( 1896- ), Mary Christina, (1899-1990) and Anna Wakefield Willink (1906-). Henry Urmston Willink was elected Conservative MP for Croydon North in 1940. After serving as Minister of Heath between 1943 and 1948, he became Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge (1948-1966) and, in 1957, was created 1st Baronet of Dingle Bank.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 314, Castle Street, LiverpoolBusiness18941900 
Item 2 of 32, Castle Street, Liverpool, EnglandBusiness1910 *  
Item 3 of 3Cunard Building, Brunswick Street, Pier Head, Liverpool, EnglandBusinessc. 1918  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1Alfred Waterhouse1873c. 1878ApprenticeW E Willink - pupil

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3Philip Coldwell Thicknesse18841920Partner 
Item 2 of 3William Patterson19031905Assistant 
Item 3 of 3John MurrayApril 1903c. 1913Assistant 

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice 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 7After 1903HMS Hildebrand, ship interior    Alterations
Item 2 of 7After 1903Liverpool University, Physical Chemistry Laboratory  LiverpoolEngland 
Item 3 of 7After 1903Peterborough Cathedral, chancel screenPeterborough CambridgeshireEngland 
Item 4 of 7After 1903Shrewsbury School, speech hallShrewsbury ShropshireEngland 
Item 5 of 71910Liverpool School of Art  LiverpoolEnglandExtension to Hope Street
Item 6 of 71910RMS Franconia, ship interior     
Item 7 of 71911Cunard BuildingPier Head LiverpoolEngland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 1British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914