Basic Biographical Details

Name: Fred Rowntree & Son (Fred Rowntree & Sons)
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1912
Ended: After 1922
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 ultimately related to the chocolate manufacturers. Fred was educated at Bootham School, York, and articled to Charles A 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 set up independent practice in Scarborough. 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's son Douglas Woodville Rowntree (born in England in 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. 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 architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 111, Hammersmith Terrace, Hammersmith, London, EnglandBusiness1912After 1922 

Employment and Training

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 3Fred Rowntree1912After 1922PartnerFather
Item 2 of 3Douglas Woodville Rowntree1919 PartnerSon
Item 3 of 3Colin Rowntree1919 Partner 

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 101912West China UniversityChengtu SzechuanChinaWon design competition
Item 2 of 10After 1912Newspaper House  LondonEngland 
Item 3 of 101913Friends Meeting House, North SquareGolders Green LondonEngland 
Item 4 of 101913St John's Presbyterian ChurchNorthwood LondonEnglandWon in competition
Item 5 of 101919Rowntree ParkYork YorkshireEnglandLayout - with W J Swain
Item 6 of 101922Friends SchoolSaffron Walden EssexEnglandAddition of art rooms and classroom block
Item 7 of 101923Friends Meeting HouseHaringey LondonEngland 
Item 8 of 101924Manor House, Langdale EndScarborough YorkshireScotland 
Item 9 of 101926Friends Meeting HouseMuswell Hill LondonScotland 
Item 10 of 101927Friends Meeting HouseCambridge CambridgeshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 1Gray, A Stuart1985Edwardian Architecture: A Biographical Dictionary   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Peter RobsonInformation via website from Peter Robson, great gandson of William Rowntree (1806-1901) Sent September 2007