Basic Biographical Details

Name: Frederick Edward Bradshaw MacManus
Born: 20 January 1903
Died: 1985
Bio Notes: Frederick Edward Bradshaw MacManus was born in Dublin on 20 January 1903. He was brought up in Kingstown and educated at private schools in Dublin. At his doctor grandfather's house in Trim he became acquainted with his grandfather's tenant, Vincent Kelly, who had recently graduated in architecture at the National University of Ireland; and after Kelly commenced practice in Dublin MacManus was articled to him in November 1919, concurrently studying at Dublin School of Art under R Caulfield Orpen, the architect brother of the painter Sir William Orpen.

Late in 1923 or early in 1924 MacManus was appointed assistant to the Dublin practice of Beckett & Harrington, the latter (Cyril Harrington) being a product of the Liverpool School of Architecture. In the latter year he left Dublin to study at the Architectural Association in London and in July 1926 he passed the qualifying exam. He was admitted ARIBA on 29 November, his proposers being Howard Robertson, Robert Atkinson and Thomas Smith Tait, whom he already knew as a neighbour in Hampstead, although he was not yet employed by him: at that date he was working in Clough Williams-Ellis's London office in Ebury Street, Victoria. Early in 1926 he spent all but 20 of his savings on a single ticket to New York, and with another 20 given him by his father sought employment in New York with a letter of introduction and recommendation from Tait, eventually securing a post with the Beaux-Arts practice of W L Stoddart Associates. After a year in that office he went on a study tour of modern architecture in France and Holland which was to prove a major influence on his work with Sir John Burnet and Thomas Tait whose office he joined in the late summer of 1927.

MacManus had a particularly happy relationship with Tait as his personal assistant: most days he drove him to the office in his Austin 7 until the younger Taits acquired their MG. Although never a partner, he enjoyed a degree of autonomy within the office, being allowed to design houses at Silver End, the Daily Mail Ideal Home house of 1928, Dr Simmonds' house at Newbury, Berkshire and West Leaze, Aldbourne, Wiltshire for Dr and Mrs Hugh Dalton: all early modern houses influenced by Robert Maillet-Stevens, Andre Lurcat and particularly Peter Behrens. The last of these commissions led to that of the Burlington School for Girls where Ruth Dalton was a governor, and three further schools in the West Riding of Yorkshire of which only one, Ecclesfield, was built before the Second World War broke out. MacManus also designed the concert hall for the Glasgow Empire Exhibition of 1938, but because of other pressures in the office it was executed by James Taylor Thomson.

In all of these MacManus made out the design from scratch, Tait reviewing the results and sometimes introducing Dudok-like details as at the Burlington School; and throughout his time with Burnet Tait & Lorne MacManus had his own small private practice, mainly in the London and Dublin areas.

Immediately after the outbreak of the Second World War Sir James West, the Chief Architect at the Ministry of Works & Buildings, invited Tait to become assistant Director of Post-War Building (Standardisation), an appointment more usually referred to as Director of Standardisation: it was chiefly concerned with rationalising hutted accommodation, a task for which Tait was well fitted through his work on school camps. He took MacManus with him and when Tait resigned in May 1942, MacManus became Secretary to the Committee on Building Materials Standardisation under the chairmanship of Herbert Ryle, CVO, formerly of the Edinburgh Office of Works.

In 1943 MacManus was appointed Advisory Architect to the English Joinery Manufacturers' Association, and on 4 January of the following year he was admitted FRIBA, his proposers being Julian Leathart, Henry Victor Ashley and Stephen Rowland Pierce. He retired from the Association in 1949 to commence independent practice with Edward Armstrong, a New Zealand architect, who had been a colleague at Burnet Tait & Lorne's; but Armstrong became ill and returned to New Zealand in 1953. MacManus thereafter practised alone for a time, but had taken partners by the time of his retirement in 1969. He was awarded the RIBA London Architecture Medal for Brunel House, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea in 1957; the Ministry of Housing's Good Design Award for Munster Square, London in 1961; and Knight First Class of the Order of Danneborg for the Danish Church (1961) in 1973. He was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland in 1966 and appointed OBE in 1968.

Frederick MacManus retired in 1969 but remained a consultant to his practice. Apart from his work in St Pancras and Camden his most important clients were Kent County Council and Tenterden Borough Council. He was conservation-minded and was involved with the Georgian Group, serving on its executive committee from 1960 and with the Tenterden Trust of which he was made an Honorary Member in 1975.

In his later years MacManus's activities were restricted by emphysema. He died in Sussex in the Spring of 1985, his death being registered in May of that year.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 3Dublin, EirePrivate1903Before 1926 
Item 2 of 3London, EnglandBusinessBefore 19261969 
Item 3 of 3Kent, England(?)PrivateAfter 1969  

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 7Vincent KellyNovember 1919Late 1923 or early 1924Apprentice 
Item 2 of 7Beckett & HarringtonLate 1923 or early 19241924Assistant 
Item 3 of 7(Sir) Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis19261926Assistant 
Item 4 of 7W L Stoddart Associates19261927Assistant 
Item 5 of 7(Sir) John Burnet & PartnersMid 19271930Architect 
Item 6 of 7(Sir) John Burnet, Tait & Lorne19301939Architect 
Item 7 of 7H M Office of Works (later Ministry of Works, Department of the Environment and Property Services Agency)1939Before 1943Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6Henry Victor Ashley18 January 1944for Fellowship
Item 2 of 6Robert Atkinson29 November 1926for Associateship
Item 3 of 6Julian Rudolph Leathart18 January 1944for Fellowship
Item 4 of 6Stephen Rowland Pierce18 January 1944for Fellowship
Item 5 of 6(Sir) Howard Morley Robertson29 November 1926for Associateship
Item 6 of 6Thomas Smith Tait29 November 1926for Associateship

Buildings and Designs

This 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 121927Craig AngusSilver End EssexEnglandWorking under Thomas Smith Tait
Item 2 of 121927CrowstepsNewbury BerkshireEngland 
Item 3 of 121927Twenty-four semi-detached houses and terrace of eight housesSilver End EssexEnglandWorking under Thomas Smith Tait
Item 4 of 121927WolvertonSilver End EssexEnglandWorking under Thomas Smith Tait
Item 5 of 12c. 1927Development of houses at Silver EndSilver End EssexEnglandWorking under Thomas Smith Tait
Item 6 of 121928Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition, Concrete House  LondonEngland 
Item 7 of 121929(?)West LeazeAldbourne WiltshireEngland 
Item 8 of 121936Burlington School for GirlsHammersmith LondonEngland 
Item 9 of 121937Glasgow Empire Exhibition, Concert Hall and Tea PavilionBellahouston GlasgowScotlandResponsible for sketch designs; executed by James Taylor Thomson
Item 10 of 121938Primary SchoolMaltby YorkshireEngland 
Item 11 of 121938 or 1939Senior Elementary SchoolThryberg YorkshireEngland 
Item 12 of 121939Ecclesfield Town Modern SchoolEcclesfield YorkshireEngland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 2MacManus, Frederick1985Some Recollections of my Early Architectural Years (Oct 1975; amended March 1985); Additional Observations (Aug 1984) Unpublished typescripts (copies held in RIBA Archive and in DMW Archive) 
Item 2 of 2Thurgood, Graham Silver End Garden Villageno 3Thirties Society Journal, pp36-41 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Architects Journal22 June 1939   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 3England and WalesBirths, marriages and deaths  
Item 2 of 3Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material DMW's notes from personal discussion by telephone, 1984
Item 3 of 3RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no3997 (box 5); F no3998 (stored under A3997, box 5)