1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Waterhouse, Alfred

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WATERHOUSE, ALFRED (1830–1905), English architect, was born at Liverpool on the 19th of July 1839, and passed his professional pupilage under Richard Lane in Manchester, His earliest commissions were of a domestic nature, but his position as a designer of public buildings was assured as early as 1859 by success in the open competition for the Manchester assize courts. This work marked him not only as an adept in the planning of a complicated building on a large scale, but also as a champion of the Gothic cause. Nine years later, in 1868, another competition secured for Waterhouse the execution of the Manchester town-hall, where he was able to show a firmer and perhaps more original handling of the Gothic manner. The same year brought him the rebuilding of part of Caius College, Cambridge, not his first university work, for Balliol, Oxford, had been put into his hands in 1867. At Caius, out of deference to the Renaissance treatment of the older parts of the college, the Gothic element was intentionally mingled with classic detail, while Balliol and Pembroke, Cambridge, which followed in 1871, may be looked upon as typical specimens of the style of his mid career—Gothic tradition (European rather than British) tempered by individual taste and by adaptation to modern needs. Girton College, Cambridge, a building of simpler type, dates originally from the same period (1870), but has been periodically enlarged by further buildings. Two important domestic works were undertaken in 1870 and 1871 respectively—Eaton Hall for the duke, then marquis, of Westminster, and Heythrop Hall, Oxfordshire, the latter, a restoration, being of a fairly strict classic type. Iwerne Minster for Lord Wolverton was begun in 1877. In 1865 Waterhouse had removed his practice from Manchester to London, and he was one of the architects selected to compete for the Royal Courts of Justice. He received from the government, without competition, the commission to build the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, a design which marks an epoch in the modern use of terra-cotta. The new University Club—a Gothic design—was undertaken in 1866, to be followed nearly twenty years later by the National Liberal Club, a study in Renaissance composition. Waterhouse’s series of works for Victoria University, of which he was made LL.D. in 1895, date from 1870, when he was first engaged on Owens College, Manchester. Yorkshire College, Leeds, was begun in 1878; and Liverpool University College in 1885. St Paul’s School, Hammersmith, was begun in 1881, and in the same year the Central Technical College in Exhibition Road, London. Waterhouse’s chief remaining works in London are the new Prudential Assurance Company’s offices in Holborn; the new University College Hospital; the National Provincial Bank, Piccadilly, 1892; the Surveyors' Institution, Great George Street, 1896; and the Jenner Institute of Preventive Medicine, Chelsea, 1895. For the Prudential Company he designed many provincial branch offices, while for the National Provincial Bank he also designed premises at Manchester. The Liverpool Infirmary is Waterhouse’s largest hospital; and St. Mary's Hospital, Manchester, the Alexandra Hospital, Rhyl, and extensive additions at the general hospital, Nottingham, also engaged him. Among works not already mentioned are the Salford gaol; St Margaret’s School, Bushey; the Metropole Hotel, Brighton; Hove town-hall; Alloa town-hall, St Elizabeth’s church. Reddish; the Weigh House chapel, Mayfair; and Hutton Hall, Yorks. He died on the 22nd of August, 1905.

Waterhouse became a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1861, and president from 1888 to 1891. He obtained a grand prix for architecture at the Paris Exposition of 1867, and a “Rappel” in 1878. In the same year he received the Royal gold medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and was made an associate of the Royal Academy, of which body he became a full member in 1885 and treasurer in 1898. He became a member of the academies of Vienna (1869), Brussels (1886), Antwerp (1887), Milan (1888) and Berlin (1889), and a corresponding member of the Institut de France (1893). After 1886 he was constantly called upon to act as assessor in architectural competitions, and was a member of the international jury appointed to adjudicate on the designs for the west front of Milan Cathedral in 1887. In 1890 he served as architectural member of the Royal Commission on the proposed enlargement of Westminster Abbey as a place of burial. From 1891 to 1902, when he retired, his work was conducted in partnership with his son, Paul Waterhouse.