Lawford, Frederick

LAWFORD, Frederick (1821-1866), an important figure in 19th C. architecture in Canada, active in Montreal from 1855 to 1866. He was a partner in the following architectural partnerships in London, England and in Montreal, Quebec

Lawford & Heneker, London, England, 1849-1855
Hopkins, Lawford & Nelson, Montreal, March 1855-1859
Lawford & Nelson, Montreal, 1860-66

Lawford was born on 14 August 1821 in Antwerp, Belgium, the son of John Lawford (1790-1869), a draper or cloth merchant who commuted back and forth between London and Belgium as part of his trade. Frederick was educated and trained in London, and by 1841 he was recorded as living and working in London as an architect. He articled in the office of Sir Charles Barry, one of the most important architects in London during the first half of the 19th C., and assisted him as clerk of works on the construction of his prize-winning design for Parliament Buildings at Westminster in London. Lawford also attended architectural classes at the Royal Academy School in London in his spare time. The Register Book of Students at the Academy records the name of “Frederick Lawford, of Tottenham, London, age 24” on 31 March 1846, and notes that he was recommended to the school by Charles Barry, R.A. (London, Royal Academy Archives, Register of Students, 1825-1880).

While he was working in that office, Lawford met another young architect, the Irish-born Richard W. Heneker, also a pupil of Barry, and their friendship would later develop into an independent practise in London in 1849-55. In 1849 or early 1850, both Lawford and his colleague Richard Heneker decided to leave the office of Sir Charles Barry and to form a new partnership in London with offices at Old Jewry Chambers, 20 John Street (City of London Directory, 1852, 352; and Directory, 1853, 332). Lawford was elected as an Associate member of the Royal Institute of British Architects on 18 February 1850, but he later terminated his membership with the Institute in late 1854, just before he emigrated to Canada.

In late 1854 or early 1855, Heneker was offered a post in Canada, and his decision to move to Montreal, Quebec may have precipitated an invitation which he extended to Lawford to join him there. They closed their London office, and shortly after arriving in Montreal, Lawford was asked by John W. Hopkins and James Nelson to join them as a partner (Montreal Transcript, 24 March 1855, 3, advert.). Their new firm was renamed Hopkins, Lawford & Nelson (see list of works under John W. Hopkins). It proved to be an intellectual powerhouse of new architectural ideas, and, during the next four years, they became one of the most influential architectural offices in eastern Canada. The contribution of Lawford to the success of this office cannot be underestimated. To their array of commissions they received in Kingston, Montreal, Ottawa and elsewhere, Lawford brought his scholarly knowledge of British architecture, undoubtedly influenced by the work of his mentor, Sir Charles Barry. Together, their collective body of work from 1855 to 1859 had a dignity and presence rarely attained in 19th C. Canada. Even after the departure of J.W. Hopkins in late 1859, Lawford & Nelson continued to collaborate for another six years on many exemplary ecclesiastical and commercial works in Montreal and surrounding towns which set a new standard for refined and sophisticated architectural design.

This significant contribution made by Lawford to architecture in Canada came to an abrupt and tragic end in 1866 when, at the age of 45 years, he became a victim of a typhoid epidemic and died in Sherbrooke, Que. on 11 August 1866 (obituary Montreal Herald, 15 Aug. 1866, 2; Montreal Daily Witness, 15 Aug. 1866, 2; biog. Royal Inst. of British Architects [London], Directory of British Architects, 2001, Vol. ii, 21; inf. Stephen A. Otto, Toronto). The Montreal office of the Archives Nationales du Quebec (ANQM) holds several original drawings by the firm of Lawford & Heneker, and by Lawford & Nelson. The McCord Museum in Montreal holds a photographic portrait of Lawford taken c. 1865 (McCord Museum, Acc. I - 1768.1)

LAWFORD & HENEKER (of London, England)

LONDON, ENGLAND, in Lower Tooting, Borough of Wandsworth, extensive renovations and improvements to a residence "...on the High Road, near the Church", for an unnamed client, 1850 (Morning Chronicle [London], 24 May 1850, 1, advert.)
LONDON, ENGLAND, Harding & Co. Furriers, No. 82 Pall Mall, constructed as a new east wing to Schomberg House, 1850-51; demol. c. 1950 (The Observer [London], 27 April 1851, 7, descrip.; Civil Engineer & Architect's Journal [London], xiv, 3 May 1851, 263, descrip.; Builder [London], xi, 1 Jan. 1853, 3; Survey of London: St. James Westminster Part 1, Vol. 29, 1960, 374, and Vol. 30, plate 204, 208b and 208d, illus.)
WESTBURY, ENGLAND, new pews and alterations to Anglican Church, c. 1852 (dwgs. at ANQM, CAR 39/63)
LOWESTOFT, ENGLAND, Anglican Church, Kirkley Road, 1853, an entry submitted in a competition, but not selected as a finalist (dwgs. at ANQM, CAR 39/62). The controversy over the results of this competition was reported on in The Builder (London), xi, 30 April 1853, 279.
NEWCASTLE-ON-TYNE, ENGLAND, Music Hall & Assembly Rooms, St. Nicholas Square, 1853. The London architectural firm of "Lawson & Heniker" [sic] was awarded the First Prize of L 100.00 for their scheme for this major civic building. A total of 33 designs were submitted in this competition (Newcastle Weekly Courant, 18 March 1853, 2; Builder [London], xi, 14 May 1853, 311; with correction 21 May 1853, 331; Algernon Graves, Royal Academy of Arts, ii, 1970, 395)
PRESTON, ENGLAND, Town Hall, 1853. Lawford & Heneker were one of 49 entrants who prepared designs in this major competition (Builder (London), xi, 24 Dec. 1853, 776; Roger Harper, Victorian Architectural Competitions, 1983, 137). Their entry was not premiated, and William Hill of Leeds was declared the winner.
NEWCASTLE-ON-TYNE, ENGLAND, Corn Exchange, 1854 (A. Graves, Royal Academy of Arts, ii, 1970, 395)


(works in Montreal unless noted)

MONT ST. HILAIRE, QUE., St. Hilaire Roman Catholic Church, new altar and Bishop's throne, c. 1860 (dwgs. at the Presbytery office, St. Hilaire; inf. Michel Clerk, St. Hilaire)
COURT HOUSE, Notre Dame Street East, alterations and improvements, 1860 (Pilot [Montreal], 18 May 1860, 2, descrip.)
LENNOXVILLE, QUE., grammar schools at Bishop's College, 1860; burned 1891 (Gazette [Montreal], 4 Aug. 1860, 2, t.c.)
IBERVILLE, QUE., Court House and Registry Office, 1860-61 (M. Carter, Early Canadian Court Houses, 1983, 210, illus.)
SHERBROOKE STREET WEST, at Simpson Avenue, extensive renovations to the villa belonging to Hon. John Rose, for the accommodation of the visiting Prince of Wales, 1860 (Pilot [Montreal], 22 Aug. 1860, 2, descrip.; Montreal Daily Transcript, 23 Aug. 1860, 4, descrip.)
DORCHESTER STREET EAST, at St. Andre Street, mansion for Ashley Hibbard, 1860 (Montreal Herald, 20 Feb. 1863, 3, advert. with descrip.; 6 Jan. 1864, 3, auction notice.; dwgs. at ANQM, CD2/1569)
VICTORIA SKATING RINK, Drummond Street, 1862 (Montreal Daily Transcript, 24 Dec. 1862, 2, descrip.; Illustrated London News [London], xlii, 18 April 1863, 443-4, illus. & descrip.; Gazette [Montreal], Illustrated Supplement, 25 Dec. 1865, 18, illus. & descrip.)
ONTARIO BANK, Place d'Armes, 1862-63 (Montreal Daily Transcript, 1 Oct. 1862, 2, t.c.; Builder [London], xxii, 2 Jan. 1864, 7, descrip.; Montreal Herald, 3 Dec. 1864, 2)
VIGER SQUARE, Public Greenhouse and Conservatory, 1863 (Montreal Daily Transcript, 30 Oct. 1863, 2, descrip.)
ST. LUKE'S ANGLICAN CHURCH, Dorchester Street East at Champlain Street, addition and extensive alterations, 1863-64 (Montreal Daily Transcript, 5 July 1862, 2; Montreal Herald, 26 Jan. 1864, 2, descrip. and Letter to the Editor)
ST. JAMES ANGLICAN CHURCH, Ste. Catherine Street West at Bishop Street, 1863-64 (Montreal Daily Transcript, 7 July 1863, 2, descrip.; Canadian Churchman [Kingston], 11 May 1864, 2, descrip.; Gazette [Montreal], Illustrated Supplement, 25 Dec. 1865, 6, illus. & descrip.; Montreal, Les Eglises, 1981, 246-9, illus.)
IRON HILL, QUE., Anglican Church, 1864 (H. Bergevin, Eglises Protestants, 1981, 135, illus.)
DRUMMOND STREET, residence for M.H. Gault, 1864 (Montreal Herald, 3 Dec. 1864, 2, descrip.)
ST. LAURENT BOULEVARD, near Sherbrooke Street, two houses for Alexander McGibbon, 1864 (Montreal Herald, 3 Dec. 1864, 2; 19 Dec. 1865, 1)
ST. MARY STREET, at Grant Street, commercial block for Robert Barrett, 1864 (Montreal Herald, 3 Dec. 1864, 2, descrip.)
SHEROOKE STREET WEST, near Guy Street, mansion for James Johnston, 1864 (Montreal Herald, 3 Dec. 1864, 2, descrip.)
SHERBROOKE STREET WEST, at Alexandra Street, residence for George W. Campbell, 1864 (Montreal Herald, 3 Dec. 1864, 2, descrip.)
ST. JOHN STREET, at Hospital Street, commercial block for Capt. Raynes, 1864 (Montreal Herald, 3 Dec. 1864, 2)
HOLY TRINITY ANGLICAN CHURCH, Viger Square, 1864-65; partly demolished in 2015-17, with tower and portions of facade left standing and now integrated with the University of Montreal Hospital Centre C.H.U.M. (Montreal Herald, 2 Feb. 1864, 2, descrip.; 3 Dec. 1864, 2, descrip.; 19 Sept. 1865, 2, descrip.; 22 March 1867, Illustrated Supplement, 1; Gazette [Montreal], Illustrated Supplement, 25 Dec. 1865, 6 & 7, illus. & descrip.; Montreal, Les Eglises, 1981, 50-5, illus.; Globe & Mail [Toronto], 17 March 2018, Arts Section, R1 & R6, illus. & descrip.)
KNOX PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, Dorchester Street West at Mansfield Street, 1865 (Montreal Herald, 3 Dec. 1864, 2, descrip.; 19 Dec. 1865, 1, descrip.; Gazette [Montreal], Illustrated Supplement, 25 Dec. 1865, 20, illus. & descrip.; Canadian Illustrated News, v, 13 Jan. 1872, 18, 20, illus. & descrip.)
ST. PAUL'S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, Dorchester Street West at St. Monique Street, designed 1866, completed 1867-68 by John W. Hopkins and James Nelson after the death of Lawford in August 1866; addition of a tower, 1881 by Nelson & Ballard; church later dismantled in 1930 and re-erected 1931 at St. Lawrence College, Ste. Croix Boulevard (Montreal Herald, Illustrated Supplement, 22 March 1867, 1, illus. & descrip.; Builder [London], xxv, 6 July 1867, 493, descrip.; Illustrated London News [London], 21 Nov. 1868, 495, 497, illus.; Montreal, Les Eglises, 1981, 352-9, illus.)
COMMERCIAL BANK, St. James Street at St. Peter Street, interior alterations, 1866-67 (Montreal Herald, Illustrated Supplement, 22 March 1867, 4)
SHERBROOKE STREET WEST, at Simpson Street, office block and residence, 1867 (Montreal Herald, Illustrated Supplement, 22 March 1867, 6)
UNIVERSITY STREET, near Sherbrooke Street West, residence for Robert Leckie, 1867 (Montreal Herald, Illustrated Supplement, 22 March 1867, 6, descrip.)
DUROCHER STREET, addition and alterations to residence for John Kerry, 1867 (Montreal Herald, Illustrated Supplement, 22 March 1867, 6)