Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Nicholson, William Adams

NICHOLSON, WILLIAM ADAMS (1803–1853), architect, born on 8 Aug. 1803 at Southwell, Nottinghamshire, was the son of James Nicholson, carpenter and joiner, who relinquished business about 1838 and became sub-agent to Sir Richard Sutton's estates in Nottinghamshire and Norfolk. William was articled about July 1821, for three years, to John Buonarotti Papworth [q. v.], architect, of London. In 1828 he established himself at Lincoln, and there and in the neighbouring counties he formed an extensive practice. Among his numerous works he designed the churches at Glandford-Brigg, at Wragby, and at Kirmond, both on the estate of C. Turnor, esq. Many other churches were restored under his supervision, including that of St. Peter at Gowts in Lincoln, which was not quite completed at his death. Among the numerous residences erected from his designs are those of Worsborough Hall, Yorkshire; the Castle of Bayons Manor for the Right Hon. C. T. D'Eyncourt; and Elkington Hall, near Louth. He also designed the town-hall at Mansfield. The village of Blankney, near Lincoln, was almost rebuilt under his superintendence; while the estates of General Reeve, Sir J. Wyldbore Smith, bart., Mr. C. Turnor, Mr. C. Chaplin, among several others, evince his skill in farm buildings. In Lincoln he erected in 1837 the Wesley Chapel, for two thousand persons, and subsequently designed the union workhouse; the Corn Exchange in 1847, since enlarged, a corn-mill, and several private residences. From 1839 to 1846, as Nicholson & Goddard, the firm carried out many works, including the dispensary at Nottingham. He joined the Royal Institute of British Architects as a fellow at its commencement. In the ‘Transactions’ for 1842 is printed his ‘Report on the Construction of the Stone Arch between the West Towers of Lincoln Cathedral,’ taken from very careful measurements under his personal direction. He was a member of the Lincolnshire Literary Society, and of the Lincolnshire Topographical Society, to whose volume of papers, printed in 1843, he contributed.

Nicholson was in attendance at Boston as a professional witness when he was suddenly taken ill, and died there on 8 April 1853. He was buried at Lincoln, in the churchyard of St. Swithin, in which parish he had resided for many years. In 1824 he married Leonora, the youngest daughter of William Say [q. v.], mezzotint-engraver, of Norton Street, London. His second wife, Anne Tallant, survived him.

[Builder, 1853, xi. 262; Dictionary of Architecture of the Architectural Publication Society; Gent. Mag. 1853, pt. i. p. 552, refers to a pedigree.]

W. P.-h.