Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Walters, Edward
WALTERS, EDWARD (1808–1872), architect, was born in December 1808 at 11 Fenchurch Buildings, London, the residence and office of his father, John Walters, who was also an architect. Walters was educated at Brighton, and shortly after his father's death entered, without articles, the office of Isaac Clarke, one of his father's pupils. Three years' training with Clarke was followed successively by engagements under Thomas Cubitt [q. v.], Lewis Vulliamy [q. v.] —with whom Owen Jones (1809–1874) [q. v.] was a student at the time—John Wallen, and finally Sir John Rennie [q. v.] In March 1832 Walters was sent by Rennie to Constantinople to superintend the erection of a small-arms factory and other works for the Turkish government. At Constantinople he made the acquaintance of W. H. Barlow, engineer to the Midland railway, with whom he subsequently collaborated in various works at home. While in Turkey Walters made plans for a palace for the sultan (never carried out), and at the same time secured the friendship of Richard Cobden [q. v.], then staying at Constantinople. He left Turkey in 1837, and made a journey through Italy with Barlow. On returning to England he established, on Cobden's advice, a practice in Manchester in 1839.
Walters's office in Manchester was at 20 (now 24) Cooper Street. One of his earliest works was a warehouse for Cobden at 16 Molsey Street. After a few unimportant chapel and school commissions, he designed in 1840 Oakwood Hall, a Tudor mansion, for Ormrod Heyworth, and St. Andrew's free church at the corner of Grosvenor Square and Oxford Street. It was not till 1851 that Walters was brought into public notice by his design for the warehouse at the angle of Aytoun Street and Portland Street, which initiated the fashion of building Manchester warehouses in the style of the Italian renaissance. Until 1860 he was the leading architect of the town, and erected some fifty buildings, including warehouses, residences, banks, and chapels (for list, see the Builder, 1872, xxx. 201). His best and most important works were the Free-Trade Hall (1853) and the Manchester and Salford bank in Mosley Street (1860). Walters's design for the Free-Trade Hall was chosen in a limited competition, and is a fine example of Renaissance work of a severe type (see illustration, Builder, 1896, lxxi. 380). It cost 25,000l., and is considered to have good acoustic properties (Smith, Acoustics of Public Buildings). In 1860 he joined Barlow in laying out the railway between Ambergate and Manchester, and designed many of the stations, the most successful being those at Bakewell and Miller's Dale.
Though Walters worked in Gothic at the opening of his career, his most successful works were of a Renaissance type, and he applied the greatest care to the details and mouldings. Most of his warehouses, for the sake of the light, face north, and he was ingenious in providing sufficient projections to counteract the absence of strong light and shade.
In the competition for the Manchester assize courts (1860) Walters submitted unsuccessfully a fine classical design. He retired in 1865, and died unmarried at 11 Oriental Terrace, Brighton, on 22 Jan. 1872.[Builder, 1872, xxx. 199; Architectural Publication Society's Dict.; Trans. Royal Institute of British Architects, 1871–2, p. 113.]