(b. 1776, Maidenhead, d. 1841, Birmingham)
English architect and author. His book An Attempt to Discriminate the Styles of English Architecture (1817) established the classification of English medieval architecture and the use of such terms as decorated and perpendicular Gothic.
Originally a pharmacist's assistant, doctor, and clerk, Rickman became an architect through his interest in sketching and studying medieval buildings. This self-taught architect designed many churches and country houses based on English Gothic architecture, especially of the perpendicular period. His most famous work, however, is the New Court of St. John's College, Cambridge (1826-31), which he built in collaboration with Henry Hutchinson (1800-1831). Rickman's style shows more knowledge of the outward form of Gothic architecture than real acquaintance with or concern for its spirit.
As an architect, Rickman was self-taught. When in the Church Building Act of 1818 a large grant of money was set by the government to build new "Waterloo churches", Rickman sent in a design of his own which was successful in an open competition; thus he was fairly launched upon the profession of an architect, for which his natural gifts strongly fitted him. Rickman then moved to Birmingham where he designed the St George's Church (demolished in 1960) for the city. The design also consisted of churchyard gates, completed in 1822, which remain today. By 1830 Rickman had become one of the most successful architects of his time. He built churches at Hampton Lucy, Ombersley, and Stretton-on-Dunsmore, St George's at Birmingham, St Philip's, St Mary the Virgin and St Matthew's in Bristol, two in Carlisle, St Peter's and St Paul's at Preston, St David's in Glasgow, Grey Friars at Coventry, St Michael's Church, Aigburth and many others. He also designed New Court of St John's College, Cambridge, a palace for the bishop of Carlisle, and several large country houses.
Rickman had always been interested in new technologies, and for a time he was captivated by the production of cast iron. He teamed up with a local iron founder, John Cragg, and assisted Cragg in designing a small but well-known group of churches in Toxteth and Liverpool which made extensive use of cast iron. The most famous of these is the Church of St George, Everton (1812-13).