Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||Robert Blackadder |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||1833 |
|Died: ||6 February 1914 |
|Bio Notes: ||Robert Blackadder was born in 1833 at Ninewells Mains, Berwickshire, the son of Robert Blackadder, tenant farmer, who died in 1840. Around 1847 he was articled to his uncle William Blackadder, factor and civil engineer at Glamis Castle. Like his uncle Robert was primarily a civil engineer engaged principally on local railway work, road bridges and farm steadings. In the later 1850s and 1860s they were in partnership at Glamis as W & R Blackadder. |
On the death of his uncle Robert closed the Glamis practice and entered the office of Lindsay Howe & Co., WS, presumably attending to the factorial aspects of that firm. There he met Thomas Thornton, later Sir Thomas, and Dundee's Town Clerk. In 1866 or 1867, Robert re-opened his Angus practice at 46 Reform Street, Dundee again primarily as a civil engineer, specialising particularly in legal and parliamentary cases. Notable amongst those who trained in his practice at this period was Charles Putter Hogg who left in 1870 to attend Glasgow University and who went on to form the practice of Crough & Hogg.
Blackadder's business flourished in Dundee, moving to 29 Bank Street in 1876 and then back to Reform Street., this time to no 41 where it remained for the remainder of its existence. Blackadder's increasing prosperity can be charted by his frequent changes of address to ever-larger houses: from Craigie Terrace where he was neighbour of the harbour engineer Charles Ower Senior, to 20 Windsor Street in 1876, 7 Duntrune Terrace, West Ferry in 1880, Bellvue, West Ferry in 1890 and finally to Edrom in Albany Road in 1901. He took little part in public life but he was secretary of St Mary Magdalene's Episcopal Church, leading to several Episcopal church commissions.
In 1900 Robert Blackadder's practice became more orientated towards architecture. This development appears to have been related to his sons David and Henry. In 1899 Henry was articled to Thomas Martin Cappon, attending Patrick H Thoms's evening classes in architecture at Dundee Technical Institute, and in 1900 David Lindsay Allan joined the practice as an architectural draughtsman.
Born in 1874, Allan was probably a relative of the Allan who subsequently became David Blackadder's partner: initially David practised as a solicitor from the same address as his father, 41 Reform Street. Allan was educated at Dundee High School and articled to John Murray Robertson 1890-94, remaining as assistant and studying at Dundee Technical Institute. In 1897 Allan obtained a place in the office of Niven & Wigglesworth in London which enabled him to study at the RA Schools from 1898. After three years with Blackadder, Allan was taken into partnership in 1903, but the practice could not be said to have flourished architecturally despite its influential connections. Henry Blackadder never seems to have joined the practice, moving from Cappon's office to the London office of Ernest George & Yeates, from which he passed the qualifying exam in 1906 and was admitted ARIBA on 3 December his proposers being George, Yeates and Cappon.
On Robert Blackadder's retirement in 1908 Allan merged the practice with Leslie Ower's as Ower & Allan, at Ower's 5 Whitehall Street office, probably to preserve the civil engineering side of the business, Ower being civil engineer as well as architect. David Blackadder then moved his practice to 32 Castle Street.
Robert Blackadder died on 20 March 1913, leaving a widow, Agnes Sturrock, three further sons and two daughters. Allan was admitted LRIBA on 24 June 1912 but because of his war service the practice did not survive Leslie Ower's death in 1916, being sold to Thoms & Wilkie. In Frank Thomson's words, Allan 'simply gave up'. By 1926 he had recommenced practice from The Shieling, Fryston Avenue, East Croydon, which was home as well as office.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|46, Reform Street, Dundee, Scotland||Business||1866(?)||1869|| |
|29, Bank Street, Dundee, Scotland||Business||1876|| || |
|20, Windsor Street, Dundee, Scotland||Private||1876|| || |
|Craigie Terrace, Dundee, Scotland||Private||Before 1876|| || |
|7, Duntrune Terrace, West Ferry, Dundee, Scotland||Private||1880|| || |
|41, Reform Street, Dundee, Scotland||Business||Before 1887||After 1889|| |
|Bellevue, West Ferry, Dundee, Scotland||Private||1890|| || |
|Edrom, Albany Road, Dundee, Scotland||Private||1901|| || |
Employment and Training
|The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Name||Date from||Date to||Position||Notes|
|William Blackadder||c. 1847||c. 1853||Apprentice|| |
|W & R Blackadder||After 1853||c. 1866(?)||Partner|| |
|Blackadder & Allan||1903||1908||Partner|| |
Employees or Pupils
|The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Name||Date from||Date to||Position||Notes|
|Robert Sibbald|| || ||Apprentice|| |
|Charles Pullar Hogg||c. 1864||Before 1870||Apprentice||Initially at Glamis and subsequently in Dundee|
|James Lowe||1887||1889||Assistant|| |
|David Lindsay Allan||1900||1903||Assistant||Later partner|
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Dundee Post Office Directories|| || || || || |
|Johnston, W T|| ||Scottish Engineers and Shipbuilders|| || || |
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Dundee Advertiser||February 1914|| || ||Obituary|
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|National Library of Scotland||Manuscript Collection|| ||MS 19981 (acc no 3355) Blackadder's business notebook, 1854-1908|
|Professor David M Walker personal archive||Professor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material|| ||Information from Margaret Lye and Frank Thomson, a colleague of Allan's at Niven & Wigglesworth's.|