Basic Biographical Details

Name: Robert Blackadder
Designation: Architect
Born: 1833
Died: 6 February 1914 or 20 March 1913
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.

Death date to be checked.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 846, Reform Street, Dundee, ScotlandBusiness1866(?)1869 
Item 2 of 829, Bank Street, Dundee, ScotlandBusiness1876  
Item 3 of 820, Windsor Street, Dundee, ScotlandPrivate1876  
Item 4 of 8Craigie Terrace, Dundee, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1876  
Item 5 of 87, Duntrune Terrace, West Ferry, Dundee, ScotlandPrivate1880  
Item 6 of 841, Reform Street, Dundee, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1887After 1889 
Item 7 of 8Bellevue, West Ferry, Dundee, ScotlandPrivate1890  
Item 8 of 8Edrom, Albany Road, Dundee, ScotlandPrivate1901  

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3William Blackadderc. 1847c. 1853Apprentice 
Item 2 of 3W & R BlackadderAfter 1853c. 1866(?)Partner 
Item 3 of 3Blackadder & Allan19031908Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 4Robert Sibbald  Apprentice 
Item 2 of 4Charles Pullar Hoggc. 1864Before 1870ApprenticeInitially at Glamis and subsequently in Dundee
Item 3 of 4James Lowe18871889Assistant 
Item 4 of 4David Lindsay Allan19001903AssistantLater partner

Buildings and Designs

This architect was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 19 Imperial HotelArbroath AngusScotlandDate unknown
Item 2 of 19 St Mary Magdalene's Episcopal Church  DundeeScotlandAlterations - date unknown
Item 3 of 19 St Salvadors Episcopal Church and Hall  DundeeScotlandAdditions - date unknown
Item 4 of 191866North Bridge over Dean WaterGlamis AngusScotland 
Item 5 of 191867Stewart & Son's Whisky Bond  DundeeScotlandArchitect given in 'Buildings of Scotland'
Item 6 of 191870(?)Trades Lane Calender  DundeeScotland 
Item 7 of 191878All Saints Episcopal churchGlencarse PerthshireScotlandDesign of building? As executant architect? (Conflict of information with 'Buildings of Scotland')
Item 8 of 191880Auchterhouse Parish ChurchKirkton of Auchterhouse AngusScotlandInterior recast
Item 9 of 191887Whitehall Street, north-west corner  DundeeScotland 
Item 10 of 191900Forfar Parish ChurchForfar AngusScotlandPews and pulpit
Item 11 of 191903Gray Lodge Settlement  DundeeScotland 
Item 12 of 191903St Mary Magdalene's Episcopal ChurchHawkhill DundeeScotlandUnexecuted proposals for new church
Item 13 of 19After 1903Corn Exchange  DundeeScotlandAlterations
Item 14 of 19After 1903Forbes CourtWest Ferry DundeeScotlandWest wing
Item 15 of 19After 1903House(s)Broughty Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 16 of 19After 1903House(s)Invergowrie Perthshire/AngusScotland 
Item 17 of 19After 1903House(s)Auchtermuchty FifeScotland 
Item 18 of 19After 1903Tenement(s)  DundeeScotland 
Item 19 of 19After 1903Tenement(s)Lochee DundeeScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2Dundee Post Office Directories     
Item 2 of 2Johnston, W T Scottish Engineers and Shipbuilders   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Dundee AdvertiserFebruary 1914  Obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2National Library of ScotlandManuscript Collection MS 19981 (acc no 3355) Blackadder's business notebook, 1854-1908
Item 2 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor 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.