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Basic Biographical Details

Name: Donald Bruce
Designation: Architect
Born: 1834
Died: 20 February 1919
Bio Notes: Donald Bruce was born in Caithness in 1834, son of Alexander Bruce, farmer, and his wife Catherine Andrew, and was educated at Wick Academy and the Watt Institute, Edinburgh. In 1863 he was articled to William Spence in Glasgow. He studied at Glasgow School of Art and remained with Spence as assistant and latterly principal assistant, working mainly on commercial buildings and country houses. While with Spence he appears to have commenced a small private practice, designing Reformed Presbyterian churches at Penpont and Loanhead in 1875. In 1880 he formed a partnership with Edward Alexander Buckingham Hay. Born in 1855, Hay was twenty-one years younger and had been both articled pupil and assistant in John McLeod's office.

In 1881 Bruce was appointed surveyor to the Town Council of Kinning Park, designing the municipal buildings in that year, but the appointment terminated with Kinning Park's independent existence in 1905.

Although Bruce made extensive study tours in England, Ireland and France throughout his career, Bruce & Hay worked mainly in a rather dry and mechanical free classic manner with incised column details which appear to be of French origin. Their Netherlandish designs were rather more successful. The practice had a considerable number of competition wins, notably the asylum at Hartwood which was not built at that time (1886); the Scottish Wholesale Co-operative Buildings in Morrison Street, Glasgow, which were completely unparalleled among commercial buildings in terms of size and degree of elaboration in their time; and the United Cooperative Baking Society's buildings, also in Glasgow. The two last resulted in the SCWS and its subsidiaries becoming a particularly loyal client. They were also successful in two Glasgow School Board competitions and another for the Bothwell board which resulted in their becoming architects to that board for thirty years from 1884. Bruce also executed schools for both Glasgow and Govan School Boards, as well as churches and schools for the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

Bruce and Hay were both admitted LRIBA in the mass intake of 20 July 1911, proposed by John Bennie Wilson and the Glasgow Institute of Architects. By then Bruce was living at Clydemount, Barrhill Road, Gourock, where he died of hypertrophy of the prostate on 20 February 1919. He left moveable estate of 13,531 3s 2d.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 3261, West George Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18801920 
Item 2 of 330, Queen's Crescent, Cathcart, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1891 *  
Item 3 of 3Clydemount House, Barrhill Road, Gourock, Renfrewshire, ScotlandPrivateBefore 19011919 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 2William Spence18631880ApprenticeRemained as assistant until 1880.
Item 2 of 2Bruce & Hay1880Before 1919Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 1John Bennie Wilson20 July 1911for Licentiateship - as President of the Glasgow Institute of Architects

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 79 Cadogan Buildings  GlasgowScotland 
Item 2 of 791866Stewart & McDonald's Warehouse  GlasgowScotlandOriginal north section - may have been involved, as apprentice to William Spence
Item 3 of 791867Fraser & McLaren's warehouse, rear building  GlasgowScotlandAs assistant to William Spence
Item 4 of 791873Scottish Wholesale Co-operative Society Buildings  GlasgowScotlandAdditions - 6 bays to Paisley Road and 7 bays to Morrison Street
Item 5 of 791875Reformed Presbyterian ChurchLoanhead MidlothianScotland 
Item 6 of 791875Reformed Presbyterian ChurchPenpont DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 7 of 791876Clydesdale Bank  DundeeScotlandAs assistant to William Spence
Item 8 of 79c. 1879Stewart & McDonald's Warehouse  GlasgowScotlandAs assistant to William Spence - rebuilding of south section and improvement of Buchanan Street frontage as a whole
Item 9 of 791880Tenement, Keir Street and Leslie Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 10 of 79After 1880ChurchCarluke LanarkshireScotland 
Item 11 of 791881Hydepark Bakery  GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 791881Tenement, Leven Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 13 of 79After 1881St Mungo Halls and OfficesKinning Park GlasgowScotland 
Item 14 of 791882Municipal Buildings, Kinning ParkKinning Park GlasgowScotland 
Item 15 of 791884Commercial Bank with flats aboveLauriston GlasgowScotland 
Item 16 of 791884Hillhead Congregational Church  GlasgowScotlandProposed design - not executed
Item 17 of 791885Camden Street School  GlasgowScotlandExtension
Item 18 of 791885Hartwood AsylumShotts LanarkshireScotlandCompetition design, selected but not successful
Item 19 of 791885United Co-operative Bakery  GlasgowScotlandVarious additions (see event table)
Item 20 of 79c. 1885Gusset Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 21 of 791886Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society (SCWS) Buildings  GlasgowScotlandWith James Davidson - Dalintober Street/Wallace block
Item 22 of 791888Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society (SCWS) Buildings  GlasgowScotlandLinking block
Item 23 of 791889Brass works, Buchan Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 791889Stables and carriage shed  GlasgowScotland 
Item 25 of 791891Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society (SCWS) Buildings  GlasgowScotland4-storey stables, ham curing and grocery store (Carnoustie Street)
Item 26 of 791891Warehouses and creamery for Cowlairs Co-operative SocietySpringburn GlasgowScotland 
Item 27 of 791892101-103 High Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 28 of 791892114 CauseysidePaisley RenfrewshireScotlandAlteration
Item 29 of 791892Aerated Water Factory  GlasgowScotland 
Item 30 of 791892Centre Street Grain Mills  GlasgowScotlandMill at rear added
Item 31 of 791892West Kilbride Co-operative Seaside HomeSeamill, West Kilbride AyrshireScotlandHS attribution - no reference given
Item 32 of 791893Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society (SCWS) Buildings  GlasgowScotland 
Item 33 of 791894Warehouse for T Hodge  GlasgowScotland 
Item 34 of 791895ArdenHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandAdditions, greenhouse, stables, coachhouses and two servants' houses
Item 35 of 791895Centre Street Grain Mills  GlasgowScotlandGrain store
Item 36 of 791895Meadowside Shipbuilding Yard office  GlasgowScotland 
Item 37 of 791895Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society (SCWS) Headquarters Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 38 of 79c. 1895Kinning Park Colour WorksKinning Park GlasgowScotland 
Item 39 of 791896Bellshill AcademyBellshill LanarkshireScotland 
Item 40 of 791896Ibrox UP ChurchIbrox GlasgowScotlandAdditions (chancel and transepts)
Item 41 of 791896Ibrox UP Church mission premisesIbrox GlasgowScotland 
Item 42 of 791896Rutland House  GlasgowScotland 
Item 43 of 791896Workshop, Copland Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 44 of 791897Bakery for R Nish  GlasgowScotland 
Item 45 of 791897Co-operative Manufacturing Society Factory, ColinsleePaisley RenfrewshireScotlandAdditions
Item 46 of 791897Engineering workshop, Graham Square  GlasgowScotland 
Item 47 of 791897Working Men's ClubBriggton  Scotland 
Item 48 of 791897Workshop and stables for United Co-operative Society Bakery  GlasgowScotland 
Item 49 of 79c. 1897(?)520 Sauchiehall Street and 341 Renfrew Street  GlasgowScotlandAdditions
Item 50 of 791898Copeland (or Copland) & Lye premises  GlasgowScotlandBath Street corner section
Item 51 of 791898Elder Park Public SchoolGovan GlasgowScotland 
Item 52 of 791898Standard Oil Works  GlasgowScotlandAttributed by Hume - all three phases of work
Item 53 of 791899Bellahouston AcademyBellahouston GlasgowScotlandAddition of west block as pupil teachers' institute
Item 54 of 791899Warehouse for Ogg Borthers  GlasgowScotland 
Item 55 of 79c. 1899Stables  GlasgowScotland 
Item 56 of 791901Albert Chambers  GlasgowScotland 
Item 57 of 791901Kinning Park BathsKinning Park GlasgowScotland 
Item 58 of 791902Kinning Park Co-operative Society BuildingKinning Park GlasgowScotland 
Item 59 of 791902Marion LodgeHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 60 of 791903Carnegie LibraryKinning Park GlasgowScotland 
Item 61 of 791903Partick Academy  GlasgowScotland 
Item 62 of 791904Balshagray Road School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 63 of 791904Co-operative Building, High Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 64 of 791904Factory Block and Office for John Wallace and Son agricultural engineers  GlasgowScotlandSingle storey block
Item 65 of 791904Partick Academy  GlasgowScotlandAlso swimmimg pool and workshops
Item 66 of 791906Ibrox Board SchoolIbrox GlasgowScotland 
Item 67 of 791906St Ignatius RC ChurchWishaw LanarkshireScotlandAddition of south aisle
Item 68 of 791907St Gilbert's ChurchPollokshields GlasgowScotlandUncertain involvement
Item 69 of 791908Bellshill AcademyBellshill LanarkshireScotlandAdded E wing
Item 70 of 791908Contractors' Depot  GlasgowScotland 
Item 71 of 791909Boat Shed, Eaglesham Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 72 of 791909Kinning Park Co-operative Society BuildingKinning Park GlasgowScotlandWarehouse in Coburg Street added
Item 73 of 791909Notre Dame Training CollegeDowanhill GlasgowScotlandIn conjunction with Pugin and Pugin
Item 74 of 791910Our Lady and St Margaret's RC Primary School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 75 of 791911Belvidere Road SchoolBellshill LanarkshireScotland 
Item 76 of 791911Office block for the Glasgow Patents CoKinning Park GlasgowScotland 
Item 77 of 791912Hydepark Bakery  GlasgowScotland5-storey bakehouse added
Item 78 of 791914Warehouse, Sussex Street  GlasgowScotlandWith Burnet & Boston
Item 79 of 79Before 1917(?)Drapery and furnishing warehouse, Glasgow Cross  GlasgowScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 4Glasgow Contemporaries1901Glasgow Contemporaries at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century  p146
Item 2 of 4Johnston, W T2003Artists of Scotland Officina Publications CDROM 
Item 3 of 4Who's Who in Architecture1914    
Item 4 of 4Who's Who in Glasgow1909    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Building News5 March 1919  p156 Obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers L v16 no1149


© All rights reserved.  Courtesy of RCAHMS. Licensor www.rcahms.gov.uk (Glasgow Contemporaries at the Dawn of the XXth Century)<br> 

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of RCAHMS. Licensor www.rcahms.gov.uk (Glasgow Contemporaries at the Dawn of the XXth Century)