Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||David Clunas |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||24 February 1833 |
|Died: || |
|Bio Notes: ||David Clunas was born in Audlearn on 24 February 1833, the son of Alexander Clunas and Margaret Mason or Masson. His early experience was probably in the north-east but by 1868 he had settled in Edinburgh. He may have had some connection with Peddie & Kinnear as a Mr Clunas was their site agent at the building of the Royal Bank, Montrose in 1863-64, perhaps eking out a living while he established himself in private practice, but the Clunas there may have been his brother, William, who as far as is known, never attempted to establish himself in private practice. |
From about 1874 Clunas was in partnership with Charles R Sey. Their practice appears to have been primarily industrial housings and their main claim to fame is their experiment with mass concrete as a low-cost solution for the Working Mens House Building Association in Dundee. This partnership was dissolved by mutual consent on 19 February 1876.
Despite his seemingly respectable position as an Edinburgh architect, David Clunas continued to struggle financially, resulting in the eventual sequestration of his estates in June 1877. At this stage it became clear that he had also been forging the signatures of various firms and individuals to bills of exchange, the bills being kept floating one against the other until his bankruptcy. On 14 January 1878 at the High Court of Justice in Edinburgh Clunas pleaded guilty to forgery and was sentenced to five years penal servitude. According to the Manchester Guardian report he had been discovered in Ireland about to embark for America. He appears to have served the earlier part of his sentence at Edinburgh Jail, but by 1881 he had been transferred to Dartmoor.
David Clunas may well have emigrated to the United States following his release. The 1900 US Census lists a David Clunas born Scotland February 1833 working as a contractor and builder in Portland Oregon. However, according to the census record he had arrived in America in 1860 - perhaps a less than honest response for obvious reasons.
Clunas married twice. By his first marriage to Marjory Reid he had four daughters, Jane, born 10 April 1861, Margaret Mason, born 1 September 1863, Mary Ann, born 21 July 1865 and Marjory born 1 February 1868. By his second marriage to Agnes Grey Lightwood on 6 November 1873 he had one further daughter, Agnes, born 7 September 1874.
Clunas's date of death is not yet known.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|Newlands of Moynes, Auldearn, Nairnshire, Scotland||Private||1830s|| ||Living as a child here|
|6, Tarvet Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||1868 *|| || |
|11, Melbourne Place, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1868||1869|| |
|51, Hanover Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1870||1873|| |
|19, Gillespie Crescent, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||1872|| || |
|13, Frederick Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private/business||1874||1877|| |
|Edinburgh Prison, Carlton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland|| ||September 1877||1879||Assumed given location of sequestration meetings|
| Her Majesty’s Convict Prison, Princetown, Devonshire, England|| ||1881|| ||Otherwise Dartmoor Prison. As 1881 Census|
|Portland, Oregon, United States of America||Private/business||1900|| ||Probable location - Check required|
* 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):|
| ||Name||Date from||Date to||Position||Notes|
|Clunas & Sey||c. 1874||February 1876||Partner|| |
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Post Office Directories|| || || || || |
|RCAHMS||1992||Dundee on Record|| ||RCAHMS||View of 1-23 Court Street (1989) p43|
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Edinburgh Gazette||15 August 1876|| || ||p581 - dissolution of partnership|
|Edinburgh Gazette||8 June 1877|| || ||p433 - sequestration confirmed|
|Edinburgh Gazette||25 September 1877|| || ||p707 sequestration meeting|
|Edinburgh Gazette||22 August 1879|| || ||p874 Sequestration meeting|
|Manchester Guardian||15 January 1878|| || ||p5 An Edinburgh Architect Sentenced to Penal Servitude|
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|Professor David M Walker personal archive||Professor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material|| ||Letter from Charles Clunas 14 June 1996|