© All rights reserved. Building News 11 July 1890 

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Basic Biographical Details

Name: Thomas Saunders Robertson
Designation: Architect
Born: 1835
Died: 2 March 1923
Bio Notes: Thomas Saunders Robertson was born in 1835 at Blairgowrie and educated at Perth Academy. He was articled to Charles Edward c.1851. Around 1857 he joined J Anderson Hamilton who had acquired what was left of Playfair's practice in Edinburgh and thereafter probably worked for a time in England, returning to become Edward's partner He practised in Dundee in partnership with Thomas Saunders Robertson from at least April 1859 when Edward & Robertson advertised for contractors for Rathillet UP Church. He was a member of the Fine Art Committee of the British Association meeting of 1867. He was also a keen angler, curler and golfer. In the 1870s Robertson was co-owner with the solicitor J P Kyd of four houses in Grove Road, Broughty Ferry, which were presumably acquired as an investment.

Either in 1867 or possibly earlier the Dundee industrialist and art collector G B Simpson introduced Robertson to the painter William McTaggart. They became close friends, frequently going sketching together, particularly at Carnoustie in the spring and autumn, and McTaggart’s teaching greatly improved Robertson’s skills as a watercolourist. In 1872 McTaggart painted a portrait of Robertson’s daughter Nellie, exhibited at the RSA in 1873, which was in the possession of Mrg Agnew in Walsall in 1917. After McTaggart’s death Robertson wrote reminiscences of their friendship which were published in the Dundee Courier and Glasgow Herald and have been drawn upon by subsequent writers. Robertson was also closely associated with another of McTaggart’s main patrons, the art collector, mill owner and ironfounder, James Guthrie Orchar, who appointed him as one of the Trustees of his will and specified him as the architect of a new Established Church and a gallery to house his pictures on the expiry of Mrs Orchar’s life rent of his estate, both in Broughty Ferry. In the event Mrs Orchar lived on until 1916, and the Trustees could afford to build neither of these.

Like Edward before him, Robertson lived in considerable style in West Ferry, first at Riverview and later at Balmyle: but by the early years of the twentieth century Robertson had little architectural employment and had become mainly a water-colourist. He retired in September 1904, and diminishing income eventually compelled him to live in a more modest fashion at Willowbank, Camphill Road, where he died on 2 March 1923. He wrote 'Progress of Art in English Church Architecture', numerous newspaper articles, and assisted MacGibbon and Ross with their books.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 4Riverview, West Ferry, Dundee, ScotlandPrivate   
Item 2 of 4Balmyle, West Ferry, Dundee, ScotlandPrivate   
Item 3 of 4Willowbank, Camphill Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, ScotlandPrivate 1923 
Item 4 of 431, Reform Street, Dundee, ScotlandBusinessc. 1861  

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 2Charles Edward1851c. 1857Apprentice 
Item 2 of 2Edward & Robertsonc. 18611890Partner 

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 3David Thomson18941898Apprentice 
Item 2 of 3David Thomson18981900Assistant 
Item 3 of 3Alexander Allan Foote28 March 1902September 1904Apprentice 

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 821858Perth District AsylumMurthly PerthshireScotland 
Item 2 of 821859UP ChurchRathillet FifeScotland 
Item 3 of 821862TaycliffWest Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 4 of 82c. 1863Rossie ChurchInchture DundeeScotland 
Item 5 of 821865Rossie PrioryInchture PerthshireScotlandReconstruction of riding school as chapel with arcade and apse
Item 6 of 82c. 1865Abernyte Free ChurchAbernyte AngusScotlandAlterations?
Item 7 of 821866Bank of Scotland  DundeeScotlandUnexecuted scheme for alterations
Item 8 of 821866Carbet CastleBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandReconstruction and additions - probably the west wing
Item 9 of 821866House for D W BowmanBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandAlterations
Item 10 of 821867Catholic Apostolic Church  DundeeScotland 
Item 11 of 821867Drill Hall  DundeeScotland 
Item 12 of 821867Kirkton of Tealing Parish ChurchKirkton of Tealing AngusScotlandScrymsoure Fothringham memorial slab
Item 13 of 821868Ayrshire Lunatic AsylumAyr AyrshireScotlandReceived commision
Item 14 of 821868Office, 135 Seagate  DundeeScotland 
Item 15 of 821869Deaf and Dumb InstituteLogie Den DundeeScotland 
Item 16 of 821869Offices and Warehouse, Ward Road, Constitution Road and Nicoll Street  DundeeScotland 
Item 17 of 821869Tenement, Scouringburn and Walton Street  DundeeScotland 
Item 18 of 821870Hermon LodgeWest Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 19 of 82c. 1870Abernyte Parish ChurchAbernyte AngusScotlandReconstruction and enlargement
Item 20 of 821871Bank of Scotland  DundeeScotlandUnexecuted scheme for alterations
Item 21 of 821871Church of SS Peter and PaulFelixstowe SuffolkEngland 
Item 22 of 821871RC School at LocheeLochee DundeeScotland 
Item 23 of 821871Rosebank Church  DundeeScotland 
Item 24 of 821871St Stephen's ChurchWest Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 25 of 821872Craigie Works  DundeeScotland 
Item 26 of 821872Dura Street Mission School and churchStobswell DundeeScotland 
Item 27 of 821872HazelwoodWest Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 28 of 821872St Enoch's Free Church  DundeeScotlandChurch. Two shops flanking the forecourt of the church are still extant
Item 29 of 821872Warehouse for Charles Baxter  DundeeScotland 
Item 30 of 821872Warehouse for J Edward, Small's Wynd  DundeeScotland 
Item 31 of 821872Warehouses for David Martin  DundeeScotland 
Item 32 of 821873Gray's Rooms  DundeeScotlandRemodelled
Item 33 of 821873St Rule's ChurchMonifieth AngusScotlandPorch, vestry and new seating
Item 34 of 821873Victoria Street UP Church  DundeeScotland 
Item 35 of 82c. 1873Angus LodgeWest Ferry DundeeScotlandAlmost certainly Robertson (DMW).
Item 36 of 821874Carbet CastleBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandFurther work and lodge
Item 37 of 821874Dundee Royal Lunatic AsylumLiff AngusScotlandMain hospital wards block,gatelodge, superintendent's house etc
Item 38 of 821874Marrbank  DundeeScotlandAlterations
Item 39 of 821874St Andrew's Church  Dundee Y-tracery inserted into semi-circular window on main elevation and new pulpit
Item 40 of 82c. 1874TaychregganWest Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 41 of 821875Dundee Royal Lunatic Asylum and feuing of groundsStobswell DundeeScotlandFeuing of grounds for tenement development
Item 42 of 821875Wellburn Convent of the Little Sisters of the PoorLochee DundeeScotlandChapel addition
Item 43 of 82c. 1875BalmyleWest Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 44 of 82c. 1875SummerbankWest Ferry DundeeScotlandIncluding stableblock
Item 45 of 82c. 1875TaysideWest Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 46 of 821876Dura Street Mission School and churchStobswell DundeeScotlandLarge church added
Item 47 of 821876Leslie Parish SchoolLeslie FifeScotlandAdditions
Item 48 of 821876Tenement for William MacDonald, Cotton Road  DundeeScotland 
Item 49 of 821877Office for W E Baxter, Baltic Street  DundeeScotland 
Item 50 of 821877Offices for Grimond, King Street  DundeeScotlandRefacing
Item 51 of 821877St Margaret's ChurchArbroath AngusScotland 
Item 52 of 821878LinfieldWest Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 53 of 82Before 1878RiverviewWest Ferry DundeeScotlandAdditions
Item 54 of 82c. 1880Balruddery House  AngusScotlandLarge additions, conservatory, east lodge and west coach house/steading
Item 55 of 82c. 1880Church at Alexandria  AlexandriaEgypt 
Item 56 of 821882St Enoch's Free Church  DundeeScotlandAdditions
Item 57 of 821882St Rule's Parish Church hallMonifieth AngusScotland 
Item 58 of 82After 1883Pinpointie FarmhouseAuchterhouse AngusScotlandHS attribution
Item 59 of 8218841 Douglas TerraceBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandAlterations and new stableblock
Item 60 of 82After 1884Wormit estate, feuing plan and villasWormit FifeScotland 
Item 61 of 821885Auchmithie Parish ChurchAuchmithie AngusScotland 
Item 62 of 821887Buildings, Gray Street for SkinnerBroughty Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 63 of 821887Orchar Park with Jubilee Arch and FountainBarnhill DundeeScotland 
Item 64 of 821888HillsideBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandAlterations
Item 65 of 82c. 1888University of Dundee, scheme with tower for uniting frontage  DundeeScotland 
Item 66 of 821889Beach MissionBroughty Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 67 of 821889Fowlis Easter Parish Church and Monument to Lord GrayFowlis AngusScotlandRestoration, including new roof and bellcote
Item 68 of 821891Dalhousie Golf ClubCarnoustie AngusScotland 
Item 69 of 821891New Established Church, Broughty FerryBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandDesigned in conjunction with James Guthrie Orchar
Item 70 of 821891Orchar GalleryBarnhill DundeeScotlandSketch design in conjunction with J G Orchar; referred to in his will
Item 71 of 821892Lundie Parish ChurchLundie AngusScotlandRepair including conversion of mausoleum to vestry
Item 72 of 821894St Stephen's Church hallBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandOriginal hall
Item 73 of 821894Tenement, Seagate  DundeeScotland 
Item 74 of 821896Beach MissionBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandAdjoining fishermen's reading room - attribution uncertain
Item 75 of 821898Dundee Royal Lunatic AsylumLiff AngusScotlandNew private asylum and new sick wards (building dated 1900)
Item 76 of 821898Dundee Royal Lunatic Asylum, Gowrie HouseLiff DundeeScotland 
Item 77 of 82After 1898Balgavies  AngusScotland 
Item 78 of 821899BurnbankBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandEast wing
Item 79 of 821899Drill Hall  DundeeScotlandWest Bell Street alterations
Item 80 of 821899Semi-detached Villas, Balmyle RoadBroughty Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 81 of 821902(?)Forgandenny Parish ChurchForgandenny PerthshireScotlandRestoration, including gate of churchyard
Item 82 of 821903St Margaret's ChurchArbroath AngusScotlandPinnacled battlement added to tower


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 4Architects Engineers and Building Trades Directory1868Architect's, Engineer's and Building Trades' Directory London, Wyman 
Item 2 of 4Caw, Sir James L1917William McTaggart Glasgow 
Item 3 of 4Errington, Lindsay1989William McTaggart 1935-1910 Edinburgh, National Gallery 
Item 4 of 4Kaverne, Per2007Singing Songs of the Scottish Heart 1835-1910 Edinburgh 

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 4Courtesy of David WeekesInformation via 'Contact Us' on website Sent August 2012
Item 2 of 4Dundee Central LibraryThomas Saunders Robertson's Cutting Books  
Item 3 of 4Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Information from Edmund Raphael-Beldowski via Iain Flett (1876-77 valuation roll)
Item 4 of 4RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers ARIBA papers of Alexander Allan Foote (A v24 no2788 (microfilm reel 23)) state that Robertson retired in September 1904


© All rights reserved. Building News 11 July 1890 

© All rights reserved. Building News 11 July 1890