Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Alexander
Designation: Architect
Born: 1841
Died: 11 May 1904
Bio Notes: William Alexander was born in Dundee in 1841, the son of Charles Alexander (d. 6 September 1884), proprietor of the 'Dundee Courier'. He was articled to James and William MacLaren and subsequently spent some time in Edinburgh. He set up in business in Dundee c.1865. Following the death of William Scott, he was appointed Town's Architect by 15 votes to 10 against James MacLaren (see newspaper reports for 29 May 1872) at a salary of £40 p.a. (later £100) plus the usual commission for any work done. Evidence of his prosperity in the 1870s is found in the fact that he owned land in Grove Road, Broughty Ferry, probably acquired as an investment. He succeeded also to the post of Dundee Parish Council's architect (including Liff and Benvie from November 1878) on the retirement of Charles Ower Senior. In the late 1880s he was involved with the layout of the Edenbank Estate, Dundee.

In his earlier years Alexander worked chiefly in an Italian Renaissance manner close to that of MacLaren and MacLaren's master Bryce. It is not always easy to distinguish his early work from MacLaren's. Alexander's work after 1890 was mostly designed by his draughtsmen. In 1897 he suffered some criticism from a group of councillors who objected to him charging fees for work done although his salary was still only £40 a year and intended only to cover attending Council and Committee meetings and supervising maintenance on the buildings within his care.

In his later years he was described as 'a big heavy man and latterly somewhat lame'.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 26, High Street, Dundee, ScotlandBusinessc. 1865c. 1872 
Item 2 of 236, North Lindsay Street, Dundee, ScotlandBusiness1874  

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 2J & W Maclarenc. 1856(?)c. 1861(?)Apprentice 
Item 2 of 2Dundee City Architect's Department1872Before 1904Chief Architect 

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 6Robert Sibbald  Assistant 
Item 2 of 6James Guthrie Henderson18791883ApprenticeWilliam Alexander as Dundee Town Architect
Item 3 of 6James Guthrie Henderson18831884Junior AssistantWilliam Alexander as Dundee Town Architect
Item 4 of 6David Thomson19001904Assistant 
Item 5 of 6James Mollison Wilson1903 Apprentice 
Item 6 of 6Joseph JohnstonBefore 1904Before 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 471863West Poorhouse  DundeeScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 2 of 471867Forebank Terrace  DundeeScotland 
Item 3 of 471867Houses  DundeeScotland 
Item 4 of 471867Houses  DundeeScotland 
Item 5 of 471867Houses, Paton's Lane  DundeeScotland 
Item 6 of 471869St John's Sessional Schools  DundeeScotlandAdditions
Item 7 of 471870Houses  DundeeScotland 
Item 8 of 471870Houses  DundeeScotland 
Item 9 of 471870Tenements, Dudhope Street and Constitution Road, Rustic Place  DundeeScotlandFirst blocks
Item 10 of 471870Tenements, Garland Place  DundeeScotlandGifford gives the date as 1867
Item 11 of 471871Commercial buildings and printing offices  DundeeScotland 
Item 12 of 471871Cottage  DundeeScotland 
Item 13 of 471871Tenements, 6-10 Barrack Road  DundeeScotland 
Item 14 of 471871Tenements, with offices for Dundee Courier & Argus at ground floor to right and shops to left  DundeeScotland 
Item 15 of 471872Bismarck Villa  DundeeScotland 
Item 16 of 471872Salem Chapel  DundeeScotland 
Item 17 of 471874Building  DundeeScotland 
Item 18 of 471874Old Infirmary  DundeeScotlandPlans for alterations to lodging house - perhaps not executed?
Item 19 of 471874Victoria Chambers  DundeeScotland 
Item 20 of 471875Tenements, Dudhope Street and Constitution Road, Rustic Place  DundeeScotlandLater blocks
Item 21 of 471876Building  DundeeScotland 
Item 22 of 471876Premises  DundeeScotland 
Item 23 of 471877Lindsay and Low's warehouse  DundeeScotland 
Item 24 of 471878Tenements  DundeeScotland 
Item 25 of 471880East Poorhouse and Maryfield HospitalStobswell DundeeScotlandWorkshops and Governor's House added
Item 26 of 471880Hospital Fund offices  DundeeScotlandAlterations
Item 27 of 471881Park Brewery  DundeeScotlandBuilt in conjunction with Messrs Thomson of Edinburgh
Item 28 of 471882Villa, Panmure Terrace  DundeeScotland 
Item 29 of 4718836-8 Reform Street  DundeeScotlandAlterations for Thomas Russell
Item 30 of 471885Her (His) Majesty's Theatre  DundeeScotlandTook over Robert Keith's design
Item 31 of 47c. 1885Imperial Buildings  DundeeScotland 
Item 32 of 47c. 1885Lindsay and Low's buildings  DundeeScotland 
Item 33 of 471887Albert Institute  DundeeScotlandDesigned Victoria Jubilee Galleries
Item 34 of 471890East Poorhouse and Maryfield HospitalStobswell DundeeScotlandLarge hospital block added
Item 35 of 471892Montrose InfirmaryMontrose AngusScotlandAdditions
Item 36 of 471892Municipal Offices  DundeeScotlandFaçade to Mackison's design
Item 37 of 471893Central Electricity Station  DundeeScotland 
Item 38 of 471896Smith Brothers building  DundeeScotlandExtension
Item 39 of 471896Town's Churches, St Mary's Church and church hall  DundeeScotlandHall added
Item 40 of 471899Perth TheatrePerth PerthshireScotland 
Item 41 of 471900Dundee Parish Council Offices  DundeeScotland 
Item 42 of 471900Sidlaw SanatoriumAuchterhouse DundeeScotland 
Item 43 of 47After 1900Victoria Hall  DundeeScotlandReconstruction to form Gaiety Theatre of Varieties
Item 44 of 47c. 1900Dundee Tramway Depot and sheds  DundeeScotland 
Item 45 of 47c. 1900East Poorhouse and Maryfield HospitalStobswell DundeeScotlandNew wards
Item 46 of 471903Arthurstone Public Library  DundeeScotland 
Item 47 of 471903Variety Theatre  DundeeScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2Pearson, Lynn1999British Breweries   
Item 2 of 2Peter, Bruce1999Scotland's Splendid Theatres: Architecture and Social History from the Reformation to the Present Day Edinburgh: Polygon (an imprint of Edinburgh University Press Ltd) 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2British Architect20 May 1904  p380
Item 2 of 2Builder4 June 1904  Obituary p613

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 4Courtesy of Neil DarlingtonInformation sent via DSA website Additional information sent August 2009
Item 2 of 4Dundee Central LibraryDundee Photographic Survey  
Item 3 of 4Dundee Planning Department/NMRSDundee Approved Duplicate Plans (Originals in NMRS for dates 1867-1883; otherwise on microfilm)  
Item 4 of 4Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Personal information from his apprentices Joseph Johnston and Harry Band. Also information from Edmund Raphael-Beldowski via Iain Flett