Basic Biographical Details

Name: Dunn & Watson
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1890
Ended: 1912
Bio Notes: William Dunn was born in 1859 and articled to Duncan McNaughtan, Glasgow, in 1876. Around 1881 he secured a place in the office of William Flockhart, followed by a spell with James Marjoribanks MacLaren and another with Thomas Chatfield Clark, and apparently passed the qualifying exam in 1886 although precise record is missing. He commenced independent practice in London in 1889. In his youth he was bandy-legged: as soon as he could afford it he had his legs surgically broken and straightened.

The partnership with Robert Watson had its origin in James Marjoribanks MacLaren's death in October 1890. Dunn had assisted MacLaren on a fee-paid basis, particularly during MacLaren's final illness, and MacLaren's brother-in-law Dugald Sutherland MacColl had to find financial provision for his widow and children. A meeting was arranged with Sir Donald Currie, MacLaren's most important client and a guarantee of his continuing support secured a partnership agreement that made provision for them. Initially the practice operated from 35 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London. By temperament Dunn was a mathematician and structural engineer rather than an architect, with a particular flair for design in concrete; the decorative aspects of the partnership's work fell more to Watson.

Watson was born in 1865 and was educated at the Edinburgh Institution. He was articled to Robert Paterson and Son in Edinburgh in October 1881. From there he progressed to the offices of Hippolyte Blanc (1884-February 1887) and Robert Rowand Anderson and then to James Marjoribanks MacLaren in London, passing the qualifying exam in 1887 and being admitted ARIBA on 11 June 1888, his proposers being Rowand Anderson, J J Stevenson and J McKean Brydon. Both partners were admitted FRIBA on 5 December 1904, by which date the practice had become extremely successful. Shortly after the partnership of was formed Archibald Campbell Dickie joined the firm as a senior assistant. Whilst there he also carried out independent work, aided by his own assistant, Alexander Symon, and he left around 1906 to form a partnership with Claude Kelly.

The practice became Dunn, Watson & Curtis Green in 1912 when the English architect William Curtis Green (born 1875) accepted Dunn's invitation to join the partnership.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 135, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, EnglandBusinessBefore 18951900 

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 14Walter William Bull18901891Apprentice 
Item 2 of 14William Dunn18901912Partner 
Item 3 of 14Robert Watson18901912Partner 
Item 4 of 14Edwin Alfred RickardsAfter 1890Before 1896Assistant 
Item 5 of 14(Sir) Robert Stodart Lorimer18911892Assistant 
Item 6 of 14Stanley Davenport Adshead1892 Assistant 
Item 7 of 14Henry Victor AshleyAfter 1892Before 1896Assistant 
Item 8 of 14Robin Smith Dods (or Robert Smith Dods)18941895Assistant 
Item 9 of 14Charles Black Gordon18951896Assistant 
Item 10 of 14Hamilton More Nisbett18961897Assistant 
Item 11 of 14Archibald Campbell Dickiec. 18981904Senior AssistantSenior Assistant/Partner
Item 12 of 14James Ewing MacLarenc. 1899(?)c. 1904(?)ApprenticeUncertain
Item 13 of 14James Straton Ferrier19051907 or 1908Assistant 
Item 14 of 14James Straton Ferrier1908 or 1909c. 1910Assistant 

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice 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 461890Presbyterian Church of St JamesDulwich LondonEnglandExecuted job
Item 2 of 46After 1890Ashfold  SurreyEnglandRestoration/additions
Item 3 of 46After 1890Barnwell Castle  NorthamptonshireEnglandRestoration/additions
Item 4 of 46After 1890Cokethorpe  OxfordshireEnglandRestoration/additions
Item 5 of 46After 1890Flore House  NorthamptonshireEnglandRestorations and/or additions
Item 6 of 46After 1890Pitsford Hall  NorthamptonshireEnglandConversion to school
Item 7 of 46After 1890Shottesbrooke  BerkshireEnglandRepairs and alterations
Item 8 of 46After 1890Waddington Old Hall  LancashireEnglandRepairs and alterations
Item 9 of 461891Glenlyon HouseFortingall PerthshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 10 of 461891Offices for Sir Donald Currie  LondonEngland 
Item 11 of 461891Offices, Lombard Street  LondonEnglandNew board room (and other work?)
Item 12 of 461891Shipping offices for Sir Donald Currie  LondonEnglandDesign exhibited under joint names of MacLaren, Dunn & Watson
Item 13 of 461892Fortingall HotelFortingall PerthshireScotlandFrom sketch scheme by MacLaren?
Item 14 of 46After 1892Garth HouseGlenlyon PerthshireScotlandCompleted the MacLaren work
Item 15 of 461895Edinburgh Life Assurance Company Building  EdinburghScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 16 of 461896Water tower  AradRomania 
Item 17 of 46c. 1896Mount Nelson Hotel  Cape TownSouth Africa 
Item 18 of 461898Keltney Burn BridgeFortingall/Aberfeldy PerthshireScotland 
Item 19 of 46Before 1899St John's InstituteWalworth LondonEngland 
Item 20 of 461900Fortingall Parish ChurchFortingall PerthshireScotlandRebuilding, incorporating belfry of previous church
Item 21 of 46c. 1900ArdtrasgartFortingall PerthshireScotland 
Item 22 of 461905Scottish Provident Institution  LondonEngland 
Item 23 of 461908Dunkeld CathedralDunkeld PerthshireScotlandRefurnishing
Item 24 of 461909Aberfeldy Cottage HospitalAberfeldy PerthshireScotlandDrawings dated
Item 25 of 461909Lilford Hall  NorthamptonshireEnglandRepairs and alterations: heightening and extensions of the north wings
Item 26 of 461910Edinburgh Life Assurance Office  LondonEngland 
Item 27 of 461912Glenlyon HouseFortingall PerthshireScotlandLaundry and garages (plans for additions to stables dated 1912)
Item 28 of 46Before 1912Abechurch  London?EnglandAltars, pulpits, screens, organs etc
Item 29 of 46Before 1912Blocks of flatsChelsea LondonEngland 
Item 30 of 46Before 1912Farm buildings     
Item 31 of 46Before 1912GoldhillFarnham SurreyEngland 
Item 32 of 46Before 1912Hazelbech  NorthamptonshireEngland 
Item 33 of 46Before 1912HouseOverstrand NorfolkEngland 
Item 34 of 46Before 1912House at HaileyburyHaileybury Hertfordshire?England 
Item 35 of 46Before 1912KildowieMaidenhead BerkshireEngland 
Item 36 of 46Before 1912Marconi Company's factory and officesChelmsford EssexEngland 
Item 37 of 46Before 1912(?)Office block  DurbanSouth AfricaDate unknown, and therefore unclear whether in the partnership of Dunn & Watson or of Dunn, Watson & Curtis Green
Item 38 of 46Before 1912Office block  East LondonSouth Africa 
Item 39 of 46Before 1912Office block  Cape TownSouth Africa 
Item 40 of 46Before 1912OldhouseFulmer BuckinghamshireEngland 
Item 41 of 46Before 1912Scottish Widows Office  BristolEngland 
Item 42 of 46Before 1912Scottish Widows Office  LondonEngland 
Item 43 of 46Before 1912Ship interiors (saloons) for Union Castle Line ships     
Item 44 of 46Before 1912Shottesbrooke ChurchShottesbrooke BerkshireEngland 
Item 45 of 46Before 1912Union of London and Smiths BanksHull YorkshireEngland 
Item 46 of 46Before 1912Union of London and Smiths BanksBarnsley YorkshireEngland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 4Borland, Maureen D S MacColl: Painter, Poet, Art Critic Harpenden: Lennard Publishing 
Item 2 of 4Calder, Alan2003James MacLaren: Arts and Crafts Pioneer Donington: Shaun Tyas 
Item 3 of 4Calder, Alan2008Dunn & Watson : the Scottish Commissions6James M MacLaren Society Journal 
Item 4 of 4Gray, A Stuart1985Edwardian Architecture: A Biographical Dictionary   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder1 April 1916  Obituary of Green
Item 2 of 4RIBA Journal19 February 1916v23London: Royal Institute of British Architectspp142-3 - obituary of Robert Watson by William Dunn
Item 3 of 4RIBA Journal24 February 1934v41London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp418 - obituary of William Dunn by William Curtis Green
Item 4 of 4RIBA Journal10 March 1934v41London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp475 - obituaries of Dunn by D S MacColl and P J Waldram