Basic Biographical Details

Name: Brown & Watt
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1891
Ended: 1928 or 1929
Bio Notes: Alexander Brown was born in Aberdeen in 1853, the son of a shoemaker and became a Burgess of Trade at the age of twenty in September 1873. It is not clear to whom he was articled, if indeed to anyone, but by Christmas Eve 1880, the date of his marriage, he was described as an 'architectural surveyor' with Matthews & Mackenzie. Shortly thereafter, Brown set up practice on his own account at 7 Belmont Street. Thomas Watson and others who remembered him described him as more chartered surveyor, quantity surveyor and valuer than architect, and his early practice consisted solely of housing of a mundane kind.

Nevertheless Brown had ambitions for his practice. In 1887 he took as assistant George Watt. George Watt was born in 1865, the son of William Watt, senior partner in the firm of G Fordyce & Co, Builders, Aberdeen. He was articled in 1879 to Matthews & Mackenzie where he worked alongside Brown. He remained with them for a year as an assistant before obtaining a place in the office of Campbell Douglas & Sellars in 1885-87, where he worked closely with Sellars and Keppie and absorbed their style. He returned to Aberdeen in 1887 as assistant to Alexander Brown with a view to taking Brown's firm more upmarket. Early in his career he was entrusted with additions and alterations at Crathes and in 1889 he won the local competition for Aberdeen Public Library with a Sellars-inspired design, Matthews and Mackenzie coming second and Pirie & Clyne third, his contribution being recognised with a partnership in 1891.

By 1893 Brown was sufficiently confident of the future of the practice to build himself a sizable villa at 10 Fountainhall Road, the practice having already moved to more prestigious premises at 17 Union Terrace. Watt was responsible for nearly all the design work thereafter. His style remained strongly influenced by that of Sellars, most notably at the spire of his Beechgrove Church which was modelled on Sellars' unbuilt scheme for Anderston Church in Glasgow.

Although very much the business partner of the practice Brown's name appears among those who petitioned against the destruction of Greyfriars Church in 1896 and in 1897-98 was one of the founders of Aberdeen Society of Architects. He died of a seizure in a tramcar when returning to his home at 101 Fountainhall Road for lunch on 22 April 1925, by which date the practice appears to have been at a low ebb in terms of actual building. He left the substantial moveable estate of £8,561 13s 7d and was survived by his ailing widow, his son Dr A Middleton Brown (d.1959) of Hereford and two daughters, Margaret who worked in the University Library and Emily, a teacher in Elgin who made a late marriage to the Rev Angus Mackay of Whalsay in 1928 but died in the following year.

Brown never sought membership of the RIBA but Watt was admitted FRIBA on 4 March 1907, his proposers being Robert Gordon Wilson, Arthur Hay Livingstone Mackinnon and Arthur Clyne. Watt retired in or about 1928: he died suddenly on 18 December 1931 at Bieldside House, a single storey and basement late Georgian villa which he had remodelled for his own occupation in 1903.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 27, Belmont street, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusinessc. 1880  
Item 2 of 217, Union Terrace, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusiness1891After 1907 

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 8George Topham Forrest18901894Apprentice 
Item 2 of 8Alexander Brown189122 April 1925Partner 
Item 3 of 8George Watt18911928 or 1929Partner 
Item 4 of 8John StuartMay 1891May 1896Apprentice 
Item 5 of 8William Alexander Davidson1905May 1909Apprentice 
Item 6 of 8William Alexander DavidsonMay 1909February 1912Assistant 
Item 7 of 8William James Reithc. 1924c. 1927Apprentice 
Item 8 of 8[James] Fenton ('Tony') Wyness1924 or 19251925Assistant 

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 148 Aberdeen Ice Factory  AberdeenScotlandDate unknown
Item 2 of 148 SchoolRhynie AberdeenshireScotlandDate unknown
Item 3 of 148 School at DyceDyce AberdeenshireScotlandDate unknown
Item 4 of 1481891Central Public Library  AberdeenScotlandCompetition won by Alexander Brown and job completed in partnership
Item 5 of 1481891Springbank Cemetery Lodge  AberdeenScotland 
Item 6 of 1481891Three cottages, Holburn Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 7 of 1481892House, Poynernook  AberdeenScotland 
Item 8 of 1481892House, Queen's Road West  AberdeenScotland 
Item 9 of 1481892Old Machar PoorhouseOld Machar AberdeenScotlandHospital buildings
Item 10 of 1481892Store, Market Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 11 of 1481892Two cottages, Blanheim Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 12 of 1481893George Street Baptist ChurchGilcomston Park AberdeenScotland 
Item 13 of 1481893Holburn Free Church  AberdeenScotland 
Item 14 of 1481893House and shops, Huntly Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 15 of 1481893House, Fountainhall Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 16 of 1481893House, Menzies RoadTorry AberdeenScotland 
Item 17 of 1481893House, Mount Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 18 of 1481893House, Summer Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 19 of 1481893Shops and hall, Windmill Brae  AberdeenScotland 
Item 20 of 1481893Trinity Hall  AberdeenScotlandAddition
Item 21 of 1481893Two houses, Gladstone Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 22 of 1481893Two houses, Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 23 of 1481893Two houses, Mile End Avenue  AberdeenScotland 
Item 24 of 1481894Four houses, Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 25 of 1481894House and shop, Rose Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 26 of 1481894House, Beaconsfield Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 27 of 1481894House, Forest Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 28 of 1481894House, Hamilton Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 29 of 1481894House, Roslin Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 30 of 1481894House, Stanley Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 31 of 1481894Two houses, Clifton Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 32 of 1481894Two houses, Fonthill Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 33 of 1481894Two houses, Holburn Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 34 of 1481895Atholl Hotel  AberdeenScotlandAddition
Item 35 of 1481895Four houses, Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 36 of 1481895Peterculter ChurchPeterculter AberdeenshireScotlandCentral south projection and T-plan north aisle
Item 37 of 1481895Saltoun Arms Public House  AberdeenScotland 
Item 38 of 1481895Sandeman Public LibraryPerth PerthshireScotlandCompetition design - placed equal second
Item 39 of 1481895Two houses, Western Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 40 of 148c. 1895James Fleming Monument, Aberlour ChurchyardAberlour BanffshireScotland 
Item 41 of 148189633-35 Miller Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 42 of 1481896Aberlour Primary SchoolAberlour BanffshireScotland 
Item 43 of 1481896Beechwood House  AberdeenScotland 
Item 44 of 1481896Crathes CastleCrathes Aberdeenshire/KincardineshireScotlandLarge family wing added, gallery restored
Item 45 of 1481896Four cottages, Belvidere Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 46 of 1481896Four houses, Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 47 of 1481896Gilcomston Mills  AberdeenScotlandAdditions
Item 48 of 1481896House, Broomhill Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 49 of 1481896House, Rubislaw Den South  AberdeenScotland 
Item 50 of 1481896Hutcheon Street and Fraser Road corner  AberdeenScotland 
Item 51 of 1481896Primary SchoolCraigellachie BanffshireScotland 
Item 52 of 1481896Six houses, Rosebery Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 53 of 1481896Two cottages, Mile End Avenue  AberdeenScotland 
Item 54 of 148189733 Albyn Place  AberdeenScotlandAlterations
Item 55 of 1481897Beechgrove Free Church  AberdeenScotlandWon competition and secured job
Item 56 of 1481897Eight houses, Carlton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 57 of 1481897Great Northern Road School  AberdeenScotland 
Item 58 of 1481897Her Majesty's Theatre  AberdeenScotlandSupervised reconstruction of interior for Frank Matcham
Item 59 of 1481897House, Beechgrove Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 60 of 1481897House, Redgrove Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 61 of 1481897House, Rubislaw Den South  AberdeenScotland 
Item 62 of 1481897Houses and shops, Rosemount Viaduct  AberdeenScotland 
Item 63 of 1481897Kittybrewster Primary SchoolKittybrewster AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 64 of 1481897Kittybrewster Public School  AberdeenScotland 
Item 65 of 1481897Mercantile Marine Offices  AberdeenScotland 
Item 66 of 1481897Mission Hall for Belmont Street Congregational Church  AberdeenScotland 
Item 67 of 1481897Property, Chapel Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 68 of 1481897Property, Huntly Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 69 of 1481897Six houses, Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 70 of 1481897Two houses, Belvidere Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 71 of 1481897Two houses, Gray Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 72 of 1481898Aberdeen Steam Trawling Company  AberdeenScotland 
Item 73 of 1481898Five houses, Thomson Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 74 of 1481898Four houses, Seaforth Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 75 of 1481898Grantown Free ChurchGrantown-on-Spey MorayshireScotland 
Item 76 of 1481898HouseBridge of Balgonie FifeScotland 
Item 77 of 1481898House, Fraser Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 78 of 1481898SchoolRaemoir AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 79 of 1481898Six houses, Carlton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 80 of 1481898Three houses, King Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 81 of 1481898Two houses with shops, Belvidere Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 82 of 1481898Two houses, Bedford Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 83 of 1481898Two houses, St Andrew Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 84 of 1481899Central Bakery  AberdeenScotland 
Item 85 of 1481899Drapery warehouse  AberdeenScotland 
Item 86 of 1481899House and shop, Skene Square  AberdeenScotland 
Item 87 of 1481900Four houses, Forest Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 88 of 1481900Ingleside, Rubislaw Den South  AberdeenScotland 
Item 89 of 1481900Lewis Shaw's premises, Forest Avenue  AberdeenScotland 
Item 90 of 1481900Northern Co-operative Buldings  AberdeenScotland 
Item 91 of 1481900Oldmill Poorhouse  AberdeenScotland 
Item 92 of 1481900Ruthrieston UF Church  AberdeenScotland 
Item 93 of 1481900Villa, 66 Forest Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 94 of 1481900Villa, Rubislaw Den South  AberdeenScotland 
Item 95 of 1481900Whinhill, Fonthill Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 96 of 148Before 1900GlenrinnesDufftown BanffshireScotlandHS attribution
Item 97 of 1481901Butchers Arms public house  AberdeenScotland 
Item 98 of 1481901Forsyth Hotel  AberdeenScotlandAlterations? New build?
Item 99 of 1481901Four houses, Bedford Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 100 of 1481901Kincardine County HospitalStonehaven KincardineshireScotlandWon competition to secure job.
Item 101 of 1481901Melville UF Church  AberdeenScotland 
Item 102 of 1481901Premises, King Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 103 of 1481901Public SchoolBalmedie AberdeenshireScotlandAdditions
Item 104 of 1481901Torphins UF ChurchTorphins AberdeenScotland 
Item 105 of 148c. 1901Bon Accord Bar  AberdeenScotland 
Item 106 of 1481902Branch LibraryTorry AberdeenScotland 
Item 107 of 1481902Central Public Library  AberdeenScotlandPlans for new wing and reading room drawn up
Item 108 of 1481902House, Bon Accord Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 109 of 1481902House, Braemar Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 110 of 1481902House, Fonthill Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 111 of 1481902House, Fonthill Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 112 of 1481902House, Fonthill Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 113 of 1481902House, Fonthill Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 114 of 1481902Premises for Great Grimsby Company  AberdeenScotland 
Item 115 of 1481902Two houses, Alburg Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 116 of 1481902Two houses, Cornhill Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 117 of 1481902Two houses, Richmondhill Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 118 of 1481903Five houses, Bedford Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 119 of 1481903Four houses, Hutcheon Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 120 of 1481903Grantown Grammar SchoolGrantown-on-Spey MorayshireScotlandAdditions and alterations
Item 121 of 1481903House and stables, Central Carriage Hiring Establishment  AberdeenScotland 
Item 122 of 1481903Parish ManseKirkton of Glenbuchat AberdeenshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 123 of 1481903Six houses, Forest Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 124 of 1481903Three houses, Albury Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 125 of 1481903Two houses, Albury Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 126 of 1481903Two houses, King Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 127 of 1481904His Majesty's Theatre  AberdeenScotlandSupervised construction for Frank Matcham
Item 128 of 1481904SchoolNew Deer AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 129 of 1481904Two houses, Abergeldie Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 130 of 1481904Two houses, Abergeldie Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 131 of 1481904Two houses, Fraser Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 132 of 1481905House and shops, George Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 133 of 1481905House, King Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 134 of 1481905Two houses, Holburn Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 135 of 1481906Nigg Parish Church HallNigg KincardineshireScotland 
Item 136 of 1481907Oldmill Poorhouse, Nurses' Home  AberdeenScotland 
Item 137 of 1481908Burnett Arms HotelBanchory KincardineshireScotlandWing to right added - perhaps by Brown & Watt
Item 138 of 1481909Aberdeen Provincial Committee Training College  AberdeenScotlandCompetition design
Item 139 of 1481909Her Majesty’s Theatre  AberdeenScotlandAlterations
Item 140 of 1481909North Eastern Ice Company, Commercial Road  AberdeenScotlandAlterations
Item 141 of 1481909Northern Co-operative Memorial Fountain  AberdeenScotland 
Item 142 of 1481909Premises 57-59 St Nicholas Street   AberdeenScotland 
Item 143 of 1481909Preserved Provisions Factory, North Esplanade  AberdeenScotland 
Item 144 of 1481909Scots Church  RawalpindiIndiaDesign made - execution suprvised by engineers of the Military Works Department
Item 145 of 1481913Craigellie HouseAlyth PerthshireScotlandRebuilding (modelled on Craigellie house, Aberdeenshire, by John Smith)
Item 146 of 1481924Ballyrashane War Memorial TowerColeraine DerryNorthern Ireland 
Item 147 of 1481924Villa, 84 Queen's Road  AberdeenScotlandRemodelling
Item 148 of 1481925Shop, Hardgate  AberdeenScotland 

References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Johnston, W T2003Artists of Scotland Officina Publications CDROM 

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSAlbum of newscuttings on the work of Alexander Brown of Brown and Watt  
Item 2 of 2National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSBrown and Watt Scrapbook