Basic Biographical Details

Name: Robert Black
Designation: Architect
Born: 1800
Died: 6 December 1869
Bio Notes: Robert Black was born at Shotts in 1800, the son of John Black, tailor and Janet Strathern. There is no record of his training but his early work, particularly the Bank in Stirling, is very close in style to the later work of David Hamilton. As he named his youngest son Hamilton just after that architect’s death, some association with him, whether as apprentice or assistant, can be inferred.

Black commenced practice in Glasgow in the late 1820s. In 1837 he would seem to have been involved in a speculative venture. An area of houses, warehouses, shops and building ground had been acquired through the 'London Street Lottery' by a group of individuals including Robert Black. These were offered for sale in that year. It is possible however that Black was simply acting as an agent for others.

By 1838 Black had become architect to the Union Bank. In 1843 he formed a partnership with James Salmon (born 1805), who had obtained an apprenticeship with John Brash and commenced practice in Glasgow, reputedly in a Trongate basement, c.1825.

Black lost his Union Bank position to William Railton of Kilmarnock in 1852, and his partnership with Salmon was dissolved in or about the following year. Thereafter Black entered a short-lived partnership with civil engineer Alexander George Thomson. In 1856 he advertised for a draughtsman so he must have continued to have sufficient work to employ one at this date.

Black remained in practice until his death from paralysis and bronchial problems on 6 December 1869 at 116 Sauchiehall Street which was both house and office. He was buried at Glasgow Necropolis, Omega lair 17. His wife Violet Woodrow had predeceased him on 24 February 1852, aged 40. They had six children, Violet, John who emigrated to Australia, Janet (usually known as Jessie), Robert who died aged 1 year, Robert (named after his deceased sibling) and Hamilton who died 9 November 1919. 'The Architect's Engineer's and Building Trades Directory' (1868) recorded him as having designed 'upwards of twenty churches', of which only six have been identified.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 102, Royal Exchange Court, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1839 *  
Item 2 of 102, Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1841 *  
Item 3 of 1015, West George Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18441845 
Item 4 of 101, Dundas Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1851 *  
Item 5 of 10146, Buchanan Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1853 *  
Item 6 of 10141, Moore Place, West George Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18531854In partnership with Alexander George Thomson
Item 7 of 1016, Grafton Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1856 *  
Item 8 of 1057, West Nile Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1860 *  
Item 9 of 10114, West Nile Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1862 *  
Item 10 of 10116, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate/business18651869 

* 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):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2Black & Salmon1843c. 1853Partner 
Item 2 of 2Robert Black and Alexander George Thomsonc. 1853(?)Before 1857Partner 

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 271830Royal Exchange Square, south side  GlasgowScotlandBuilt in association with Archibald Elliot II
Item 2 of 27c. 183073-87 Queen Street and South Exchange Court  GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 271831Mechanics Institution  GlasgowScotland 
Item 4 of 271833Dundee Court House and Bridewell  DundeeScotlandAwarded second prize
Item 5 of 271838Glasgow Necropolis, Monument to Dr John DickDennistoun GlasgowScotland 
Item 6 of 271838Union BankAlloa ClackmannanshireScotland 
Item 7 of 271838Union Bank Head Office  GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 271839Adelaide Place, Bath Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 9 of 271840sSpringfield Court, Queen Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 10 of 271840Longridge ChurchWhitburn West LothianScotland 
Item 11 of 27c. 1840Hafton HouseDunoon ArgyllScotlandAdditions including porte cochere
Item 12 of 271841Union BankMoffat DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 13 of 271844Ardrossan Parish ChurchArdrossan AyrshireScotland 
Item 14 of 271844Irvine Free ChurchIrvine AyrshireScotland 
Item 15 of 271846Union BankStirling StirlingshireScotland 
Item 16 of 271848Free St Mark's ChurchAnderston GlasgowScotland 
Item 17 of 27c. 1848Magdalen Institution and Boys' House of Refuge  GlasgowScotlandBuilding of Magdalen Institution and additions to Boys' House of Refuge
Item 18 of 271849Free St Matthew's Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 19 of 271849Warehouse, Miller Street  GlasgowScotlandRebuilding after fire
Item 20 of 271850Catholic Apostolic Church  GlasgowScotlandWorked from Pugin's sketch designs
Item 21 of 27c. 1850Union BankPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandProbably designed original building
Item 22 of 271852BarracksGovan GlasgowScotlandConverted to poorhouse
Item 23 of 271853British Linen Bank Head Office  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 24 of 271853Union Bank  GlasgowScotlandNew telling room (John Thomas was the sculptor) - unclear whether finished by Black or by Salmon after dissolution of partnership
Item 25 of 27c. 1853British Linen BankGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 26 of 27Before 1856Houses 14-16 Grafton Street  GlasgowScotlandMay have been responsible for this perhaps as a spculation - he intially treid to lease his own house at number 16 and then tried in 1859 to sell it and the adjacent property.

No 16 : 'elegant house of seven rooms and kitchen with larder, water closet, cold shower and hot baths with washing house and green'.
Item 27 of 271863Scotia Music Hall, tenement and shops  GlasgowScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 5APSD The Dictionary of Architectureed Wyatt PapworthThe Architectural Publication Society (8v 1852-1892) 
Item 2 of 5Architects Engineers and Building Trades Directory1868Architect's, Engineer's and Building Trades' Directory London, Wyman 
Item 3 of 5Colvin, H M1995A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-18403rd editionNew Haven and London: Yale University Press 
Item 4 of 5Gildard, Thomas1895An Old Glasgow Architect on some Older OnesXXVIProceedings of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow 
Item 5 of 5Pagan, J1847Sketch of the History of Glasgow  p186

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Glasgow Herald28 January 1856   
Item 2 of 2London Standard22 November 1837   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Bank of Scotland ArchivesUnion Bank Board Minutes  
Item 2 of 2David CainInformation per Fiona Sinclair courtesy of David Cain, great-grandson of the second Robert