Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||William Davidson |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||7 September 1875 |
|Died: ||27 May 1934 |
|Bio Notes: ||William Davidson was born 7 September 1875 in Edinburgh and was initially trained as a surveyor. He was then articled to Thomas Purves Marwick and remained as assistant, moving to Hippolyte Jean Blanc's for one-and-a-half years, then to James Anderson Williamson's for two years, and thereafter spending unspecified periods with James Archibald Morris in Ayr, and J N Scott & A Lorne Campbell and Archibald Macpherson in Edinburgh. He was educated at Heriot-Watt College, the School of Applied Art of the Royal Institution, Edinburgh,studying under Campbell Mitchell and Robert Burns and at Edinburgh School of Art. |
From 1901 onwards he made numerous architectural tours of English abbeys, cathedrals and churches, particularly those of Norfolk and Suffolk, of which he would form a specialist knowledge which was later put to good use in a number of ecclesiastical restoration projects in the area. He made an exhaustive study of East Anglican rood screen paintings at this time. His first trip abroad was to northern Italy in 1903, and the following year he won the £100 RIBA Owen Jones travelling studentship which allowed him to spend six months touring Belgium (Brussels and Antwerp) and Italy (Pompeii, Naples, Rome, Ravenna, Venice, Verona, Milan, Florence, Genoa etc.).
He commenced independent practice in 1907, becoming the head of Edinburgh College of Art Evening Architectural School from 1908. In that year he submitted a design for the Scottish National Exhibition jointly with Bailey Scott Murphy. The following year, in collaboration with Ebenezer James MacRae who had been a fellow draughtsman in Macpherson's office, he exhibited designs for the furnishing and restoration of two Norfolk churches at the Royal Scottish Academy. Further collaborative designs were exhibited in 1911 and 1919, but the association between Davidson and MacRae appears to have been a loose one, as there is no evidence of a formal partnership having existed and MacRae was employed in the City Architect's Office throughout the period concerned.
Davidson was admitted LRIBA on 6 June 1910, his proposers being Marwick, Blanc and Robert Stodart Lorimer; and was elected FRIBA on 14 June 1926, proposed by John Begg, Marwick and James Alexander Arnott. After World War I he was in J S Richardon's office at 4 Melville Street but had a spearate practice from 1921-28. In the latter year he formed an association with Matthew Montgomerie Ochterlony, who subsequently formed a partnership with Harold Ogle Tarbolton.
Most of Davidson's work seems to have consisted of church furnishings and memorials and much of it was in England. His FRIBA nomination papers also state that he carried out 'domestic work in Edinburgh & district' and 'School work etc. in Argyllshire', although no further details of such projects are currently known.
Davidson also exhibited as a painter at the RA and RSA, wrote articles for London architectural journals on ecclesiastical architecture and decoration, and assisted Francis Bond, Lewis F Day and 'Mr Ward' (possibly William Henry Ward) with the preparation of books on architecture, decoration and applied art. He lectured to learned societies in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Norwich and elsewhere on architecture and decorative art.
He died at the Western General Hospital on 27 May 1934 after a long illness.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|131, Gilmore Place, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private/business(?)||1904 *|| || |
|79, Marchmont Road, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||1910 *|| || |
|54, Queen Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||c. 1910||c. 1912|| |
|21, Viewforth Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||1913||c. 1914|| |
|Tower House, Liberton, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private/business||1919|| ||From 1919 iand in the 1920s|
|4, Melville Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||Before 1920 *||After 1926||In J S Richardson's office, but separate practice 1921-27|
|East House, Liberton, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||1926 *|| || |
|2, Coates Crescent, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||c. 1928||After 1932|| |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Post Office Directories|| || || || || |
|Who's Who in Architecture||1914|| || || || |
|Who's Who in Architecture||1926|| || || || |
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|British Architect||22 January 1904|| || ||pp60-61|
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|British Architectural Library, RIBA||RIBA Biographical Files|| || |
|Courtesy of Neil Darlington||Information sent via DSA website|| ||Sent August 2009|
|RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert Museum||RIBA Nomination Papers|| ||L v1 no21, F no2395|