Basic Biographical Details

Name: Denny & Blain
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1912
Ended: 1944
Bio Notes: Alexander Cochran Denny was born c.1876, the son of Alexander Denny, writer of Dumbarton, who came of the prominent shipbuilding family of William Denny & Bros there, and his wife Marion Chalmers Mitchell. He was articled to John McLean Crawford of Dumbarton in April 1893. At the end of his apprenticeship in March 1899 he sought experience in Glasgow with Peter Macgregor Chalmers and in November of the same year moved to the office of Hippolyte Jean Blanc in Edinburgh. At some point during these early years he studied at the Glasgow & West of Scotland Technical College, although he never sat the exams. In June 1900 he returned to Dumbarton as Crawford's partner, Crawford by that time having also opened up an office in Glasgow. The partnership was dissolved in June 1903 when Crawford gave up the Dumbarton office, working thereafter in Glasgow whilst Denny continued the Dumbarton practice independently. Denny was elected ARIBA on 4 March 1907, his proposers being Crawford, Blanc and John James Burnet.

In 1912 Denny took William John Blain into partnership. Blain had been disappointed in his hope that he might become partner in charge of John James Burnet's Glasgow office, which must have made for a difficult relationship with Norman Aitken Dick who had assumed that position in the office in 1909. Blain had been born in 1870 and articled to John Murdoch of Ayr from 1885, completing his apprenticeship with John Hutchison of Glasgow from 1889 to 1890 and remaining with the latter as assistant. In 1892, Blain joined Burnet's office where he became a legendary figure, first as one of Burnet's leading draughtsmen and then as chief assistant. He was effectively in charge of the office from 1905. Blain was admitted LRIBA in the mass intake of 20 July 1911 in preparation for entering independent practice.

Initially the practice of Denny & Blain had two offices, one at 209 St Vincent Street, quite near that of John Burnet and Sons with Blain in charge and another at 17 High Street Dumbarton where Denny was in charge, but in 1915 the practice was concentrated at 144 St Vincent Street. It was in that year that Robert Blain, presumably William's son, entered the practice as an apprentice, having initially been articled to Watson & Salmond.

In 1920 Robert Mackison McNaught, who had served his apprenticeship with the firm from 1912 and had subsequently undertaken military service followed by a year with Campbell & Hislop, returned to the practice as chief assistant and subsequently junior partner, but he left in 1925 to work for Bradshaw Gass & Hope in Bolton. Prior to this, in January 1921, Robert Blain had also been taken into partnership, having likewise returned to the practice as an assistant after war service in February 1919. In early 1921 William John Blain was elected FRIBA, proposed by John Watson, William Brown Whitie and David Salmond; and in mid-1923 Robert Blain was admitted ARIBA, his proposers being Charles Gourlay, John Watson and James Hoey Craigie.

William John Blain was regarded as an exceptionally able designer by his contemporaries, but no really major commission came his way despite Denny's influential connections. The work of the practice was predominantly cinemas and theatres. It moved to Blain's house at 11 Lockerbie Avenue, Newlands in 1942 where it seems to have petered out in 1944. Denny's interest in the practice presumably ended with that final move. He died on 2 July 1947 and the archive was acquired from Blain by Weddell & Thomson in 1955: Blain and Weddell were old friends and colleagues from their days in Burnet's Glasgow office.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 4British Linen Chambers/17, High Street, Dumbarton, Dunbartonshire, ScotlandBusiness1912 Denny in charge
Item 2 of 4209, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1912Before 1915Blain in charge
Item 3 of 4144, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 19151941 or 1942Perhaps earlier
Item 4 of 411, Lockerbie Avenue, Newlands, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1942 or 19431944 

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 12John Sibbald McKay19111913Assistant 
Item 2 of 12Robert Mackison McNaught19121916Apprentice 
Item 3 of 12William John Blain19121944Partner 
Item 4 of 12Alexander Cochran Denny19121944Partner 
Item 5 of 12Robert BlainAugust 1915December 1920ApprenticeWith the exception of war service, February 1916 to February 1919
Item 6 of 12Robert Mackison McNaught1920Before 1922Chief Assistant 
Item 7 of 12Robert BlainDecember 1920January 1921Assistant 
Item 8 of 12Robert BlainJanuary 1921After 1923Partner 
Item 9 of 12Robert Mackison McNaughtBefore 19221925Junior Partner 
Item 10 of 12James Smith (junior)June 1928c. July 1929Apprentice 
Item 11 of 12James Smith (junior)c. July 1929August 1930Draughtsman 
Item 12 of 12John Stevenson junior19391940Assistant 

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 129 ArdenvohrRhu/Row DunbartonshireScotlandAlterations( ?) by Denny and Blain
Item 2 of 129 Drumellan HouseMaybole AyrshireScotlandUndated drawings, possibly by Denny & Blain
Item 3 of 129 Dumbarton East ParkDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandUndated drawings
Item 4 of 129 Garage, Berkeley Street  GlasgowScotlandDrawings may be by Denny and Blain?
Item 5 of 129 House at DunglassBowling DunbartonshireScotlandUndated drawings - may be by Denny
Item 6 of 1291912Dumbarton Combination PoorhouseDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandAlterations/additions? - may be by Denny alone.
Item 7 of 1291912Dumbarton Combination PoorhouseDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandWaterworks
Item 8 of 1291912Leven ShipyardDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 9 of 1291912St Mungo Manufacturing CompanyGovan GlasgowScotlandCommenced by Denny alone; completed in partnership
Item 10 of 1291912Wellington PalaceGorbals GlasgowScotlandAlterations?
Item 11 of 129After 1912103 High StreetDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 12 of 129After 1912311 Argyle Street and 83 Robertson Street  GlasgowScotlandDate of work not known
Item 13 of 129After 1912Alloa Ship Yard OfficesAlloa ClackmannanshireScotlandDrawings not dated or signed
Item 14 of 129After 1912Clydesdale BankDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandDrawings not signed - may not be Denny and Blain
Item 15 of 129After 1912(?)Coatbridge Picture HouseCoatbridge LanarkshireScotlandMay be architects? Drawing not signed
Item 16 of 129After 1912(?)Dumbarton Co-operative Society Central PremisesDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandNew build? Drawings not dated. May be by Denny alone
Item 17 of 129c. 1912HelensleeDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandDrawing not dated. May be solely by Denny. Probably addition.
Item 18 of 1291913Alexandria Picture HouseAlexandria DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 19 of 1291913Conservative Club  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 20 of 1291913DunstaneDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 21 of 1291914135-137 High StreetDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandMay be by Denny and Blain
Item 22 of 1291914Dixon StreetDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 23 of 1291914Dumbarton Combination PoorhouseDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandAlterations
Item 24 of 1291914Notre Dame Convent and School, ClerkhillDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 25 of 1291914RockleaHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandBedroom extension
Item 26 of 1291915Garage at Greenhead RoadDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 27 of 1291915Offices at Marshall, Fleming and CoMotherwell LanarkshireScotland 
Item 28 of 1291915Workmen's Mess Room, Leven ShipyardDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 29 of 129After 1915186 Nithsdale RoadPollokshields GlasgowScotland 
Item 30 of 129After 191521 Bath Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 31 of 129After 1915262 North Woodside Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 32 of 129After 19153, 4 and 5 Claremont Terrace  GlasgowScotlandAlterations and perhaps further work
Item 33 of 129After 1915Alloa Picture HouseAlloa ClackmannanshireScotland 
Item 34 of 129After 1915Bankier DistilleryCastlecary StirlingshireScotlandWork including cottages
Item 35 of 129After 1915BungalowUddingston LanarkshireScotland 
Item 36 of 129After 1915Crosslet Farm, CottageDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 37 of 129After 1915Falkirk Pavilion CinemaFalkirk StirlingshireScotland 
Item 38 of 129After 1915Garage at Centre StreetWhiteinch GlasgowScotland 
Item 39 of 129After 1915Garrion TowerWishaw LanarkshireScotlandUnspecified work
Item 40 of 129After 1915Gourock Picture HouseGourock RenfrewshireScotlandDrawings not dated
Item 41 of 129After 1915LoganleaDunblane PerthshireScotland 
Item 42 of 129After 1915MachriemoreMaybole AyrshireScotland 
Item 43 of 129Before 19151309-11 Duke Street  GlasgowScotlandDrawings not dated
Item 44 of 129Before 1915Cardross SchoolCardross DunbartonshireScotlandDrawings not dated
Item 45 of 129Before 1915Garage at Pollokshaws RoadPollokshaws GlasgowScotland 
Item 46 of 129191628-30 High StreetDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 47 of 129191632-34 High StreetDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandMay be architects? Drawing not signed
Item 48 of 1291916Cooperage, Hyde Park Street  London?England 
Item 49 of 1291916Hunter Street  GlasgowScotlandUnspecified work
Item 50 of 1291916Mid Gartocharn FarmGartocharn DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 51 of 1291916Springbank InnDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandMay be by Denny and Blain - drawing not signed
Item 52 of 1291916Troon Picture HouseTroon AyrshireScotlandAlterations?
Item 53 of 1291919Ambulance GarageDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 54 of 1291919Brock Memorial BathsDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 55 of 1291919La Scala Picture HouseDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 56 of 1291920Dixon StreetDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandAlterations
Item 57 of 1291920Dunbritton HouseDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 58 of 1291920Picture House for Kilbirnie DistrictKilbirnie AyrshireScotland 
Item 59 of 129Before 1920Dailly UF ChurchDailly AyrshireScotland 
Item 60 of 129Before 1920Three villasGiffnock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 61 of 1291921Cinema House  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 62 of 1291921Imperial HotelOban ArgyllScotlandAlterations to form baker's shop and tearoom
Item 63 of 129After 1921(?)Parade CinemaDennistoun GlasgowScotlandAlterations? Called 'New Parade Cinema'
Item 64 of 1291922Clubhouse for Dumbarton Bowling ClubDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 65 of 1291922Cottages, DumbartonDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 66 of 1291922Dumbarton Co-operative SocietyDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 67 of 1291923Bungalow, HelensburghHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 68 of 1291923St Luke's Episcopal Church and parsonage and hallDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandWith R M McNAught in charge
Item 69 of 1291924101 High StreetDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 70 of 1291924Broomhill GarageHyndland GlasgowScotland 
Item 71 of 1291924BungalowWhiting BayArranButeScotland 
Item 72 of 1291924Ex-Servicemen's ClubDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandMay be architects? Drawing not signed
Item 73 of 1291924Kilbirnie Picture HouseKilbirnie AyrshireScotland 
Item 74 of 1291924McGrouther's PropertyDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandAlterations?
Item 75 of 1291924Parish Council ChambersDalmuir DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 76 of 1291924(?)Rialto Picture HouseKirkcaldy FifeScotlandDrawings not signed, but may be by Denny & Blain
Item 77 of 1291925205 Wilton StreetKelvinside GlasgowScotland 
Item 78 of 1291925(?)McLetchie's PropertyDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandMay be architects? Drawing not signed
Item 79 of 1291926King's Theatre  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 80 of 1291926MachriemoreMaybole AyrshireScotlandFurther work
Item 81 of 1291927104 South Brae AvenueJordanhill GlasgowScotland 
Item 82 of 129192754 Main StreetDuntocher DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 83 of 1291927Cairndow HotelCairndow ArgyllScotland 
Item 84 of 1291927Church at KilmorichCairndow ArgyllScotland 
Item 85 of 1291927Cottage at CairndowCairndow ArgyllScotland 
Item 86 of 1291927Garage at RavencourtCathcart GlasgowScotland 
Item 87 of 1291927Garage, Pitt Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 88 of 1291927Overtoun Estate, Maryland FarmDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 89 of 1291927Public HallDuntocher DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 90 of 1291928Blue Vale Tavern  GlasgowScotland 
Item 91 of 1291928Hyndland Public School  GlasgowScotlandExtension
Item 92 of 1291928Tivoli Picture HousePartick GlasgowScotland 
Item 93 of 129Before 1928(?)Kirkintilloch Picture HouseKirkintilloch DunbartonshireScotlandMay be by Denny and Blain; drawings not signed or dated
Item 94 of 1291929Central Hall Picture HouseInverness Inverness-shireScotlandAlterations? New cinema?
Item 95 of 1291929Kelso's La Scala CinemaInverness Inverness-shireScotlandAlterations?
Item 96 of 1291929Picture House, Cumbernauld Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 97 of 1291930CinemaOban ArgyllScotlandAlterations to accommodate sound reproducing plant
Item 98 of 1291930Dumbarton Masonic LodgeDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 99 of 1291930NorthcoteTurnberry AyrshireScotland 
Item 100 of 1291930Oban Picture HouseOban ArgyllScotland 
Item 101 of 1291930PlayhouseGalashiels SelkirkshireScotland 
Item 102 of 129193160 George StreetOban ArgyllScotland 
Item 103 of 1291931Garage for Cowie and Sons LtdTurnberry AyrshireScotlandProbably Denny & Blain
Item 104 of 1291931Glasgow and West of Scotland Foot Hospital  GlasgowScotland 
Item 105 of 1291931High Street and Quay StreetDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 106 of 1291931New Trades School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 107 of 1291932300 Dobbie's Loan  GlasgowScotland 
Item 108 of 1291932County RestaurantDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 109 of 1291932House for Mr PorterBurnside GlasgowScotland 
Item 110 of 1291933St Charles RC School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 111 of 1291934Property at Church StreetDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 112 of 129193685 College Street and 42 Risk StreetDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 113 of 1291936Berkeley Restaurant  GlasgowScotlandUnspecified work
Item 114 of 1291936Community CentreDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 115 of 1291936Dumbarton Combination PoorhouseDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandAlterations and/or additions - plans dated
Item 116 of 1291936House for William C MeikleEast Kilbride LanarkshireScotland 
Item 117 of 1291936Torrance EstateEast Kilbride LanarkshireScotlandSite plan drawn up
Item 118 of 129193878 Langside Avenue  GlasgowScotland 
Item 119 of 1291938Boathouse   Scotland 
Item 120 of 1291938BogheadDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 121 of 1291938Meadow Park Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 122 of 1291938Victoria BarClydebank DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 123 of 1291939236 Smithycroft Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 124 of 129193943 Church StreetDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 125 of 1291939Kirkintilloch Town Hall and Municipal BuildingsKirkintilloch DunbartonshireScotlandAlterations?
Item 126 of 1291939Tulliallan HouseEast Kilbride LanarkshireScotland 
Item 127 of 1291940ThistlebankDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 128 of 129After 1942311 Bell Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 129 of 129194426 India Street  GlasgowScotland 

References

Currently, there are no references for this architectural practice. The information has been derived from: the British Architectural Library / RIBA Directory of British Architects 1834-1914; Post Office Directories; and/or any sources listed under this individual's works.