© All rights reserved. Edinburgh and the Lothians at the opening of the twentieth century / by A. Eddington. Contemporary biographies / edited by W.T. Pike 

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Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Thomas Oldrieve (sometimes William Thomas Oldgrieve)
Designation: Architect
Born: 15 December 1853
Died: 12 January 1922
Bio Notes: William Thomas Oldrieve was born in London on 15 December 1853, the son of William Oldrieve, clerk of works and his wife Elizabeth Tyler. His father's family were Baptists from Devonshire. He was educated at Mansfield Grammar School, serving for a time under his father in the clerks of works office at Thoresby Hall under Anthony Salvin, 1868-71. He then moved to the office of the builders William Cubitt & Co where he spent the years 1871-73. From there he obtained a place in the War Office, attached to the Royal Engineers where he remained until 1881 when he gained first place in the competitive examinations as assistant architect and surveyor in the Office of Works. During that period he spent at least part of his time in the Edinburgh office under Walter Wood Robertson. At some point post-1880 he was a distinguished pupil of Professor Baldwin Brown, gaining a class medal and the Cousin prize in the Architectural Section of the Fine Arts Class at Edinburgh University. In 1886 he was Godwin Bursar of the RIBA. This he used to visit Hamburg, Berlin, Vienna and Paris, making a particular study of post office buildings, notably Guadet's new Hotel des Postes in Paris and the General Post Office in Hamburg. As a result of his study he was later appointed architect for provincial post offices in England and Wales. Works included Post Offices at Hyde, 1899-1900; Weston super Mare 1900; Aldershot, 1900-02; Hinkley 1901-02; Plymouth 1902; Merthyr 1903;Southampton 1903; Norwich (extension) 1904; Burslem 1904; Hereford (extension) 1904; Lincoln, 1906; Salisbury, 1907; and Swansea.

Following his time in Edinburgh, he was variously in the Chief Architect's Office, London Office of Works; in charge of Manchester District Office of Works and Chief Assistant to the Principal Architect to the Department of Works in England. In April 1904 he was appointed Principal Architect for Scotland. He was admitted FRIBA on 3 December 1906, his proposers being Sir Henry Tanner, Sir John Taylor and Sir Robert Rowand Anderson.

Oldrieve had strong antiquarian interests and a took a particular interest in the Ancient Monuments side of his duties, giving a paper on the Royal Palaces of Scotland at the RIBA in 1908, one on the excavation of the original abbey church at Holyrood to the Scottish Ecclesiological Society and another on the roof of Glasgow Cathedral to the Society of Antiquaries. Oldrieve was appointed one of the first Royal Commissioners of Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland in January 1908

When Oldrieve retired in 1914 at the age of sixty he formed the partnership of Oldrieve Bell & Paterson. Of his partners William Wilson Paterson at least was a former member of his Office of Works staff; and Bell was Andrew W Bell, presumably the same who had been Dunfermline Burgh Engineer in the years around 1900, although no further details of him are yet known.

Shortly after his retirement Oldrieve and his wife embarked on what the Building News described as a "world cruise" visiting South Africa, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, the Sandwich Islands and, most importantly, New Zealand, where his son and his family were then living.

On his return became in 1917 Secretary for the Ministry of Munitions for North and East Scotland; and during that period he was, with Rowand Anderson and Thomas Ross, one of the principal organisers of the National Art Survey for Scotland. At the end of the war he re-formed the partnership of Oldrieve, Bell & Paterson. D Hay Fleming wrote of him 'All who came in contact with him were charmed by his pleasant unassuming and courteous manner, his unselfishness, generosity and transparent sincerity. Between him and the members of his staff, the greatest harmony ever prevailed, due doubtless on the part of his staff to the kindness and consideration he invariably showed them, and his readiness to give them the benefit of his long and varied experience'. Oldrieve was not only a good architect himself, but recruited an exceptionally able staff who were given exceptional opportunities for original design. The buildings executed during his regime were an exceptionally interesting series, predominantly Edwardian classic, but a few were late Gothic and Scots Renaissance, notably Aberdeen Post Office and the unrealised scheme for Falkland Palace - like government offices on Calton Hill.

Oldrieve was deeply religious. He was a member and elder of Morningside Baptist Church, President of the Baptist Union in 1915 and at the time of his death of stomach cancer on 12 January 1922 he was President of the Carrubbers Close Mission and a director of the National Bible Society for Scotland. He left a widow, Emma Goodchild; a son, the Rev Frank Oldrieve, Secretary of the Leper Mission, India; and a daughter, Elizabeth. His moveable estate was £3,356 15s 10d.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 93, Parliament Square, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness   
Item 2 of 9Didsbury, Manchester, EnglandPrivate  1891 Census
Item 3 of 91, Stanhope Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivatec. 1887  
Item 4 of 99, Duncan Street, Higher Broughton, Salford, EnglandPrivate1895 Slater Directory
Item 5 of 9HM Office of Works, New Bridge Street, Manchester, EnglandBusiness1895 Slater Directory
Item 6 of 9194, Elms Road, Clapham, London, EnglandPrivate1901 Kelly. London and Suburbs; 1901 Census
Item 7 of 911, Merchiston Gardens, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivatec. 1903c. 1910 
Item 8 of 915, Braid Avenue, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivatec. 19101922 
Item 9 of 922, Ainslie Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1914 Address of Oldrieve Bell & Paterson

Employment and Training

Employers

The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 10Anthony Salvin18681871Apprentice 
Item 2 of 10William Cubitt & Co18711873Assistant 
Item 3 of 10War Office Architects Department18731881Assistant 
Item 4 of 10H M Office of Works (later Ministry of Works, Department of the Environment and Property Services Agency)c. 1881c. 1890Assistantin Edinburgh office, as assistant under Walter Wood Robertson
Item 5 of 10Walter Wood Robertsonc. 18811904Assistantin H M Office of Works, Edinburgh
Item 6 of 10H M Office of Works (later Ministry of Works, Department of the Environment and Property Services Agency)c. 1890c. 1898Principal AssistantIn charge of the Manchester Regional Office
Item 7 of 10H M Office of Works (later Ministry of Works, Department of the Environment and Property Services Agency)c. 18981904Principal AssistantPrincipal Assistant to Sir Henry Tanner in London Office. Architect for all Provincial Post Offices
Item 8 of 10(Sir) Henry Tannerc. 18981904Principal Architect 
Item 9 of 10H M Office of Works (later Ministry of Works, Department of the Environment and Property Services Agency)19041914Chief ArchitectIn Edinburgh office
Item 10 of 10Oldrieve Bell & Paterson19141922Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 17John Thomas Galletly  Assistant ArchitectAssistant architect and surveyor, second class, in H M Office of Works, Edinburgh (1910)
Item 2 of 17Albert Robert Myers  Assistant ArchitectAssistant architect and surveyor, first class, in H M Office of Works, Edinburgh (1910)
Item 3 of 17A Odell  Assistant ArchitectAssistant architect and surveyor, second class, in H M Office of Works, Edinburgh (1910)
Item 4 of 17Charles Albert Hindle  AssistantDates unknown, but in Manchester office of H M Office of Works
Item 5 of 17Cecil John William Simpson18971906AssistantIn H M Office of Works, Edinburgh
Item 6 of 17William Dean19011904  
Item 7 of 17Arthur John MarshallJanuary 19031911Assistantin H M Office of Works, Edinburgh
Item 8 of 17Herbert Ryle8 June 1903September 1904AssistantAssistant architect and surveyor, second class, in H M Office of Works, Edinburgh (1910)
Item 9 of 17James Cumming Wynnes1904c. 1911Assistantin H M Office of Works, Edinburgh
Item 10 of 17David Webster RobertsonJanuary 19041914AssistantIn H M Office of Works, Edinburgh
Item 11 of 17Charles Ernest Jackson19051914Assistantin H M Office of Works, Edinburgh
Item 12 of 17Archibald Scott1905Before 1919(?)AssistantIn H M Office of Works, Edinburgh
Item 13 of 17Sydney Houghton MillerAfter 1907Before 1909Assistant(?)In H M Office of Works, Edinburgh
Item 14 of 17Ernest Scott Petch1911April 1914AssistantIn H M Office of Works, Edinburgh
Item 15 of 17Arthur John Marshall1911After 1914Assistant ArchitectAssistant architect and surveyor, second class, in H M Office of Works, Edinburgh (1910)
Item 16 of 17James Wood19121914AssistantWorking in H M Office of Works, Edinburgh
Item 17 of 17Andrew Duncan Kellock19121914AssistantWith the exception of war service; in H M Office of Works

RIBA

RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3(Sir) Robert Rowand Anderson3 December 1906for Fellowship
Item 2 of 3(Sir) Henry Tanner3 December 1906for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3(Sir) John Taylor3 December 1906for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 12James Alexander Arnott1920for Fellowship
Item 2 of 12Alexander Allan FooteMid 1919for Associateship
Item 3 of 12John Thomas Galletly20 July 1911for Licentiateship
Item 4 of 12John William Kay2 December 1912for Associateship
Item 5 of 12Andrew Duncan KellockMid 1919for Associateship
Item 6 of 12John Wilson Paterson4 December 1911for Associateship
Item 7 of 12William PatersonEarly 1914for Associateship
Item 8 of 12Claude Cornelius Tom WarnesEarly 1914for Associateship
Item 9 of 12James WoodMid 1920for Associateship
Item 10 of 12James Cumming Wynnes30 January 1911for Licentiateship
Item 11 of 12James Cumming WynnesLate 1914for Fellowship
Item 12 of 12John Girtrig Young29 November 1909for Associateship

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 601892Glasgow General Post Office  GlasgowScotlandRebuilding of central part facing Ingram Street, on site of Atheneum (as architect with particular responsibility for Post Office buildings, working under Walter Wood Robertson, Architect for Scotland)
Item 2 of 601893Falkirk Post OfficeFalkirk StirlingshireScotlandFront block? - as assistant to Robertson in the Office of Works
Item 3 of 601894Parcel Post Office  ManchesterEnglandIncluding the Manchester offices of H M Office of Works
Item 4 of 601896Inland Revenue Offices  ManchesterEngland 
Item 5 of 601899Post OfficeHyde CheshireEngland 
Item 6 of 601900sPost OfficeHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandExtension - probably by Oldrieve (as architect for Scotland in the Office of Works)
Item 7 of 601902General Register House, Sasine Office  EdinburghScotlandOldrieve as architect for Scotland in the Office of Works
Item 8 of 601902Parcel Post Office building  GlasgowScotlandWorking in H M Office of Works, first as assistant with responsibility for post offices, then as Architect for Scotland
Item 9 of 601903Baptist TabernacleBlackpool LancashireEnglandIn association with C A Hindle
Item 10 of 601903Post OfficeMusselburgh MidlothianScotlandIn H M Office of Works, Edinburgh
Item 11 of 601904Central Telephone Exchange  EdinburghScotlandAlterations at rear. Oldrieve as Architect for Scotland in the Office of Works
Item 12 of 601904Dunfermline Abbey, Wardlaw VaultDunfermline FifeScotlandVault renovated and reduced in size. (Oldrieve as architect of Scotland in the Office of Works)
Item 13 of 601904Eskdalemuir Royal Magnetic ObservatoryEskdalemuir DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 14 of 601904Head Post Office  AberdeenScotlandAs Architect for Scotland in H M Office of Works (succeeded Walter Wood Robertson)
Item 15 of 601904St Andrews Castle, bathing shelterSt Andrews FifeScotlandAs Architect for Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 16 of 601904St Andrews Castle, sea defencesSt Andrews FifeScotlandLowering of wall in front of castle on south side, and addition of railings - as Architect for Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 17 of 601905Post OfficeBootle LancashireEngland 
Item 18 of 601906Post OfficeSt Andrews FifeScotlandAlterations - Oldrieve as architect of Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 19 of 601906Post OfficeBanff BanffshireScotlandOldrieve as architect of Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 20 of 601906Post OfficeNorth Berwick East LothianScotlandOldrieve as architect for Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 21 of 601906Post OfficeCrieff PerthshireScotlandAs Architect for Scotland in H M Office of Works, Edinburgh
Item 22 of 60c. 1906Post OfficeLeicester LeicestershireEnglandExtension
Item 23 of 601907Edinburgh Castle, Cistern  EdinburghScotlandAs architect for Scotland in the Office of Works
Item 24 of 601907General Post Office  EdinburghScotlandExtension and remodelling of public office - Oldrieve as architect for Scotland in the Office of Works
Item 25 of 601907Post OfficeStornowayLewisRoss and CromartyScotlandWith Oldrieve as architect for Scotland in HM Office of Works
Item 26 of 601907Post OfficeMontrose AngusScotlandOldrieve as Architect for Scotland in the Office of Works
Item 27 of 601907Post OfficeKilmarnock AyrshireScotlandOldrieve as architect for Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 28 of 601907Post OfficeBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandOldrieve as architect of Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 29 of 601907Post OfficeAyr AyrshireScotlandAlterations and additions - with Oldrieve as Architect for Scotland in the Office of Works
Item 30 of 601908Palace of Holyroodhouse, sundial  EdinburghScotlandRenovation
Item 31 of 601908Parliament House, Supreme Courts of Scotland  EdinburghScotlandAlterations and extensions, including reconstruction of lobby and oak library adjoining court IX - as architect for Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 32 of 601908Post OfficeOban ArgyllScotlandWorking for HM Office of Works.
Item 33 of 601908Post OfficeLerwickMainlandShetlandScotlandOldrieve as architect for Scotland in the Office of Works
Item 34 of 601908(?)Post OfficeHaddington East LothianScotlandOldrieve as architect for Scotland in the Office of Works
Item 35 of 601908St Andrews Cathedral MuseumSt Andrews FifeScotlandAs architect of Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 36 of 601909Edinburgh Life Assurance Company  EdinburghScotlandAdapted internally to become the Royal Society Building - Oldrieve as architect in Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 37 of 601909Royal Institution  EdinburghScotlandInternal reconstruction and new galleries - as architect for Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 38 of 60c. 1909Royal Botanic Garden, laboratory buildingInverleith EdinburghScotlandAs architect for Scotlland in H M Office of Works
Item 39 of 60c. 190(?)Post OfficeDuns BerwickshireScotlandMay be by Oldrieve as architect in Scotland in H M Office of Works, depending on date
Item 40 of 601910Bridgeton Telephone ExchangeBridgeton GlasgowScotlandAs Architect for Scotland in H M Office of Works, Edinburgh
Item 41 of 601910Edinburgh Industrial Museum  EdinburghScotlandSouth-east extension
Item 42 of 601910Labour ExchangeTollcross EdinburghScotlandAs architect for Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 43 of 601910Palace of Holyroodhouse  EdinburghScotlandSupervised John Wilson Paterson's work
Item 44 of 601910Post OfficeKelso RoxburghshireScotlandOldrieve as architect for Scotland in the Office of Works
Item 45 of 601910Post OfficeBrechin AngusScotlandOldrieve as architect of Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 46 of 601910Telephone Exchange  GlasgowScotlandOldrieve as Architect for Scotland in the Office of Works
Item 47 of 601911Glasgow General Post Office  GlasgowScotlandAddition of side blocks (steel and reinforced concrete) - commenced by W T Oldrieve, completed by C J W Simpson, as successive Architects for Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 48 of 601911National Gallery of Scotland  EdinburghScotlandInternal alterations to west section. Oldrieve as architect for Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 49 of 601911Telephone exchangeHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandAs architect for Scotland in the Office of Works
Item 50 of 601912Head Post OfficePaisley RenfrewshireScotlandSouth extension - Oldrieve as architect of Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 51 of 601912Marksmen’s Pavilion Hunters Bog Range Holyrood Park Holyrood Park  EdinburghScotlandInitial sketches
Item 52 of 601912Post OfficeStornowayLewisRoss and CromartyScotlandAdditions and alterations with Oldrieve as architect for Scotland in HM Office of Works
Item 53 of 601912Post OfficeWick CaithnessScotlandOldrieve as architect of Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 54 of 60Mid 1912Scottish Office buildingsCalton Hill EdinburghScotlandFirst proposed scheme (unexecuted); detailing identical to Aberdeen Post Office - as architect for Scotland in H M Office of Works, assisted by James Cumming Wynnes
Item 55 of 601913Glasgow Cathedral  GlasgowScotlandNew roof and ceiling - Oldrieve as Architect for Scotland
Item 56 of 601913Labour Exchange  DundeeScotlandOldrieve as architect for Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 57 of 601913Post OfficeBathgate West LothianScotlandOldrieve as architect for Scotland in H M Office of Works. (Buildings of Scotland). Perhaps with overall responsibility.
Item 58 of 601913St Clement's ChurchRodelHarrisInverness-shireScotlandHarling removed and alterations especially to tower - Oldrieve as architect for Scotland
Item 59 of 60Before 1914Letter Sorting OfficeDalry EdinburghScotlandOldrieve as architect for Scotland in H M Office of Works
Item 60 of 601921Iona Abbey IonaArgyllScotlandRebuilding of two arches at west end of north arcade

References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Architecture in Manuscript 1601-1906 Architecture in Manuscript 1601-1906, 1022  p301
Item 2 of 4Pike Edinburgh and the Lothians at the turn of the 20th century  p272
Item 3 of 4Post Office Directories     
Item 4 of 4Walker, Frank Arneil1986South Clyde Estuary: An Illustrated Architectural Guide to Inverclyde and Renfrew  p13

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 7Builder20 January 1922CXXII p 120 - obituary
Item 2 of 7RIAS Quarterly1922no 2Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)Obituary pp10-12
Item 3 of 7RIBA Journal28 January 1922 London: Royal Institute of British ArchitectsObituary p193
Item 4 of 7RSA*  96th annual report
Item 5 of 7Scotsman14 January 1922  Obituary
Item 6 of 7The Times14 January 1908  p5 col A Scottish Historical Monuments Commission
Item 7 of 7The Times16 January 1922  p14 col D - obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Additional research by Iain Paterson
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v17 p154 no1173 (microfilm reel 12)

Images

© All rights reserved. Edinburgh and the Lothians at the opening of the twentieth century / by A. Eddington. Contemporary biographies / edited by W.T. Pike 

© All rights reserved. Edinburgh and the Lothians at the opening of the twentieth century / by A. Eddington. Contemporary biographies / edited by W.T. Pike