Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Riddell Glen
Designation: Architect
Born: 1884 or 1885
Died: 19 February 1950
Bio Notes: William Riddell Glen was born in Hutchesontown in 1885 (Dist. no. 644/11, entry 2703; although in his RIBA nomination papers he claims his year of birth to be 1884), the son of James Glen, provision merchant and his wife Margaret Riddell. He won a studentship at Glasgow School of Architecture where he studied from 1900 whilst undertaking an apprenticeship to Burnet, Boston & Carruthers. He transferred to the practice of John Archibald Campbell in 1904 whilst continuing his studies for a further year.

He commenced independent practice in 1912 at 144 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, but his career was soon interrupted by the First World War, during which he served in the Glasgow Highlanders, rising to the rank of major and winning an MC. On completion of his active war service in 1919 he returned to Glasgow and went into partnership with Albert Victor Gardner. The practice, Gardner & Glen, had offices at 164 Bath Street, Glasgow and specialised in the design of 'atmospheric' cinemas. One of their clients, George Singleton, regarded Glen as a far superior architect to Gardner, describing the latter as 'the most awful faker in the world. He used every substitute for the decent thing'. The partnership was dissolved in 1929 when Glen left for London having obtained an appointment as Architect to Associated British Cinemas Ltd, based at 30-31 Golden Square and working under John Maxwell. He remained in this post for the rest of his career and appears to have traded as W R Glen & Co from at least 1933 though the idetity of his partners is yet to be established. He was elected LRIBA on 18 June 1934, his proposers being William James King, John Edwin Yerbury and Andrew Graham Henderson. At that time he was living at 'Stedly', The Park, Sidcup, Kent.

Glen was forced into early retirement by illness, but retained by the ABC chain as a consultant. He died on 19 February 1950 after an illness which lasted five months. He left a widow and two daughters.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 7353, Cathcart Road, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1900 *  
Item 2 of 7144, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1912c. 1914 
Item 3 of 7164, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness19191929 
Item 4 of 718, Clincart Road, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1921 *  
Item 5 of 730-31, Golden Square, Upper John Street, London, EnglandBusiness19291939 or after 1940As Architect to Associated British Cinemas Ltd
Item 6 of 7Heddon House/149, Regent Street, London, EnglandBusiness1930 *  
Item 7 of 7Stedly, The Park, Sidcup, Kent, EnglandPrivateBefore 1934After 1940 

* 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 5Burnet, Boston & Carruthers19001904Apprentice 
Item 2 of 5John Archibald Campbell19041908Assistant 
Item 3 of 5Campbell & Hislop1908(?)Before 1912(?)Assistant 
Item 4 of 5Gardner & Glen19191929Partner 
Item 5 of 5W R Glen & CoBefore 1932   

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 4Robert Harkness Wallace1912Early 1915Apprentice 
Item 2 of 4Cecil Jack Foster19301932Chief Assistant 
Item 3 of 4Leslie William Rushbrook19351935Assistantfor 9 months
Item 4 of 4Cecil Jack Foster19361939Chief Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Andrew Graham Henderson18 June 1934for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 3William James King18 June 1934for Licentiateship
Item 3 of 3John Edwin Yerbury18 June 1934for Licentiateship

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 341912Finnart Street SchoolGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 2 of 341919Standard Picture HousePartick GlasgowScotlandRebuilding
Item 3 of 341920Possilpark Picture HousePossilpark GlasgowScotland 
Item 4 of 341921Grosvenor CinemaHillhead GlasgowScotland 
Item 5 of 341923Alexandra CinemaPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandOriginal building
Item 6 of 34192430 Terraced Houses Albert, Skirving and Walton Streets  GlasgowScotland 
Item 7 of 341925Carlton Picture HouseTownhead GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 341925Coliseum Theatre  GlasgowScotlandMinor alterations when acquired for Scottish Cinema and Variety Theatres for use as a cinema in March 1925.
Item 9 of 341925Kinema  GlasgowScotland 
Item 10 of 341925Paragon Picture House  GlasgowScotlandRebuilding
Item 11 of 341926Alexandra CinemaPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandExtensive alterations
Item 12 of 341927CinemaAyr AyrshireScotlandProposed new cinema
Item 13 of 341927Gaiety TheatreClydebank DunbartonshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 14 of 341928Strathclyde Super CinemaDalmarnock GlasgowScotland 
Item 15 of 341928Wellington PalaceGorbals GlasgowScotlandRebuilding of 1874 Music Hall
Item 16 of 341928West End Picture HousePaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 17 of 341929Regal CinemaGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandAlterations - though may be after the dissolution of the partnership
Item 18 of 341929Ritz Cinema  EdinburghScotlandMay be after the dissolution of the partnership, therefore not involved
Item 19 of 34After 1929CinemaWandsworth LondonEnglandAs Architect to Associated British Cinemas Ltd
Item 20 of 34After 1929CinemaCoventry WarwickshireEnglandAs Architect to Associated British Cinemas Ltd
Item 21 of 34After 1929CinemaTorquay DevonEnglandAs Architect to Associated British Cinemas Ltd
Item 22 of 341930The Picture HouseDunoon ArgyllScotlandAlterations
Item 23 of 341931Coliseum Theatre  GlasgowScotlandInterior remodelled as a cinema
Item 24 of 341931Orient Cinema, Sword Street and Gallowgate junction  GlasgowScotland 
Item 25 of 341931Super cinema, site of former Camphill Cinema  GlasgowScotlandProposed
Item 26 of 341933ABC CinemaPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 27 of 341935Kelvin CinemaFinnieston GlasgowScotlandReconstruction and additions
Item 28 of 341936Lothian House  EdinburghScotlandCredited with being the architect for proposed cinema on Old Union Canal basin.
Item 29 of 341937Olympia Theatre of VarietiesBridgeton GlasgowScotlandConversion to ABC Cinema - prepared plans but not executed?
Item 30 of 341938Palace Cinema IIIArbroath AngusScotland 
Item 31 of 341938Regal CinemaSouthwark LondonEngland 
Item 32 of 341938Super CinemaLinlithgow West LothianScotland 
Item 33 of 341939Regal Cinema  AberdeenScotlandAs ABC's architect (Alexander Graham Glen is given in Architect & Building News but this is unlikely)
Item 34 of 341950Factory, Dagenham   EnglandJointly with Cecil Jack Foster


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2RIBA1930The RIBA Kalendar 1930-1931 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 2 of 2RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1RIBA JournalApril 1950v57London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp246 - obituary (dates of training and early career appear to be incorrect)

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 L no4403 (combined box 12) (dates of birth and study at GSA are incorrect in these papers)