Basic Biographical Details

Name: McCulloch & Fairley
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1876
Ended: c. 1880
Bio Notes: Alexander McCulloch was born in West Fife and commenced his career with practical training in the building trade with a 'leading establishment' in Edinburgh. He studied at Heriot-Watt and in 1864 became assistant to Charles Macpherson, Edinburgh's burgh engineer. In 1868 he commenced the University of Edinburgh's engineering course, winning its first prize and medal in 1870, and was employed by Professor Fleming Jenkin to make illustrations and lecture diagrams. In 1872 he was appointed first assistant to William Mackison, Dundee's burgh engineer, in succession to Watson who became water engineer. In 1875 he resigned to set up practice in Dundee as a civil engineer and in mid-1876 he formed the Dundee and Edinburgh civil engineering and architectural partnership of McCulloch & Fairley with James Graham Fairley whom he had known in Macpherson's office. Born in 1846, the son of William Fairley, millwright and engineer, Fairley had like McCulloch begun his career with four years' practical experience of building, working in his father's office before being articled to Robert Thornton Shiells. At the end of his apprenticeship he spent four years with MacPherson, followed by a period in the Office of Works in Lodon and six months in the Royal Engineers' Office in Edinburgh under Major du Cane and had at some point travelled in France and Italy prior to setting up practice as an architect in Edinburgh in 1873.

The partnership of McCulloch & Fairley had a formal existence of only about three years, but remained effective for at least another eight years, McCulloch continuing to obtain Fairley's assistance for any major architectural commission that came his way, most notably at the French Renaissance Girls' High School (1886) in Dundee, one of the finest Scottish buildings of the 1880s.

McCulloch was admitted AMICE in 1885. He took an active part in Dundee public life, becoming a volunteer officer in 1878, a councillor in 1883, and Convener of the Works Committee of the Water Commission in 1884, having a major hand in the design and construction of the aqueduct from Lintrathen to Clatto. He subsequently had a similar advisory role in the design of the Esplanade, succeeding in changing its design from serpentine to straight. He became a Baillie in 1886, but subsequently resigned to apply for the post of City Water Engineer and was surprised to find himself an unsuccessful candidate.

In 1885 McCulloch engaged as assistant George Jamieson, probably because the time Fairley could give to McCulloch's practice was becoming limited. Born in 1862, Jamieson had been articled to Alexander Hutchison of Dundee 1875-79, remaining as improver 1879-81 and had worked in the office of James Maclaren from 1881 to 1885. In 1894 Jamieson was made a partner, and c.1900 McCulloch retired to Edinburgh where he appears to have been briefly in partnership with a Robert McCulloch at 3 Bernard Street, Leith. Jamieson was admitted LRIBA on 27 February 1911 his proposers being Leslie Ower, J Donald Mills and Godfrey Shepherd. At that date his address was 20 Whitehall Street. His works in independent practice were few, mainly alterations for Dundee Eastern Co-operative Society in Peter Street and elsewhere. He died in January 1939.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 2Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness   
Item 2 of 222, Euclid Crescent, Dundee, ScotlandBusiness1876 From 1876 onwards

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 2Alexander McCulloch1876c. 1880Partner 
Item 2 of 2James Graham Fairley1876c. 1880Partner 

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 61875Victoria Hall  DundeeScotland 
Item 2 of 61876Rattray Street Baptist Church  DundeeScotland 
Item 3 of 61876Trinity EU Church  DundeeScotland 
Item 4 of 61877Improvement Act Tenements, Victoria Road  DundeeScotlandExecuted Aitken's design
Item 5 of 61877Tenement, Victoria Road  DundeeScotland 
Item 6 of 61877Tenement, Victoria Road and Infirmary Lane  DundeeScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 2Post Office Directories     
Item 2 of 2Who's Who in Architecture1923    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder17 April 1934  Obituary of Fairley
Item 2 of 4RIBA Journal7 July 1934v41London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp890 - obituary of Fairley
Item 3 of 4Scotsman16 April 1934  Obituary of Fairley
Item 4 of 4The Piper of Dundee*  Biography of McCulloch - CHECK date

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Personal information on Alexander McCulloch from Harry Band