Basic Biographical Details

Name: Johnston & Baxter
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1899
Ended: After 1959
Bio Notes: Born in 1839, Alexander Johnston appears to have been an assistant of Peddie & Kinnear, coming to Dundee in the later 1860s to supervise the building of Morgan's Hospital and of Mayfield for Francis Mollison and possibly other Peddie & Kinnear projects in the Dundee area. He made a favourable impression on the related Molison and Baxter families, and they promised him their support much as the Gilroys were to do later with John Murray Robertson at Castleroy. He opened an office in Reform Street in 1867 and from the partners of Baxter Brothers Johnston extended his influence to the local clergy, the Royal Infirmary and to the whisky blenders so that in David William Baxter's words it was 'all kirks and whisky bonds.' Baxter described his partner as really a Renaissance man compelled by the nature of his practice to become a Gothic designer, the earlier churches, which show the influence of Peddie and Kinnear's plate traceried churches of the 1860s being more interesting.

David William Baxter was born in Dundee on 24 March 1874 and was articled to Alexander Johnston from 1889 to 1893 and remained as an assistant for a further year, attending classes at University College and the Technical Institute. In 1894 Johnston arranged Baxter's transfer to John Murray Robertson's office to gain more up-to-date experience, but at a chance meeting in Reform Street in 1896 told him that he had better come back as prospective partner. He became a full partner at the beginning of 1899. Baxter designed all the work of the firm thereafter, also providing architectural services for his brother George, who was the city's water engineer, at Lintrathen and other sites as well as within the city itself. He was admitted LRIBA on 24 June 1912.

David William Baxter subsequently set up a branch office in Blairgowrie from which he latterly practised almost exclusively, with a house at Rosemount, the Dundee practice being in the hands of his son David William Baxter Junior (born 1906). The younger Baxter had not served his apprenticeship in his father's practice but instead had been articled to Mills & Shepherd from 1924 to 1929, attending evening classes at Dundee Technical College followed by a correspondence course through the Institute of Chartered Surveyors. He had remained with the same firm as junior assistant for a year after completing his apprenticeship, transferring in 1930 to his father's office. In the autumn of 1931 he travelled to Spain to study architecture, and in the same year took up a junior partnership in his father's practice, being left in charge of the Dundee office after his father opened a branch office in Blairgowrie.

David William Baxter Junior was commissioned in the Lands Branch of the Scottish Command in 1940, reaching the rank of Captain, but returned to the family firm after the war was over. He was admitted LRIBA on 16 December 1945, his proposers being John Donald Mills, John Ross McKay and Robert Stirling Reid. His nomination papers state that whilst in his father's firm to that date he had worked on additions to hospitals as well as factories, schools, housing schemes and domestic buildings.

A younger son or nephew, James Russell Baxter, was in the practice for a time, but post-war practice in Dundee had little appeal for him and he emigrated to recommence practice on his own account at Kitimat, British Columbia.

The elder Baxter retired from active practice in 1954 and died at Pinewood on 13 November 1957. He was survived by his wife, three sons and two daughters. In person he was of average height, always very focussed and forthright in manner. Assistants remembered him as a very fast worker with an uncanny accuracy in estimating measurement in surveys. Although he lived on the edge of a golf course his only recreation was angling.

The younger Baxter continued the practice after his father's retirement. It became Baxter, Clark & Paul after James Clark and James Paul were taken into partnership in 1989.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 4Reform Street, Dundee, ScotlandBusiness   
Item 2 of 4Blairgowrie, Perthshire, ScotlandBusinessAfter 1912  
Item 3 of 449, Meadowside, Dundee, ScotlandBusinessBefore 19121953 
Item 4 of 4114, Seagate, Dundee, ScotlandBusiness19291930 or 1931As the Builder 18 Oct 1929. Temporary address while 49 Meadowside being modernised

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 10Alexander Johnston1899 Partner 
Item 2 of 10David William Baxter18991954Partner 
Item 3 of 10David William Baxter (junior)19301931Assistant 
Item 4 of 10George Wilson FlemingOctober 1930September 1934Apprentice 
Item 5 of 10David William Baxter (junior)1931After 1945PartnerWith the exception of war service
Item 6 of 10William Lamond Galloway19391940Junior Assistant 
Item 7 of 10James Russell Baxter1945(?)1952(?)  
Item 8 of 10John Stewart Clark19541959Senior Architect 
Item 9 of 10(Professor) James Paul1959 Architect 
Item 10 of 10John Stewart Clark19591962Partner 

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 411898Church and Church hall, ClepingtonClepington DundeeScotland 
Item 2 of 411899Barnhill Convalescent HomeBarnhill DundeeScotlandExtensions
Item 3 of 411899Barry Golf Course and ClubhouseBarry AngusScotland 
Item 4 of 411899Errol fountain and market crossErrol PerthshireScotland 
Item 5 of 411899Errol Park House stablesErrol PerthshireScotlandAddition of octagonal top storey
Item 6 of 411899IslabankBarnhill DundeeScotland 
Item 7 of 411900Alyth Parish ChurchAlyth PerthshireScotlandNew organ case
Item 8 of 411900Foresters' Halls  DundeeScotland 
Item 9 of 411900TircarraBarnhill DundeeScotlandNew wing and two lodges
Item 10 of 411901James Keiller & Sons Factory  DundeeScotlandGateway and extensive additions
Item 11 of 411901Newport-on-Tay Parish Church and ManseNewport-on-Tay FifeScotlandExtension to church and new manse
Item 12 of 411901St Michael's Church  DundeeScotlandAdditions and alterations
Item 13 of 411902St Thomas ChurchBalgay DundeeScotland 
Item 14 of 41c. 1903Dundee Savings BankLochee DundeeScotland 
Item 15 of 411904Ardvorlich  DundeeScotland 
Item 16 of 411904Villa for Malcolm, Forthill RoadBroughty Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 17 of 411905BalmyleWest Ferry DundeeScotlandRebuilding
Item 18 of 411906Dundee Savings BankHilltown DundeeScotland 
Item 19 of 411906Gagie Lodge, filters and aqueductGagie AngusScotlandDavid William Baxter assisted his brother George with the architectural detail of filters and well tower
Item 20 of 411906Robertson's Bond, Candle Lane  DundeeScotland 
Item 21 of 411906Watson's Bond  DundeeScotland 
Item 22 of 41c. 1906James Keiller & Sons Shop  DundeeScotland 
Item 23 of 411907Beach Mission Church HallBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandAddition of hall
Item 24 of 411907ClaremontWest Ferry DundeeScotlandAddition of eastern bay, including new entrance porch
Item 25 of 411907Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds Building  DundeeScotland 
Item 26 of 411910Vernonholme house and lodge  DundeeScotland 
Item 27 of 41Before 1912South SchoolBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandAdditions
Item 28 of 41Before 1912Victoria Church  Dundee?Scotland 
Item 29 of 41Before 1912West SchoolWest Ferry DundeeScotlandAdditions
Item 30 of 411913Dundee Savings Bank, Eastern Branch  DundeeScotland 
Item 31 of 411919Housing Estate for Corporation of Dundee, Strathmore Avenue Area  DundeeScotland 
Item 32 of 411925Cottage for J Cree, Blackness Road   DundeeScotland 
Item 33 of 411929House for John Cree, Glamis Drive  DundeeScotland 
Item 34 of 411930Dundee Royal Infirmary, Caird Cancer Pavilion  DundeeScotlandSE additions
Item 35 of 411930Premises of M Lowrie  DundeeScotland 
Item 36 of 41c. 1930Dudhope House  DundeeScotlandW extension
Item 37 of 411932Dalgleish Nursing Home  DundeeScotlandExtension
Item 38 of 411938Alexandra Street Housing Estate at AlythAlyth PerthshireScotland 
Item 39 of 411939Blairgowrie Public SchoolBlairgowrie PerthshireScotlandNew block
Item 40 of 411951Dundee Royal infirmary, Radiodiagnostic Department  DundeeScotlandPrepared plans
Item 41 of 411962Housing at SE corner of Ardler estateArdler DundeeScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 1Bailey, Rebecca M1996Scottish architects' papers: a source book Edinburgh: The Rutland Press 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Builder30 November 1951  p773
Item 2 of 2Builder22 November 1957  p924 - obituary of Baxter

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 from David Baxter