Basic Biographical Details

Name: George McLean Ford
Designation: Architect
Born: 1867
Died: September 1921
Bio Notes: George McLean Ford was born in 1867 and was articled in August 1884 to Shiells and Thomson of Edinburgh, from which office he joined that of James Bow Dunn as assistant. During this period he attended classes at the Edinburgh School of Art and at the University of Edinburgh under Professor Baldwin Brown. In 1889 he moved to London to work for John Birch, whose practice was mainly domestic. This enabled him to take classes at the Architectural Association and at the South Kensington Schools. He passed the qualifying exam in 1892 and was admitted ARIBA on 21 November that year, his proposers being Leonard Stokes, Arthur Cates and Edward Augustus Gruning. His nomination papers state that he had carried out 'several small works situated principally in Edinburgh & Leith', although none of these has yet been identified. Around 1894 he moved to the office of Goymour Cuthbert, whose main output was banking premises.

In 1898 Ford commenced practice on his own account at 10 Walbrook, London, entering into partnership with Ernest Augustus Runtz (born 1859), who had practised as a surveyor only until the previous year. Albert Charles Breden also became a partner at that time but died in January 1903. (Sources are unclear about the partnerships in which Runtz Ford and Breden were involved. Some indicate that Runtz and Breden were in partnership until 1903 when the latter died and Ford was taken into partnership the following year. However others indicate that Ford was in partnership with Runtz prior to Breden being absorbed). The firm specialised in theatre work. Ford and Runtz were both admitted FRIBA in 1908, Ford's proposers being Andrew Noble Prentice, John Glen Sivewright Gibson and John Murray (presumably John Campbell Turner Murray).

Runtz was the most high-profile casualty of the Finance Act of 1909 which, as he himself observed, had made 'real property an unpopular and uncertain investment', but his financial problems had begun several years earlier. From 1897 until 1906 his earnings from his practice had averaged 2,500 to 3,000 per annum, but in 1907 the Law Guarantee & Accident Society failed, resulting in a loss of 600 per annum in fees. In 1908 he had to resign from the board of the Birkbeck Bank, of which he had been a director since 1888, 'as a consequence of his losing an action brought by him as trustee against the other directors'. This resulted in his losing a further 600 per annum and incurring legal costs. Runtz's practice had several significant commissions in 1908, but in the following year a second major client, the New London Discount Company, failed, apparently owing significant sums, and on 7 September Ford withdrew from the partnership which was to show a loss of 406 for that year. Ford continued to practise independently thereafter from the same office at 30 Bernard Street, Russell Square, where he remained until at least 1914. He died in 1921.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 330, Bernard Street, Russell Square, London WC, EnglandPrivateBefore 1892After 1914 
Item 2 of 310, Walbrook, London, EnglandBusiness1898After 1908 
Item 3 of 3Bank Chambers/329, Holloway, London, EnglandBusiness1921  

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 6Shiells & ThomsonAugust 18841888 or 1889Apprentice 
Item 2 of 6James Bow Dunn1888 or 18891889Assistant 
Item 3 of 6John Birch1889c. 1894Assistant 
Item 4 of 6Goymour Cuthbertc. 18941898Assistant 
Item 5 of 6Ernest Runtz & BredenAfter 1898(?)After 1908(?)PartnerSources vary about when Ford became a partner
Item 6 of 6Ernest Runtz & Ford19047 September 1909Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6Arthur Cates21 November 1892for Associateship
Item 2 of 6James Glen Sivewright Gibson1 June 1908for Fellowship
Item 3 of 6Edward Augustus Gruning21 November 1892for Associateship
Item 4 of 6John Campbell Turner Murray1 June 1908for Fellowship
Item 5 of 6Andrew Noble Prentice1 June 1908for Fellowship
Item 6 of 6Leonard Aloysius Scott Stokes21 November 1892for 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 11900Glasgow Central Stores  GlasgowScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 2Pike, W T London  p250

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Builder16 September 1921v121 p342 - obituary
Item 2 of 3RIBA Journal24 September 1921v28London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp396 - obituary
Item 3 of 3The Times8 September 1909  Notice of dissolution of Runtz & Ford partnership

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A v12 p19 (microfiche 52/F2); F v20 no1413 (microfilm reel 13)