Basic Biographical Details

Name: George Smith
Designation: Architect
Born: 2 February 1793
Died: 28 October 1877
Bio Notes: George Smith was born in Aberdeen on 2 February 1793, the son of George Smith and Jean Watson. In 1808 he was articled to David Hamilton for five years and spent four 'seasons' (summers?) lining out their new streets in Aberdeen. In 1818 he advertised his services as an architect there and opened a drawing academy, but finding it impossible to compete with John Smith and Archibald Simpson he moved to Edinburgh to work for William Burn as principal clerk in 1823. At that stage his lack of actual building experience showed; Burn sacked him at the end of 1826 as 'ignorant and useless' and Smith set up practice on his own account in Edinburgh on 1 January 1827 with David Rhind as a pupil, Smith's 'Elements of Architecture' for the students at the Edinburgh School of Arts being published in that same year. It was followed by a second related publication 'Essay on the Durability of Scottish Building Stones' and as a further piece exhibited a picture of Egyptian ruins and a design for a new infirmary at the RSA.

The contacts Smith made working for Burn in Dundee proved useful and he was successful at once, securing commissions there for a coffee room and a hotel, while his street planning experience in Aberdeen brought that for the layout of Woodlands Hill in Glasgow. Following the dismissal of Thomas Hamilton he applied for the salaried post of architect to the Edinburgh Improvement Commissioners on 1 April 1833 and was appointed in 1834. In that same year he won a competition sponsored by the Highland Society for the design of 'Cottages for the labouring classes' and published his designs as 'Essay on the Construction of Cottages suited for the Dwellings of the labouring Classes illustrated by Working Plans'. From about 1860 Smith was in partnership with Henry Hardy. He retired in the mid-1870s and died at Burley Lodge, Trinity, on 28 October 1877. He was buried in Warriston Cemetery. His wife Catherine Erskine survived him, dying on 6 November 1884 in Jedburgh.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 536, Albany Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1828 *c. 1833 
Item 2 of 58, Wemyss Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1834c. 1844 
Item 3 of 518, Great King Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1846c. 1855 
Item 4 of 57, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1863c. 1875 
Item 5 of 5Burley Lodge, Trinity, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivatec. 18732 October 1877Place of death

* 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 1Smith & Hardyc. 1860c. 1875Partner 

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 2Walter Scott  Apprentice 
Item 2 of 2David Rhind1827 or 1828 or 1829c. 1830Apprentice 

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 47 Royal Medical Society  EdinburghScotlandCentral Section
Item 2 of 471820Music Hall  AberdeenScotlandPlans for music hall - not selected
Item 3 of 471828Exchange Coffee Room  DundeeScotland 
Item 4 of 471828New Infirmary for Edinburgh  EdinburghScotlandDesign exhibited (design presumably speculative)
Item 5 of 471828St Mary's Parish SchoolCanonmills EdinburghScotland 
Item 6 of 471829Johnston CottageAnstruther FifeScotland 
Item 7 of 471829Tayfield HouseNewport-on-Tay FifeScotlandReconstructed and much enlarged
Item 8 of 471829Union Bank Headquarters  GlasgowScotland 
Item 9 of 471829Watt Monument  EdinburghScotlandDesign exhibited
Item 10 of 471830Layout of the lands of South Woodside and ClairmontWoodlands Hill GlasgowScotlandIn collaboration with John Baird Primus
Item 11 of 471831Schaw's HospitalPreston East LothianScotlandSuperseded design by William Burn
Item 12 of 471831Woodside CrescentWoodlands Hill GlasgowScotlandIn collaboration with John Baird Primus
Item 13 of 471832Bazaar and market, Wemyss Place  EdinburghScotlandOriginal building
Item 14 of 47November 1832Straiton House  EdinburghScotlandDrawings dated
Item 15 of 47Before 1833Union Hotel  DundeeScotland 
Item 16 of 471835(?)Greenknowe FarmhouseDuns BerwickshireScotland 
Item 17 of 471835Kimmerghame House, and lodgeDuns BerwickshireScotlandNorth Lodge built
Item 18 of 471835St Paul's Church  EdinburghScotland 
Item 19 of 471835St Stephen's School  EdinburghScotland 
Item 20 of 471835Tenement, 104 St Stephen Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 21 of 471835Woodside Terrace  GlasgowScotlandIn collaboration with John Baird Primus
Item 22 of 471837Caledonia Place  GlasgowScotlandIn collaboration wih John Baird Primus
Item 23 of 471837Garden Cemetery  EdinburghScotlandCompetition design (?) exhibited
Item 24 of 471837Melbourne Place  EdinburghScotland 
Item 25 of 471838St John's Church and School  EdinburghScotland 
Item 26 of 471838Woodside Place  GlasgowScotlandIn collaboration with John Baird Primus
Item 27 of 471839Buccleuch School  EdinburghScotland 
Item 28 of 471840Riddle's Court and Close, 322-328 Lawnmarket and 5-6 Victoria Terrace  EdinburghScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 29 of 471840Victoria Street and Terrace, Upper Section, Mechanics Library  EdinburghScotland 
Item 30 of 47184338-46 Victoria Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 31 of 471844Normal School  EdinburghScotland 
Item 32 of 471845Commercial building, 186-188 High Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 33 of 471845Lynedoch Place and Lynedoch Crescent  GlasgowScotland 
Item 34 of 471845Victoria Street and Terrace, lower section  EdinburghScotland 
Item 35 of 47c. 1845Moses Jacob's shop  EdinburghScotland 
Item 36 of 47c. 1845Tenement, 21-25 George IV Bridge  EdinburghScotland 
Item 37 of 47184837-65 Lothian Road  EdinburghScotlandDesigns made - executed in the 1860s
Item 38 of 471848Middle Meadow Walk gatepiers  EdinburghScotland 
Item 39 of 47185087 West Bow  EdinburghScotland 
Item 40 of 47c. 185031-39 George IV Bridge  EdinburghScotlandHS List gives Smith & Hardy but this partnership is not believed to have commenced until c.1860
Item 41 of 47185222 Queen Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 42 of 471853Rentons, 10-15 Princes Street  EdinburghScotlandProposal for erection of a large new building on West Register Street to expand existing building
Item 43 of 471856Kirkcaldy Old Parish Church ManseKirkcaldy FifeScotlandStructural repairs, including underpinning of walls
Item 44 of 471857Aberdeen Grammar School  AberdeenScotlandCompetition design - first premium (100), but commission went to James Matthews
Item 45 of 471862Houses, 1-13 Johnston Terrace  EdinburghScotlandThe first three bays to left at Johnston Terrace
Item 46 of 47186416 Johnston Terrace and houses on Castle Wynd  EdinburghScotlandPerhaps overall reponsibility as Hardy & Smith were the architects to the City Improvement Trust, who controlled the feus
Item 47 of 471877Newport Bowling ClubhouseNewport-on-Tay FifeScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 3Post Office Directories     
Item 2 of 3Pride, Glen L1999The Kingdom of Fife2nd EditionThe Rutland Pressp151
Item 3 of 3Scotlands People Website Wills & Testaments  Edinburgh Sheriff Court Inventories Sc70/1/232 and Sc70/1/186 and Wills Sc70/4/170

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Edinburgh City ArchivesLetter from George Smith to Sir James Gibson Craig of Riccarton 1 April 1833