Basic Biographical Details

Name: David Paton Low
Designation: Architect
Born: 1827
Died: 23 December 1910
Bio Notes: David Paton Low was born at Kirkton Mains Farm or Mains of Strathmartin, near Dundee, in 1827, the son of David Low, farmer and Margaret Paton. He worked in the office of an unspecified Dundee architect and in either 1858 or 1863 (sources vary) won the Soane Medallion - only the second Scot to do so (James Maclaren, also from Dundee had been the first in 1850) - with a design for a marine sanatorium. This award enabled him to study classical architecture in Italy, commemorated by an ambitious watercolour, 'The Cosmical Development of Gothic and Classic Architecture during the Pagan and Christian Eras'.

In 1859 he formed a partnership, perhaps a tentative one, with John Haig, their office being at 149 West George Street, Glasgow. Haig & Low immediately achieved prominence when they won third place in the Wallace Monument competition in that year. In 1862 Low took leave of absence from the partnership to gain experience in London with the object of challenging comparison with any of the leading architects in Scotland, obtaining a place in the office of 'Mr Godwin' (presumably George rather than Edward William).

Although the partnership's East Campbell Street Church, Glasgow of 1862-64 was an extremely accomplished cinquecento design, its early success was not sustained. They had few clients and Low's ambitious proposal to rebuild St Mary's Church ni Buchanan Street as municipal buildings as an alternative to Clarke & Bell's Ingram Street scheme does not seem to have been taken seriously. A misreading of the practice title appears to have caused the firm to be misrecorded as Hay & Son in the 'Architect's, Engineer's and Building Trades' Directory' of 1868, when they were still at 149 West George Street; the following year they were based at 94 West Regent Street.

In 1875 they moved their practice to Alexander Thomson's building at 122 Wellington Street but within a year the partnership had been dissolved, Haig returning to their former office at 108 Hope Street to continue practice there and Low opening another office at 219 Hope Street, where he practised as a watercolour painter as well as an architect. In 1883, in what was probably a reprise of his municipal buildings, he exhibited a scheme for demolishing St George's Church and turning its tower into a triumphal arch. It was his last exhibit, although he was not to retire until 1889.

Low was a member of the Fine Art Institute in Glasgow and an active member of the Angus & Mearns Benevolent Association, which suggests that he may have had some private means. He married Margaret M Batchelor of Dundee (born c.1829).

He died of arterial sclerosis at 38 Landsdowne Crescent, Glasgow on 23 December 1910, aged eighty-two, leaving two married daughters, one of whom, Annie R Low, had been born c.1870 and was living in the parental home at the time of the 1891 census.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 8149, West George Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18591868 or 1869 
Item 2 of 894, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1868 or 1869  
Item 3 of 8122, Wellington Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1874 *  
Item 4 of 8108, Hope Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1875 *  
Item 5 of 8219, Hope Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1879After 1889 
Item 6 of 813, Bothwell Terrace, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1880 *  
Item 7 of 823, Lansdowne Crescent, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1888 *1894 
Item 8 of 838, Lansdowne Crescent, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivateBefore 18991910 

* 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 2Haig & Low18591875 or 1876Partner 
Item 2 of 2George Godwin1862(?) Assistant(?)Low worked for 'Mr Godwin', probably George Godwin

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 151858Design for a marine sanatorium   Scotland 
Item 2 of 151858Elmbank Place  GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 151859Elmbank Place  GlasgowScotland 
Item 4 of 151859Manchester Assize Courts  ManchesterEnglandCompetition design - unplaced
Item 5 of 151859Wallace MonumentAbbey Craig StirlingshireScotlandCompetition design - placed third
Item 6 of 151860Kirkcudbright Public RoomsKirkcudbright KirkcudbrightshireScotlandPlaced first in competition (20 premium) but not built
Item 7 of 151862East Campbell Street UP Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 151862Lansdowne UP Church  GlasgowScotlandUnsuccessful competition design
Item 9 of 15c. 1870St George's Tron Church  GlasgowScotlandProposal by Low to reconstruct it as a municipal building
Item 10 of 151872Dick & Stevenson Building (Scottish Lands and Buildings Company)  GlasgowScotlandDesigns drawn
Item 11 of 15c. 1880Glasgow Municipal Buildings  GlasgowScotlandCompetition design entered under the pseudonym George
Item 12 of 151881Statue of Reverend Norman MacLeod  GlasgowScotlandDesign of plinth
Item 13 of 151882Fairfield House HotelAyr AyrshireScotlandAcquired lands and built house for himself
Item 14 of 151883St George's Church  GlasgowScotlandFront re-designed 'for triumphal arch' (body of church to be demolished)
Item 15 of 15c. 1895(?)520 Sauchiehall Street and 341 Renfrew Street  GlasgowScotlandPiano showroom (probably c.1895)


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 1Post Office Directories     

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Builder31 December 1910v 99 p813 - obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Research by Iain Paterson