Basic Biographical Details

Name: Robert Keith & Son
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1906
Ended: February 1914
Bio Notes: Robert Keith was born at Drumsturdy in 1848. He began his working life as a country mason but came to Dundee when he was eighteen, took classes at the Government School of Design and commenced business as an architect in 1872, initially in association with a very able draughtsman J F Anderson who seems to have provided freelance architectural service to the engineering drawing offices in the town as and when required. Anderson's background has never been established.

Keith took an active part in public life. He became a town councillor and a 'hard' baillie whose sentences 'generally met the ends of justice': his position as a magistrate was said to have secured numerous commissions from the licensed trade and for a time he was also a police commissioner for Broughty Ferry, although that does not seem to have brought much business. The mainstay of the practice was production line tenement-building, particularly in Lilybank, Watson Street, Arbroath Road and Springhill, Hilltown, Hawkhill and Lockie Road.

In 1897 Robert Keith's son, William Bruce Dickie Keith, born in 1881 joined the practice as an apprentice, taking classes at University College Dundee and the Young Men's Christian Institute: it is not as yet clear what the latter were as most other Dundee apprentices attended Patrick Hill Thoms' classes at the Technical Institute. Although the practice was then at a low ebb, William was taken into the partnership in 1906 and was admitted LRIBA on 24 June 1912. He was described by his contemporaries as a good draughtsman but not an especially able designer.

Robert Keith died in February 1914. After his father's death William relied considerably on evening and weekend help from Vernon Constable and James McLellan Brown, both city employees. He closed the practice c.1928 and emigrated to Australia.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 210, Whitehall Street, Dundee, ScotlandBusinessBefore 19101914(?) 
Item 2 of 215, Castle Street, Dundee, ScotlandBusiness1914 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 3Robert Keith1906February 1914Partner 
Item 2 of 3William Bruce Dickie Keith1906February 1914Partner 
Item 3 of 3James Reid19091914Apprentice 

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 121901Camelon Institute Stirling StirlingshireScotland 
Item 2 of 12c. 1909St Mark's Manse  DundeeScotlandRedecoration
Item 3 of 121911BankMeigle PerthshireScotlandExtensive alterations
Item 4 of 121911C Patterson's Property  DundeeScotland 
Item 5 of 121911HotelLerwickMainlandShetlandScotlandAlterations
Item 6 of 121911Improvement scheme in High Street  DundeeScotlandLarge improvement scheme at west end of High Street
Item 7 of 121911Kemback Parish Church and manseKemback FifeScotlandDecoration and taking in water supply
Item 8 of 121911Wishart Memorial Church  DundeeScotlandDecoration
Item 9 of 12c. 1911St Mark's Greenfield Church  DundeeScotlandRestoration
Item 10 of 121913House on Farington Hall estate  DundeeScotland 
Item 11 of 121913Villa, Americanmuir Road  DundeeScotland 
Item 12 of 121914Harris Academy, Park Place  DundeeScotlandExtension proposed but not built because of the war.


Currently, there are no references for this architectural practice. The information has been derived from: the British Architectural Library / RIBA Directory of British Architects 1834-1914; Post Office Directories; and/or any sources listed under this individual's works.