Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Smith II
Designation: Architect
Born: 16 September 1817
Died: 22 December 1891
Bio Notes: William Smith II was the fourth of John Smith and Margaret Grant's eight children, born 16 September 1817. He was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and at Marischal College where he graduated MA. During that period he studied sketching and watercolour under James Giles. Thereafter he was articled to his father, working alongside Robert Kerr, the future Professor of Architecture at King's College in London. Smith subsequently spent eighteen months in London as assistant to Thomas Leverton Donaldson in whose office he had the opportunity to study the extensive library and classical antiquities that the latter had collected. He may have attended Donaldson's classes at University College as he was admitted ARIBA on 25 July 1842, his proposers being Donaldson, Samuel Angell and George Bailey. At that date he appears to have been back in Aberdeen, but shortly thereafter he embarked on a tour of Italy and of Greece which lasted almost two years. He returned to his father's office as senior assistant and became his partner in 1845. This enabled him to marry on 2 July 1846 Mary Blaikie, born 27 September 1826 and one of the five children of Dr Patrick Blaikie RN who came of a prominent family of ironmasters in Aberdeen, Blaikie Brothers. Family photographs show that she remained a beautiful woman in middle age. Smith's father having gone into semi-retirement at Rosebank, they set up house at 142 King Street.

William Smith's first major commission was Trinity Hall, Union Street, Aberdeen, in 1846. Its adaptation of neo-Tudor to granite attracted the attention of the Prince Consort who in 1848 commissioned J & W Smith to reconstruct and enlarge old Balmoral Castle to which the elder Smith had built an addition in 1834-39. That commission did not proceed beyond the sketch plan stage but when the commission extended to a completely new house in 1852 their appointment attracted the attention of William Burn. Recent research by Paul Bradley has shown that Burn obtained an interview with the Prince Consort, probably to complain that the elder Smith had unprofessionally displaced him at Robert Gordon's College and at Fintray and had plagiarised his designs at Menie and elsewhere. Smith nevertheless retained the confidence of the Prince Consort and the construction of the castle in 1853-59 was followed by other buildings on the estate. By 1852 he had also officially succeeded to his father's post as Superintendent of the Town's Works, having taken on increasing amounts of work in an unofficial capacity during his father's latter years of declining health.

William Smith and Mary Blaikie had sixteen children. All eight of their surviving children were sent to the University of Aberdeen. Only the eldest, John, born 5 July 1847 became an architect. John Smith II is said to have been of 'gentle disposition and retiring habits' and 'not a man of robust frame…his health was on the whole delicate'. He married Helen Elsmie Hall, daughter of John Hall, merchant and sister of the prominent Aberdeen advocate Harvey Hall, and was taken into partnership in or about 1880, the practice title becoming W & J Smith. Like William and Mary Smith before them, John and his wife set up house at 142 Great King Street. They had three sons and a surviving daughter who were aged 8, 6, 4 and 2 when John Smith died suddenly on 11 April 1887 after a long period of declining health, leaving 'absolutely no money at all'. When they grew up all three sons entered bank service since a university education could not be afforded, thus bringing the Smith dynasty of architects to a close. Shortly after John's death William Smith merged his practice with that of his former pupil William Kelly, the practice name now becoming W & J Smith & Kelly.

This partnership was dissolved just before William Smith died at 142 King Street on 22 December 1891, saddened not only by the death of his son but also by that of his wife who had predeceased him on 21 January 1883. During his short final illness he was cared for by his son Dr Patrick Blaikie Smith, later of San Remo. His moveable estate was a surprisingly modest £1026 5s 8d, although he may have owned some property beyond the houses and yard in King Street. In politics he was described as being conservative and he 'shrank from publicity…present day methods of gaining popularity were foreign to his disposition.' Principal Cooper described him as having a 'high bred courtesy' and 'a reticence to the point of shyness'. It was perhaps these qualities which lost him the commission for Aberdeen Sheriff Court in the limited competition of 1861 set up between himself, James Matthews and the Edinburgh practice of Peddie & Kinnear. That project subsequently grew into that for Aberdeen Municipal Buildings and was the major disappointment of his career. His interests outwith architecture were music, children and animals. Dogs figure importantly in family photographs and either he or his son of the same name appears to have been the author of a book entitled 'The uses and abuses of domestic animals'. None of his daughters married and they were said to have led a somewhat impoverished existence after his death, dependent on the support of their surviving brothers, all of whom had successful careers.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1142, King Street, Aberdeen, ScotlandPrivate18461891 

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 7John SmithAfter 1830Before 1844Apprentice 
Item 2 of 7Thomas Leverton DonaldsonAfter 1835Before 1844Assistant 
Item 3 of 7John Smith18441845Senior Assistant 
Item 4 of 7J & W Smith18451879Partner 
Item 5 of 7Aberdeen City Architect's Department (later City of Aberdeen District Council Architects Division)185222 December 1891Chief ArchitectCity Architect (Superintendent of the Town's Works). Death date given as date of termination
Item 6 of 7W & J Smith18791887Senior Partner 
Item 7 of 7W & J Smith and Kelly18871891Partner 

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 2(Sir) Andrew Thomas Taylor1870 or 18711871 or 1872Assistant 
Item 2 of 2John Melville Keith18771882Apprentice 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Samuel Angell25 July 1842for Associateship
Item 2 of 3George Bailey25 July 1842for Associateship
Item 3 of 3Thomas Leverton Donaldson25 July 1842for 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 150 Edgehill House  AberdeenScotlandDate unknown
Item 2 of 1501844New Deer SchoolNew Deer AberdeenshireScotlandMay be the architect with his father
Item 3 of 1501845Fraserburgh PrisonFraserburgh AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 4 of 1501845Haddo HouseHaddo/Methlick AberdeenshireScotlandSouth lodge, the Avenue with pair of stags, urn etc - see separate entries for golden gates, lodges etc
Item 5 of 1501845Huntly Police Office PrisonHuntly AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 6 of 150After 1845(?)Union Bank  AberdeenScotlandAddition to Marischal Street
Item 7 of 150c. 1845Haddo Estate, South LodgeHaddo AberdeenshireScotland'Probably' (HS)
Item 8 of 150c. 1845Leochel Cushnie ManseLeochel Cushnie AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 9 of 150c. 1845MansePeterhead AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 10 of 1501846Kincardine O'Neil ChurchKincardine O'Neil AberdeenshireScotlandRepairs
Item 11 of 1501846Tarland ManseTarland AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 12 of 1501846Trinity Hall  AberdeenScotlandOriginal building
Item 13 of 1501847Auchaber ManseForgue AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 14 of 1501847Auchiries SchoolCruden AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 15 of 1501847Bogbrae SchoolCruden Aberdeenshire?Scotland 
Item 16 of 1501847Cluny SchoolCluny AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 17 of 1501847Forgue Free ManseForgue AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 18 of 1501847Haddo Estate, monument terminating avenue east south east of houseHaddo AberdeenshireScotland'Probably' (HS)
Item 19 of 1501847King Street Iron Works  AberdeenScotland 
Item 20 of 1501847Kirkville HouseSkene AberdeenshireScotlandAdditions
Item 21 of 1501847Tarves ManseTarves AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 22 of 150c. 1847Haddo Estate, gates on avenue (the 'golden gates')Haddo AberdeenshireScotland'Probably' (HS)
Item 23 of 1501848Balmoral IBalmoral AberdeenshireScotlandLarge unexecuted scheme for remodelling and enlargement
Item 24 of 1501848Savoch of Deer ManseSavoch of Deer AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 25 of 1501849Badentoy Mansion House and OfficesBanchory KincardineshireScotland 
Item 26 of 1501849Balmoral Castle, ice house  AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 27 of 1501850Balmoral Castle, venison larderBalmoral AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 28 of 1501850Bridge of Dyce  AberdeenshireScotlandRebuilding
Item 29 of 1501850Fintray School and SchoolhouseFintray AberdeenshireScotlandAddition to schoolhouse
Item 30 of 150c. 1850KirkhillOld Meldrum / Oldmeldrum AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 31 of 150c. 1850Learney House  AberdeenshireScotlandPotting shed
Item 32 of 1501851Balmoral Castle, pony stables  AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 33 of 1501851Fintray ManseFintray AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 34 of 1501851Udny Manse and OfficesUdny AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 35 of 1501852Balmoral CastleBalmoral AberdeenshireScotlandOriginal castle with Prince Albert
Item 36 of 1501852Medico-Chirurgical Society Hall  AberdeenScotlandAdditions
Item 37 of 1501852Rathen Manse and OfficesRathen AberdeenshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 38 of 150Before 1852173 Union Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 39 of 150Before 1852Blackhall CastleBanchory (near) KincardineshireScotlandAlterations to previous house on the same site
Item 40 of 150Before 1852Brucklay Bridge over the water of Fedderate  AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 41 of 150Before 1852Drumside House   Scotland 
Item 42 of 150Before 1852Footdee RopeworksFootdee AberdeenScotland 
Item 43 of 150Before 1852House for Baillie Stewart on Union Street  AberdeenScotlandPossibly involved
Item 44 of 150Before 1852House for Gavin Hadden at Union Grove  AberdeenScotlandPossibly involved
Item 45 of 150185360-62 Bon Accord Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 46 of 1501853Alexander Scott's HospitalHuntly AberdeenshireScotlandOriginal building
Item 47 of 1501853House at GovalDyce AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 48 of 1501854Town and County BankStonehaven KincardineshireScotland 
Item 49 of 1501855Clarence Street Extension, Waterloo Quay to St Clement Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 50 of 1501855Echt Parish ManseEcht AberdeenshireScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 51 of 1501855Garmaddie CottageCrathie AberdeenshireScotland'Probably' (HS)
Item 52 of 1501855Savoch of Deer SchoolSavoch of Deer AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 53 of 1501857Balmoral Castle, stables, coach house and estates officeBalmoral AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 54 of 1501857Union BankFraserburgh AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 55 of 1501858Aberdeen Town and County BankAlford AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 56 of 1501858Balmoral Castle, gate lodge  AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 57 of 1501858Balmoral, entrance gates and gatepiers  AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 58 of 1501858City of Glasgow Bank  AberdeenScotland 
Item 59 of 1501858Union BankPeterhead AberdeenshireScotlandPerhaps by Smith
Item 60 of 150Before 1858The CroftBalmoral AberdeenshireScotlandKnown to have made a design for this
Item 61 of 1501859Drummuir Home FarmDrummuir BanffshireScotland 
Item 62 of 1501859Dunecht House (including chapel)Echt AberdeenshireScotlandLarge additions and probably gates at south lodge
Item 63 of 1501859Dunecht House, South LodgeEcht AberdeenshireScotlandGates - 'probably' by William Smith (HS)
Item 64 of 1501859Larachmore HouseStrachan KincardineshireScotland 
Item 65 of 1501859Miller's InstitutionThurso CaithnessScotland 
Item 66 of 1501859RhebreckEaster Balmoral AberdeenshireScotlandHS indicates the design was perhaps by Smith.
Item 67 of 1501860Alexander Scott's HospitalHuntly AberdeenshireScotlandWest wing
Item 68 of 1501860Anderson InstituteLerwickMainlandShetlandScotland 
Item 69 of 1501860Educational InstituteLerwickMainlandShetlandScotland 
Item 70 of 1501860Methlick ManseMethlick AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 71 of 1501860St Fergus ManseSt Fergus AberdeenshireScotlandAdditions
Item 72 of 1501861Brig O' Balgownie over the River Don  AberdeenScotlandRepairs
Item 73 of 1501861Old Meldrum Parish ChurchOld Meldrum / Oldmeldrum AberdeenshireScotlandAdditions - mainly in south aisle
Item 74 of 1501862Aberdeen Municipal Buildings and Tolbooth  AberdeenScotlandCompetition design for court house - not successful
Item 75 of 1501862Balmoral Castle, Dairy and Dairy CottagesBalmoral AberdeenshireScotlandSeveral revisions of Beaton scheme made. Smith advertised for contractors
Item 76 of 1501862Findrack HouseLumphanan AberdeenshireScotlandAdditions
Item 77 of 1501864Offices for Northern Agricultural Lime Company  AberdeenScotland 
Item 78 of 1501864Pumping station of Aberdeen Water WorksPeterculter AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 79 of 1501865Aberdeen Joint Passenger Station  AberdeenScotland 
Item 80 of 1501865Alexander Scott's HospitalHuntly AberdeenshireScotlandRestoration
Item 81 of 1501865Cottage for Manson of KilbleanOld Meldrum / Oldmeldrum AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 82 of 1501865Gilcomston Free ChurchGilcomston AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 83 of 1501867Aberdeen Town and County BankLumphanan AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 84 of 1501867Crathie ManseCrathie AberdeenshireScotlandAlterations and additions (or a different manse?)
Item 85 of 1501867Insch Town and County bankInsch AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 86 of 1501868Alexander Scott's HospitalHuntly AberdeenshireScotlandAdditions
Item 87 of 1501868East Prison  AberdeenScotlandAdditional floor
Item 88 of 1501868Rathen Parish ChurchRathen AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 89 of 1501869Boys' and Girls' Hospital  AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 90 of 1501869Peterhead Court HousePeterhead AberdeenshireScotlandTook over commission from Peddie & Kinnear
Item 91 of 1501869Tarland Parish Church (St Moluag)Tarland AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 92 of 1501869Woodside manseWoodside AberdeenScotland 
Item 93 of 1501870Aberdeen Lunatic Asylum  AberdeenScotlandEast wing
Item 94 of 1501870(?)Bridge Lodge (policeman's house) and infirmaryBalmoral AberdeenshireScotlandMay have been consulted in this job.
Item 95 of 1501870Eight Houses on Abbey Road for fishermenTorry AberdeenScotland 
Item 96 of 1501870Houses, Peter's SquareFootdee AberdeenScotlandThree houses on east side
Item 97 of 1501870Mission Hall  AberdeenScotland 
Item 98 of 150c. 1870Easter Balmoral, Craig GowanBalmoral AberdeenshireScotland'Probably' (HS)
Item 99 of 1501871Aberdeen Royal Infirmary  AberdeenScotlandFever wards
Item 100 of 1501871Harbour Buildings on North Pier  AberdeenScotland 
Item 101 of 1501872Garthdee HousePeterculter AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 102 of 1501872Lodge in New Public Park  AberdeenScotland 
Item 103 of 1501873Houses, Peter's SquareFootdee AberdeenScotlandThree houses on west side
Item 104 of 1501873Three Houses on Pilot's SquareFootdee AberdeenScotland 
Item 105 of 1501874City Hospital  AberdeenScotlandAs City Architect
Item 106 of 1501874South SquareFootdee AberdeenScotlandWest side raised
Item 107 of 1501874Tullynessle ChurchTullynessle AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 108 of 1501875Aberdeen Lunatic Asylum  AberdeenScotlandAdditions
Item 109 of 1501875Causewayend SchoolOld Aberdeen AberdeenScotland 
Item 110 of 1501875Church at FerryhillFerryhill AberdeenScotland 
Item 111 of 1501875Norton HouseKincardine O'Neil AberdeenshireScotlandAlterations
Item 112 of 1501875Old Meldrum SchoolOld Meldrum / Oldmeldrum AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 113 of 1501875Rosemount Church  AberdeenScotland 
Item 114 of 1501875St Nicholas Church  AberdeenScotlandTower and spire, restoration of aisles
Item 115 of 1501875St Nicholas East Parish Church  AberdeenScotlandReconstruction after fire
Item 116 of 1501875Strachan SchoolStrachan KincardineshireScotland 
Item 117 of 1501875Theatre, Marischal Street  AberdeenScotlandConversion of theatre to church
Item 118 of 1501875Turriff Parish ChurchTurriff AberdeenshireScotlandNew belfry
Item 119 of 1501876Belhelvie Parish SchoolBelhelvie AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 120 of 1501876Finzean SchoolFinzean AberdeenshireScotlandAlterations
Item 121 of 1501876Lumphanan SchoolLumphanan AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 122 of 1501876Slains Manse, with offices, doocot and gatepiersKirktown of Slains AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 123 of 1501876Tulloch School  Aberdeenshire?Scotland 
Item 124 of 150187733-37 Union Street and Exchange Court  AberdeenScotlandReconstruction
Item 125 of 1501877Auchterless Parish ChurchAuchterless AberdeenshireScotlandNew church incorporating parts of older building - John Smith II mainly responsible, as assistant
Item 126 of 1501877Auchterless Parish ChurchyardAuchterless AberdeenshireScotlandGatepiers - 'probably' (HS)
Item 127 of 1501877Belhelvie Parish ChurchBelhelvie AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 128 of 1501877Old Meldrum Town HallOld Meldrum / Oldmeldrum AberdeenshireScotlandAlterations
Item 129 of 150Before 1877Porte cochere from Dunecht reerected as garden ornamentLoch Skene AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 130 of 150c. 1877Brig O' Balgownie over the River Don  AberdeenScotlandRepairs - with John Willet
Item 131 of 1501878House in South Stocket Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 132 of 1501880239 Union Street  AberdeenScotlandRebuilding
Item 133 of 1501880Holburn Parish Hall  AberdeenScotland 
Item 134 of 1501880Militia Barracks and depot  AberdeenScotlandAdditions
Item 135 of 1501881Whitehaugh House  AberdeenshireScotlandAlterations
Item 136 of 1501882147-149 Union Street  AberdeenScotlandAlterations
Item 137 of 1501882New Market and the layout of Market Street  AberdeenScotlandRebuilding after fire damage
Item 138 of 1501883141 Union Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 139 of 150188536-40 Market Street  AberdeenScotlandAlterations
Item 140 of 150188588 Fountainhall Road  AberdeenScotland'Possibly' (HS) - there seems to be some doubt about this though HS says that plans are by Smith
Item 141 of 1501885Original Secession Church on Skene Terrace and Crimon Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 142 of 1501885Premises for G & W Davidson on St Clement Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 143 of 1501886Police StablesAberdeen AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 144 of 1501886Skene Street and Rosemount elevations  AberdeenScotland 
Item 145 of 1501887Aberdeen Royal Infirmary  AberdeenScotlandNew ward block - carried out work
Item 146 of 1501887House for William Falconer  AberdeenScotland 
Item 147 of 1501887Store for Tester on St Clement Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 148 of 1501887Villa with tower at CorseCorse AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 149 of 1501890Aberdeen Lunatic Asylum  AberdeenScotlandMay have been involved at the beginning
Item 150 of 1501890Boys' and Girls' Hospital  AberdeenshireScotlandExtensions


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 2Cooper, James1892A sermon on the occasion of the death Mr William Smith, architect, Aberdeen Aberdeen 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Aberdeen Journal23 December 1891  Obituary
Item 2 of 4Aberdeen Journal28 December 1891  Obituary
Item 3 of 4Architect1 January 1892  p15
Item 4 of 4The Times29 December 1891  p5

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 3RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A v1 p159 (microfiche 4/C7)
Item 2 of 3University of AberdeenArchive of cuttings, notes and photos (bequeathed by Helen Hall Smith, 1990)  
Item 3 of 3University of AberdeenWilliam Smith Family Bible