Basic Biographical Details

Name: Charles Ower (junior)
Designation: Architect
Born: c. 1849
Died: 25 November 1921
Bio Notes: Charles Ower Junior was born in Dundee c.1849, the son of Charles Ower Senior and his wife Mary Fleet. He was educated at Dundee High School and articled to his father c.1864-1869 as a civil engineer. He was then sent to the South Kensington Schools to study architecture. He returned to Dundee to join his father's practice as a partner in 1873, probably after a period as an assistant. His father withdrew from private practice shortly thereafter, enabling him to take his brother Leslie (born 1851) into partnership. Like him, Leslie had been educated at Dundee High School and articled to his father, but he had sought subsequent experience in Glasgow, working as assistant to the railway engineer James Fairie Blair for eighteen months from 1872, which enabled him to study engineering at the Andersonian University. He had returned to join his father as assistant early in 1874. The practice became C & L Ower in May 1874, a date which probably marked Charles Ower Senior's retirement.

In c.1877 Charles Ower Junior travelled in Italy and exhibited Milan and Turin subjects at the RSA in 1878 and 1879.

Although both Charles Junior and Leslie practised as architects and civil engineers, they had separate professional memberships. Charles sought admission only as AMICE while Leslie sought admission only as FRIBA. He was admitted on 16 June 1890, his proposers being William Mackison, John Macvicar Anderson, London, and John Holden, Manchester, the last of these also being an engineer-architect. Nevertheless it was Charles who wrote to the RIBA on 10 February 1892 setting out his views on architectural education, compulsory examination and registration, describing the current debate on whether the profession was a science or an art as 'Practical Architects versus Fancy men and Faddists.'

The Ower partnership was successful enough from the outset both as architects and engineers and it became an important teaching office. Both brothers were kindly employers by the standards of the time but in physical appearance and personality they were very different. Charles was a bigger-built bearded man, good with clients but difficult and somewhat excitable with a tendency to over-react within the office and at meetings of the Dundee Institute of Architects of which he was effectively the founder in June 1884: at the close of the meeting called by James Maclaren on the measurement of quantities he proposed a local professional body on the lines of the Architectural Association. Leslie was slim and, at least in later years, clean-shaven with a much more equable temperament. Tensions were evident from the beginning and by the 1890s, in the words of those who worked there, 'they couldn't pull together at all.' Although the architectural side of the practice seems to have been at its most prosperous between 1896 and 1898 when William Gillespie Lamond was their head draughtsman and had taken over much of the design work, the partnership was dissolved in the latter year.

Although both brothers retained a significant domestic practice the institutional and commercial clientele was largely lost following the break-up. Charles Ower continued in practice on his own account as C Ower & Co, gifting an important collection of architectural books to Dundee Public Libraries in 1900 to commemorate the relief of Mafeking which he believed would ensure an imperial future for aspiring architects and provided an endowment from which to buy more; but his own practice gradually faded and he isolated himself from the rest of the profession by his resignation from the Dundee Institute of Architects in 1903 on the trivial issue of its objection to the Dundee Wine Spirits and Beer Association seeking competitive tenders for licensing court plans. By 1914 he was practising only as a valuator from a backwater office in unfashionable Gellatly Street. He died unmarried at Benora, the large house he had built for himself in Broughty Ferry on 25 November 1921, leaving a moveable estate of 6,841 12s.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 3104, Commercial Street, Dundee, ScotlandBusiness1880 From 1880 onwards
Item 2 of 3Benora, Camperdown Street, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, ScotlandPrivatec. 18981921 
Item 3 of 3Gellatly Street, Dundee, ScotlandBusiness1914 *  

* 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 4Charles Ower (senior)c. 1864c. 1869Apprentice 
Item 2 of 4Charles Ower (senior)1873May 1874Partner 
Item 3 of 4C & L OwerMay 18741898Partner 
Item 4 of 4C Ower & CoAfter 1898 Partner 

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 3William Gillespie Lamond1898c. 1898Chief Draughtsman 
Item 2 of 3John William Kay19061910Apprentice 
Item 3 of 3John William Kay19101911Assistant 

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 111 People's Journal OfficeStirling StirlingshireScotlandDate unknown
Item 2 of 1111872Dundee Courier and Dundee Advertiser Offices  DundeeScotland2nd western extension of 4 storeys
Item 3 of 111187357 Magdalen Yard Road  DundeeScotlandRemodelling and enlargement to east
Item 4 of 1111875Jute Warehouse  DundeeScotland 
Item 5 of 1111875Tenement with North of Scotland Bank belowLochee DundeeScotland 
Item 6 of 1111876West End UP Church Hall  DundeeScotland 
Item 7 of 111c. 1876Ryehill Congregation Hall  DundeeScotland 
Item 8 of 1111877Dundee Courier and Dundee Advertiser Offices  DundeeScotlandProposed completion by addition of tower
Item 9 of 1111877Houses at Loftus HouseBroughty Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 10 of 1111877Houses on Broughty Ferry Road  DundeeScotland 
Item 11 of 1111877Properties, Ramsay Place  DundeeScotland 
Item 12 of 1111877Tay Ferries Booking Office, shops and boathouse  DundeeScotlandOffices and waiting room
Item 13 of 1111877Wallacetown Church  DundeeScotlandAddition of large tower and other alterations
Item 14 of 1111878Jute Warehouse  DundeeScotlandAddition of storey to warehouse
Item 15 of 1111878Stewart & Son's Whisky Bond  DundeeScotlandTop floor added
Item 16 of 111c. 1878Ferry StationNewport-on-Tay FifeScotland 
Item 17 of 111c. 1878Row of single storey shops, Boat BraeNewport-on-Tay FifeScotland 
Item 18 of 111187910 Dudhope Terrace  DundeeScotlandAddition
Item 19 of 1111879Dundee Courier and Dundee Advertiser Offices  DundeeScotlandAlterations
Item 20 of 1111879Dundee Perth & London Shipping Company Offices  DundeeScotlandAlterations
Item 21 of 1111879Houses on Ellen Street for William Benvie  DundeeScotland 
Item 22 of 1111879Tay Ferries Booking Office, shops and boathouse  DundeeScotlandLodge, barrow shed and luggage room
Item 23 of 1111880sMurroes Parish ChurchMurroes AngusScotlandProbably designed stained glass windows
Item 24 of 11118802 Roseangle  DundeeScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 25 of 111188057 Magdalen Yard Road  DundeeScotlandRemodelling and enlargement to west
Item 26 of 11118808 Roseangle  DundeeScotlandOriels added
Item 27 of 1111880Cottage for Henry McGrady  DundeeScotland 
Item 28 of 1111880Scottish Banking Company  DundeeScotlandMajor reconstruction with new elevations
Item 29 of 1111880Seymour Lodge  DundeeScotlandOriginal house and additions
Item 30 of 1111880Tenement with Shops on Blackness Road and Watson Lane  DundeeScotland 
Item 31 of 111c. 1880Warehouses, Shop and Dwelling House for Mr Hynd  DundeeScotland 
Item 32 of 1111881Carnoustie Young Men's Christian Association BuildingCarnoustie AngusScotland 
Item 33 of 1111881FairfieldWest Ferry DundeeScotlandAddition of conservatory
Item 34 of 1111881Houses for James Gentle  DundeeScotland 
Item 35 of 1111881Newburgh Public HallNewburgh FifeScotlandReading room and coffee house
Item 36 of 1111881Royal Exchange, Merchants' Shelter  DundeeScotlandCompetition design - not successful
Item 37 of 1111881Terrace of houses, Airlie Place  DundeeScotlandAlterations to No 1, including addition of mansard attic
Item 38 of 1111881Terraced houses, South Tay Street  DundeeScotlandRemodelling to form YWCA
Item 39 of 1111881Trinity UP ChurchNewport-on-Tay FifeScotland 
Item 40 of 1111881Villa for W G Thomson   Scotland 
Item 41 of 1111882Blackness Home Farmhouse  DundeeScotlandAlterations
Item 42 of 1111882Dundee Courier and Dundee Advertiser Offices  DundeeScotlandExtension to west end
Item 43 of 1111882Glasgow Municipal Buildings  GlasgowScotlandExhibited design for municipal buildings and public offices - unspecified but probably for the second competition - not successful
Item 44 of 1111882Hilltown Free Mission Church and SchoolHilltown DundeeScotland 
Item 45 of 1111882Ladywell Calender Works  DundeeScotlandAlterations
Item 46 of 1111882Offices and Warehouses for Bailie Philips  DundeeScotland 
Item 47 of 1111882Warehouse, Seagate  DundeeScotlandAlterations
Item 48 of 11118834 Gowrie Street, Houses for David Gemmell  DundeeScotland 
Item 49 of 1111883Balmerino Parish ChurchBalmerino FifeScotlandGothic remodelling
Item 50 of 1111883Dundee Harbour Office  DundeeScotland 
Item 51 of 1111883J Carmichael & Co Premises  DundeeScotlandWarehouse and new moulding shop
Item 52 of 1111883Panmure Street MissionHilltown DundeeScotland 
Item 53 of 1111883Pitlochry West ChurchPitlochry PerthshireScotland 
Item 54 of 1111883Terraced Houses, 2, 4 and 6 Hyndford Street  DundeeScotland 
Item 55 of 1111883Villas for Bailie Gentle  DundeeScotlandVillas
Item 56 of 111c. 1883Shipping Offices  DundeeScotland 
Item 57 of 1111884(?)Dundee Custom House and Harbour Chambers  DundeeScotlandEnlargement of Harbour Chambers section
Item 58 of 1111885Kirriemuir Town Hall and libraryKirriemuir AngusScotland 
Item 59 of 111c. 1885Terraced Houses, 3, 5 and 7 Rockfield Street  DundeeScotland 
Item 60 of 111c. 1885Terraced houses, Rockfield Street and Shaftesbury Road  DundeeScotland 
Item 61 of 1111886Villas for Bailie Gentle  DundeeScotlandFurther villas
Item 62 of 1111887Balmerino Parish Church hallBalmerino FifeScotland 
Item 63 of 1111887Young Men's Christian Association Building  DundeeScotlandAdditions - cost 1,400
Item 64 of 1111888J Carmichael & Co Premises  DundeeScotlandAdditions to foundry
Item 65 of 111c. 1888TircarraBarnhill DundeeScotlandAddition of west wing
Item 66 of 1111889Carnoustie Young Men's Christian Association BuildingCarnoustie AngusScotlandFurther work
Item 67 of 1111889Downfield Free ChurchDownfield DundeeScotland 
Item 68 of 1111889Dundee Courier and Dundee Advertiser Offices  DundeeScotland Further enlargement - cost c. 3,300 - and tunnel under Bank Street.
Item 69 of 1111889Villa on Norwood Crescent  DundeeScotland 
Item 70 of 1111890Ann Street Works, Engine House  DundeeScotland 
Item 71 of 1111890Ardvorlich HouseComrie PerthshireScotland 
Item 72 of 1111890Constable Works Engine House  DundeeScotlandReconstruction
Item 73 of 1111890Duncraig  DundeeScotland 
Item 74 of 1111890Edward Street Mill, Logie Works  DundeeScotlandEngine house
Item 75 of 1111890Free St Paul's Overgate Mission  DundeeScotland 
Item 76 of 1111890Model tenements, Broughty Ferry Road  DundeeScotland 
Item 77 of 1111890St Mary's Manse  DundeeScotland 
Item 78 of 111c. 1890House for Leng on Blackness Road (Redcroft)  DundeeScotland 
Item 79 of 111c. 1890House for Watson on Blackness Road  DundeeScotland 
Item 80 of 111c. 1890House on Blackness Terrace  DundeeScotland 
Item 81 of 111c. 1890House on Perth Road for Peter Kerr  DundeeScotland 
Item 82 of 111c. 1890Semi-detached villas, Somerville Place  DundeeScotlandAlterations and additions - raised from single- to two-storey villas
Item 83 of 111c. 1890Villas, Albany Terrace  DundeeScotland 
Item 84 of 1111891Ward Foundry drawing office  DundeeScotland 
Item 85 of 1111892Home HouseBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandAddition
Item 86 of 1111892LindaBroughty Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 87 of 1111894WoodknoweBroughty Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 88 of 1111895Tenements on Lyon Street  DundeeScotland 
Item 89 of 1111895The Anchorage  DundeeScotland 
Item 90 of 1111896Inglis Memorial Hall and LibraryEdzell AngusScotlandWon competition and secured job
Item 91 of 1111896Lochee Road UP Church  DundeeScotland 
Item 92 of 1111897Bannatyne HouseNewtyle AngusScotlandAlterations and additions to form Bannatyne Home of Rest (additions since demolished, original house survives)
Item 93 of 1111897British Linen Bank  DundeeScotlandDesign mainly by W G Lamond
Item 94 of 1111898Pearl Assurance Building  DundeeScotlandDesign mainly by Lamond; completed by Charles Ower after break up of partnership
Item 95 of 111c. 1898BenoraBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandFor himself
Item 96 of 1111899Ferryport-on-Craig Parish ChurchFerryport-on-Craig FifeScotlandAlterations at installation of organ
Item 97 of 111Late 1800s11 and 13 Station TerraceInvergowrie PerthshireScotlandAttribution
Item 98 of 1111900Milton BankBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandAdditions and stable block
Item 99 of 1111900The PinesBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandAddition of NW wing and porch extended
Item 100 of 111c. 1900DunairdWest Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 101 of 1111901EllenhoodCraigiebank DundeeScotland 
Item 102 of 1111903AystreeWest Ferry DundeeScotlandWith Charles Geddes Soutar - Ower was architect in charge
Item 103 of 1111903Virginia Buildings  DundeeScotlandGifford gives 1903-14 but is this a mis-print for 1903-04?
Item 104 of 1111904Dundee Eastern Co-operative Society Buildings  DundeeScotlandeast side
Item 105 of 111c. 1904Albion House  DundeeScotlandRebuilding of ground floor
Item 106 of 111c. 1905Mid Craigie Garden CityMid Craigie DundeeScotland 
Item 107 of 111c. 1906Semi-detached Houses on Taybank Terrace  DundeeScotland 
Item 108 of 1111907The CottageLochee DundeeScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 109 of 1111909Friarton  DundeeScotland 
Item 110 of 1111911Milton BankBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandBilliard room and entrance porch additions
Item 111 of 1111992Polepark Works  DundeeScotlandAdditions


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 7Architecture in Manuscript 1601-1906 Architecture in Manuscript 1601-1906, 1022  p303
Item 2 of 7British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 3 of 7Johnston, W T Scottish Engineers and Shipbuilders   
Item 4 of 7Johnston, W T2003Artists of Scotland Officina Publications CDROM 
Item 5 of 7Post Office Directories     
Item 6 of 7Walker, Bruce and Gauldie, W Sinclair1984Architects and Architecture on Tayside Dundee: Dundee Institute of Architectsp173 et seq.
Item 7 of 7Who's Who in Architecture1914    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Dundee Courier and Advertiser3 April 1916  Obituary of Leslie Ower

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 Personal information from Joseph Johnston, Frank Thomson and W Sinclair Gauldie (relayed from his father William Gauldie)