© All rights reserved. See separate image for identification of individuals in image.<br><br>Courtesy of Charles Mills. © All rights reserved.   © All rights reserved. Taken at 99 North Street in 1933.<br>From left to right the figures are –<br>Enid Mills, later Elboth; Mrs Mills; Mary Monica Donald Mills; Ken (?) Mills; Margaret Cynthia Donald Mills (Monica’s twin); John Donald Mills.<br><br>Courtesy of Charles Mills.<br> 

Larger versions of these images are located at the foot of the page.

Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Donald Mills
Designation: Architect
Born: 12 January 1872
Died: 26 January 1958
Bio Notes: John Donald Mills was born at 16 Paton's Lane, Dundee on 12 January 1872, the fourth of the five sons of James Smith Mills, a solicitor and messenger-at-arms, and his wife Rebecca Donald. He was educated at Morgan Academy and Dundee High School, and was articled to Charles & Leslie Ower from 1888 to 1891. Thereafter he became an assistant in the office of John Murray Robertson, with whom he remained for five years and by whom he was profoundly influenced. During that period he attended classes at the Dundee Technical Institute and University College. In 1896 he sought wider experience with Larner Sugden of Leek, the connection probably being made through the Rev E S Sugden, an Episcopal architect-priest in Dundee who was of that family. He greatly enjoyed drawing and during these early years made numerous sketching tours in Britain and abroad, spending a month in Italy (Milan, Como, Florence, Vicenza, Verona, Venice, Siena and Ravenna) and visiting France (including Brittany) several times, once with London architect George Alexander Thomas Middleton, as well as travelling to Germany (including Dresden and Nuremberg), Austria and Prague.

In 1899 Mills returned from Leek to commence independent practice in Tayport, concentrating on domestic work, but in October 1900 he moved to Dundee and formed a partnership with Godfrey Daniel Bower Shepherd (born 1874), who had worked under him as an apprentice in Murray Robertson's office from 1893 to 1896. Shepherd had moved to London in 1897 as an assistant in the office of Alfred Walter Saxon Snell, and remained there until 1899. While there he had passed the qualifying exam, but did not immediately seek admittance as ARIBA, moving instead to the office of the London Dundonian James Glen Sivewright Gibson. The Mills & Shepherd office was then at 10 Tay Square.

Mills was admitted FRIBA in 1906, his proposers being Gibson, David Barclay Niven of London and Patrick Hill Thoms, a friend from C & L Ower's office. Shepherd was admitted FRIBA in September of the following year, his proposers being Snell, Thoms and Gibson.

On 19 September 1908 Mills married Madeline Hill Newton, daughter of the Broughty Ferry shipowner John P Newton, which widened the firm's already extensive connections. When first married they lived at Marsbank, Tayport, but within a few years they had moved to Dauphin Hill, St Andrews, where the practice quickly made a name for very stylish Arts and Crafts houses. From around 1910 they began to replace Gillespie & Scott as architects to the University of St Andrews, sharing its patronage with the London architect Paul Waterhouse in the inter-war years.

In 1919-22 there were considerable changes in the practice. In 1919 the Mills family left Dauphin Hill for 99 North Street, St Andrews and the office moved to a much larger house at 9 South Tay Street. In April the same year Herbert Morgan Smail, in later years better known as Colonel Smail, joined the practice as chief draughtsman, probably having served his apprenticeship with the firm several years before; two months later he was made a partner, although the practice title remained unchanged. By the mid-1920s Mills was spending much of his time in St Andrews, part of the ground floor of 999 North Street becoming am office dealing mainly with University work.

As a result of having carried out some garden work at Blair Castle for the Duke of Atholl, the ADC to King George V, Mills & Shepherd came to the notice of Queen Mary and they were commissioned to carry out a considerable amount of garden and estate work at Balmoral in 1922-24. In the 1920s they superseded Lorimer on at least two occasions, Auchterhouse and Fingask. From about 1933 the practice's domestic manner changed somewhat, Crittall metal-framed windows of distinctive proportions becoming a feature.

Shepherd died on 21 December 1937, and shortly thereafter William M Guild was taken into partnership. Mills kept the practice going through the Second World War, operating mainly from St Andrews, while Smail and Guild were on war service.

Throughout his career Mills produced work of exceptional quality, his most important patron being Sir James Irvine, principal of the University of St Andrews for whom he built St Salvator’s Hall in 1927 and 1935, American Tudor-collegiate in character and brilliantly fitted into a difficult site of left-over spaces at United College. Mills died in retirement at his home, 99 North Street, on 26 January 1958. At his own wish his ashes were scattered at 99 North Street where he had created a fine garden (now erased as a University car park) and in the grounds of West House, St Andrews, presumably because he thought it his best domestic work. He was a past president of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club to which he had long been architect. His estate amounted to £17, 951 5s 4d. He was survived by his wife Madeline and by his son and three daughters, the younger of whom were twins.

The practice title of Mills & Shepherd was retained after Mills’ death but did not long survive him.

Smail died soon after Mills, and Guild closed the Tay Street practice in 1966, continuing to practise for some years thereafter from his home in Cupar.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 616, Paton's Lane, Dundee, ScotlandPrivate1872 Place of birth
Item 2 of 610, Tay Square, Dundee, ScotlandBusiness1899  
Item 3 of 6Marsbank, Tayport, Fife, ScotlandPrivate1908  
Item 4 of 6Dauphin Hill, St Andrews, Fife, ScotlandPrivateAfter 19081919 
Item 5 of 69, South Tay Street, Dundee, ScotlandBusiness19191958 
Item 6 of 699, North Street, St Andrews, Fife, ScotlandPrivate19191958 

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 4C & L Ower18881891Apprentice 
Item 2 of 4John Murray Robertson18911896Assistant 
Item 3 of 4William Larner Sugden18961899Assistant 
Item 4 of 4Mills & ShepherdOctober 1900Before 1958Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3James Glen Sivewright GibsonLate 1906for Fellowship
Item 2 of 3David Barclay NivenLate 1906for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3Patrick Hill ThomsLate 1906for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 30David William Baxter (junior)16 October 1945for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 30James Deuchars12 December 1939for Associateship
Item 3 of 30George FairweatherEarly 1932for Associateship
Item 4 of 30Arthur Shields Fitzgerald1931for Licentiateship
Item 5 of 30William Lamond Galloway4 March 1956For Licentiateship
Item 6 of 30William Malcolm Guild18 April 1944For Associateship
Item 7 of 30Andrew David Haxton18 April 1944for Fellowship
Item 8 of 30William Fyfe Hendry22 July 1935for Licentiateship
Item 9 of 30George Jamieson27 February 1911for Licentiateship
Item 10 of 30Mitchell Crichton KayJuly 1920For Associateship
Item 11 of 30William Kinloch9 April 1946for Licentiateship
Item 12 of 30Ian Brown Kinnear24 October 1938for Associateship
Item 13 of 30William Macpherson16 January 1911for Licentiateship
Item 14 of 30Alastair Macrae* 
Item 15 of 30Charles MannMid 1910for Licentiateship
Item 16 of 30John Robert Moore29 March 1926for Associateship
Item 17 of 30John Needham19 October 1948For Fellowship
Item 18 of 30Thomas Whytock Reid16 October 1945for Licentiateship
Item 19 of 30Henry Pearce RobbieLate 1928for Associateship
Item 20 of 30Donald (F?) Ross3 April 1939for Fellowship
Item 21 of 30Peter Sinclair14 October 1947For Licentiateship
Item 22 of 30(Colonel) Herbert Morgan SmailLate 1952For Fellowship
Item 23 of 30(Colonel) Herbert Morgan Smail14 October 1947For Licentiateship
Item 24 of 30Charles Geddes SoutarLate 1921for Associateship
Item 25 of 30Frank Sproson10 December 1950For Associateship
Item 26 of 30Frederick George Sturrock6 December 1937for Associateship
Item 27 of 30Thomas Hill Thoms4 April 1950for Fellowship
Item 28 of 30Charles Robert Thomson4 April 1938for Associateship
Item 29 of 30Edward Tough14 June 1910for Licentiateship
Item 30 of 30Arthur Gordon Wilson24 June 1912for Licentiateship

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 1331900Glenmarkie House  AngusScotlandMain house, stables, kennels and other estate buildings
Item 2 of 1331900St Paul's Church  DundeeScotlandExtensive stone repairs
Item 3 of 133After 1900House for J P Curran EsqSt Andrews FifeScotlandAdditions
Item 4 of 1331901Nevay ParkNewtyle/Meigle (near) AngusScotland 
Item 5 of 1331902Castle Cynicus, LucklawBalmullo FifeScotland 
Item 6 of 1331903CraigowerSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 7 of 1331903HouseBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandAddition
Item 8 of 1331903 or 1904The White HouseSt Andrews FifeScotlandAlso 1911 addition
Item 9 of 13319049 Abbotsford CrescentSt Andrews FifeScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 10 of 133c. 1904BalgilloBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandBilliard room
Item 11 of 133c. 1904Ballumbie Castle  AngusScotlandInternal furnishings - commission taken over from James Findlay, probably because of over-commitment
Item 12 of 133c. 1904Blebo House  FifeScotlandStable block and offices - work taken over from James Findlay, probably because of over-commitment
Item 13 of 1331904 or 1905University College Dundee Fleming Gymnasium and Fives Courts  DundeeScotland 
Item 14 of 1331905Belsize, StannergateWest Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 15 of 1331905Harecraig HouseWest Ferry DundeeScotlandInternal decorations and finishings
Item 16 of 1331905 or 1906Greymount  DundeeScotland 
Item 17 of 1331906The Weisha, Hazel Hall  DundeeScotland 
Item 18 of 1331907Ardvreck  DundeeScotland 
Item 19 of 1331907Plans for a large block of offices for an insurance company  DundeeScotlandUnexecuted plans
Item 20 of 1331907Priory AcresSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 21 of 1331907St Leonard's School, convalescent houseSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 22 of 1331907West HouseSt Andrews FifeScotlandFurther work 1911 and 1926
Item 23 of 1331908Electric Laboratory, University College Dundee  DundeeScotland 
Item 24 of 1331908Strips of CraigieCraigie DundeeScotlandFor Shepherd
Item 25 of 1331909House on Craigie Avenue  DundeeScotland 
Item 26 of 1331909Monifieth Episcopal ChurchMonifieth AngusScotland 
Item 27 of 133c. 1909HillsideBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 28 of 1331910University HallSt Andrews FifeScotlandMajor addition
Item 29 of 133After 1910(?)Cricket pavilionCupar FifeScotland 
Item 30 of 1331911Trinity College GlenalmondGlenalmond PerthshireScotlandCricket pavilion
Item 31 of 1331913Glenisla ReservoirGlenisla AngusScotland 
Item 32 of 133After 1913MontpellierCupar FifeScotlandAlterations
Item 33 of 1331914Ardconnel Chapel and schoolroom  ArgyllScotland 
Item 34 of 1331914Ardconnel Lodge  ArgyllScotland 
Item 35 of 1331914Dalbeathie HouseDunkeld PerthshireScotland 
Item 36 of 1331914The SwilkenSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 37 of 1331916GlentulchanSt Andrews FifeScotlandDrawing room (alterations?)
Item 38 of 1331916HowburySt Andrews FifeScotlandHouse and Chauffeurs House at 87 Hepburn Gardens
Item 39 of 1331916University of St Andrews, Students' Dining RoomSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 40 of 1331919Memorial in Portland Stone   Scotland 
Item 41 of 1331920Abernethy War MemorialAbernethy PerthshireScotland 
Item 42 of 1331920Auchterhouse  AngusScotlandAlterations and restoration
Item 43 of 1331920Blair CastleBlair Atholl PerthshireScotlandGarden work
Item 44 of 1331920Leuchars War MemorialLeuchars FifeScotland 
Item 45 of 1331920Lochton House  PerthshireScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 46 of 1331920University College, War memorial  DundeeScotland 
Item 47 of 133c. 1920Almondbank War MemorialAlmondbank PerthshireScotland 
Item 48 of 133c. 1920Kidds Rooms  DundeeScotlandAlterations: conversion from church
Item 49 of 133c. 1920Tayport War MemorialTayport FifeScotland 
Item 50 of 13319217 St Leonard's RoadSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 51 of 13319219 The ScoresSt Andrews FifeScotlandAlterations
Item 52 of 1331921SunnymedeSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 53 of 1331922Balmoral CastleBalmoral AberdeenshireScotlandGates, also garden work (no date)
Item 54 of 1331922DrumskaithSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 55 of 1331922St David of Scotland Episcopal ChurchInverbervie AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 56 of 1331922The SwilkenSt Andrews FifeScotlandSecond phase of work
Item 57 of 1331923Ashcliff and gatelodge  DundeeScotlandAlterations
Item 58 of 1331923Baile-na-CoilleBalmoral AberdeenshireScotlandAdditions
Item 59 of 1331923Little HayesSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 60 of 1331923RebreckBalmoral AberdeenshireScotlandAdditions
Item 61 of 1331923The GleanSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 62 of 1331923The White HouseSt Andrews FifeScotlandCottage and garage
Item 63 of 1331923Union ClubSt Andrews FifeScotlandRebuilding of north east corner to uniform height of 3 storeys, panelling of first floor dining room
Item 64 of 1331923University College Dundee, Men's Hostel  DundeeScotland 
Item 65 of 1331923University of St Andrews, Chemical and Physical LaboratoriesSt Andrews FifeScotlandAdditions
Item 66 of 133March 1923House for General B C FellowsSt Andrews FifeScotlandPlans - possibly unexecuted
Item 67 of 133c. 1923Abergeldie MainsAbergeldie AberdeenshireScotlandAdditions
Item 68 of 133c. 1923Auchterhouse mansion house, lodge  Angus Extension
Item 69 of 133c. 1923Auchterhouse, coach house, stable and squash court  AngusScotlandExtended and converted old brewhouse into squash court
Item 70 of 13319241 Donaldson GardensSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 71 of 1331924Binrock and Lodge  DundeeScotlandAlterations
Item 72 of 1331924CryanreuchSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 73 of 1331924Gerrards CrossSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 74 of 1331924GlenmuickBalmoral AberdeenshireScotlandLodge and gates
Item 75 of 1331924House at Duntrune for Claude BiltonDuntrune AngusScotland 
Item 76 of 1331924RhebreckEaster Balmoral AberdeenshireScotlandAdditions
Item 77 of 1331924RuffletsSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 78 of 1331924Trinity College GlenalmondGlenalmond PerthshireScotlandEastern extension of N range (the Matheson building)
Item 79 of 133c. 192471-73 Hepburn GardensSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 80 of 1331925AshsteadSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 81 of 1331925Fingask CastleKilspindie PerthshireScotlandRestoration
Item 82 of 1331925Rea House, Glamis Drive   DundeeScotland 
Item 83 of 1331926Trinity College GlenalmondGlenalmond PerthshireScotlandGladstone Cloister
Item 84 of 1331926University of St Andrews, St Mary's CollegeSt Andrews FifeScotlandAdditions
Item 85 of 133192710 Middleshade RoadSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 86 of 1331927LanglandsSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 87 of 1331927MiddletonFriockheim AngusScotlandAlterations
Item 88 of 1331927Pitalpin House  DundeeScotlandAlterations at NW corner of the house and creation of outbuildings to include laundry room and washhouse.
Item 89 of 1331927University of St Andrews, St Salvator's HallSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 90 of 1331928Ardvreck  DundeeScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 91 of 1331928Clepington EstateClepington DundeeScotlandAdditions
Item 92 of 1331928Ellenbank  DundeeScotlandLinking block to Union Mount
Item 93 of 1331928Kincaple House  FifeScotlandReconstruction with wings
Item 94 of 1331928Megginch Castle  PerthshireScotlandAlterations partly reversed following a fire, inlcuding removal of porch, new entrance and other alterations
Item 95 of 1331928University of St Andrews Old Parliament HallSt Andrews FifeScotlandPanelling
Item 96 of 1331929Riechip  PerthshireScotlandAlterations
Item 97 of 1331929Smith and Valentine Premises  DundeeScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 98 of 1331930s112 South Street, second house in close and last house in closeSt Andrews FifeScotlandRestoration
Item 99 of 1331931Dean's CourtSt Andrews FifeScotlandConversion to hall of residence
Item 100 of 1331931Lochton House  PerthshireScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 101 of 1331931University of St Andrews, Botany Department buildingSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 102 of 1331931University of St Andrews, Geology Department buildingSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 103 of 1331931University of St Andrews, St Mary's CollegeSt Andrews FifeScotlandRepairs and alterations; panelling of College Hall
Item 104 of 1331933DinmontSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 105 of 1331933GreenacresMurrayfield EdinburghScotland 
Item 106 of 1331934Trinity College GlenalmondGlenalmond PerthshireScotlandVarious schemes for additions, partially executed
Item 107 of 1331935Balgavies  AngusScotlandAdditions (Plans in NMRS)
Item 108 of 1331935Beech HillForfar AngusScotlandAlterations
Item 109 of 1331935CromaltSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 110 of 1331935Greyfriars CottageSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 111 of 1331935Trinity College GlenalmondGlenalmond PerthshireScotlandWarden's house addition
Item 112 of 1331935University of St Andrews, St Salvator's HallSt Andrews FifeScotlandExtension
Item 113 of 1331937University Court of St AndrewsSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 114 of 133Before 1937Banff House  BanffshireScotlandMinor alterations
Item 115 of 1331938East Haugh  PerthshireScotlandAlterations
Item 116 of 1331938St Leonard's Parish Church HallSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 117 of 1331939Lude HouseBlair Atholl (near) PerthshireScotlandAlterations
Item 118 of 1331939Observatory  DundeeScotland 
Item 119 of 1331939University of St Andrews ObservatorySt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 120 of 1331940sBank of Scotland  DundeeScotland 
Item 121 of 1331940sClydesdale Bank  DundeeScotland 
Item 122 of 1331940sHouseCrieff PerthshireScotland 
Item 123 of 1331940sHouses  DundeeScotland 
Item 124 of 1331940sHousing scheme  DundeeScotland 
Item 125 of 1331940sHousing schemeCrieff PerthshireScotland 
Item 126 of 133194141 North Castle StreetSt Andrews FifeScotlandRenovation and alterations
Item 127 of 1331942BalmyleWest Ferry DundeeScotlandGates - survey for alterations?
Item 128 of 1331947Seaside House  PerthshireScotlandAlterations
Item 129 of 1331948Blairgowrie CreameryBlairgowrie PerthshireScotland 
Item 130 of 1331950sCentres for Territorial Army (TA) Association  DundeeScotlandPerhaps not involved
Item 131 of 1331950sHead office and warehouse for Singer Sewing Machines Ltd  GlasgowScotland 
Item 132 of 1331952St Mary Magdalene's Episcopal Church  DundeeScotlandUnexecuted scheme for conversion to a Territorial Army centre
Item 133 of 1331955Ardblair Castle  PerthshireScotlandAlterations--possibly still involved


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 6Bailey, Rebecca M1996Scottish architects' papers: a source book Edinburgh: The Rutland Pressp217
Item 2 of 6British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 3 of 6Johnston, W T2003Artists of Scotland Officina Publications CDROM 
Item 4 of 6Lidstone, Anna1989J Donald Mills: architect: His St Andrews career University of St Andrews: Unpublished MA dissertation 
Item 5 of 6RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 6 of 6Who's Who in Architecture1914    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder7 February 1958v194 p271 - obituary
Item 2 of 4Dundee Courier and Advertiser28 January 1958  Obituary
Item 3 of 4RIBA JournalDecember 1958 London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp69 - obituary
Item 4 of 4Scotsman28 January 1958  Obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Personal information from Frank Thomson, William Guild, Charles Mills and Jan Donald Elboth.
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v17 p63 no1128 (microfilm reel 12)


© All rights reserved. See separate image for identification of individuals in image.<br><br>Courtesy of Charles Mills. 

© All rights reserved. See separate image for identification of individuals in image.

Courtesy of Charles Mills.

© All rights reserved.   

© All rights reserved.  

© All rights reserved. Taken at 99 North Street in 1933.<br>From left to right the figures are –<br>Enid Mills, later Elboth; Mrs Mills; Mary Monica Donald Mills; Ken (?) Mills; Margaret Cynthia Donald Mills (Monica’s twin); John Donald Mills.<br><br>Courtesy of Charles Mills.<br> 

© All rights reserved. Taken at 99 North Street in 1933.
From left to right the figures are –
Enid Mills, later Elboth; Mrs Mills; Mary Monica Donald Mills; Ken (?) Mills; Margaret Cynthia Donald Mills (Monica’s twin); John Donald Mills.

Courtesy of Charles Mills.