Basic Biographical Details

Name: Archibald ('Archie') Leitch
Designation: Architect, Engineer
Born: 27 April 1865
Died: 4 March 1939
Bio Notes: Archibald Leitch (generally known as Archie) was born on 27 April 1865 in Comleypark Street, Camlachie, Glasgow, the fourth of six children of Archibald Leitch, blacksmith, who may have worked at William Beardmore's nearby Parkhead Forge. Archie was educated at Hutcheson's Grammar School from 1876 to 1880, and subsequently at Anderson's College. In 1882 he joined the engineering company of Duncan Stewart & Co at their London Road Iron Works at Bridgeton Cross, becoming a draughtsman in 1887, but towards the end of the latter year he left to train as a marine engineer. Over the next three years he travelled widely, and it was probably at this period that he spent some time working in India; he also had links with family and friends in South Africa, and continued to undertake frequent travels throughout his life.

He returned to Glasgow in early 1890, and in June that year married Jessie Black, the daughter of a dairyman who lived near his family home. He re-entered Duncan Stewart's drawing office, but left before the end of the year, after only eight months, to take a senior position as the head of the Ordering Department in the Scotland Street drawing office of Mirlees, Watson & Co, which, like Stewart's firm, specialised in the manufacture of machinery for the sugar industry. He and Jessie set up home in McLellan Street, Kinning Park but left a few years later for the cleaner air of Mount Florida, and Archie began teaching at the evening classes of the Glasgow Athenaeum, the Glasgow School Board and the Christian Institute. It was probably in the early 1890s that Leitch became a freemason.

In 1896 Leitch left Mirlees, Watson & Co to commence practice on his own account as a 'Consulting and Inspecting Engineer', taking an office at 40 St Enoch Square. He was made a member of the Institute of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland in December that year, and in February the following year applied to become an associate of the London-based Institution of Mechanical Engineers. His nomination papers state that he had recently been appointed Consulting Engineer to the Lanarkshire County Council, Middle Ward, and his proposers were all important Scottish engineers: his former employers Sir William Renny Watson (of Mirlees, Watson & Co) and Duncan Stewart; locomotive engineer Charles Davies; mining engineer John Robertson; and, perhaps most significantly, Sir William Arrol, perhaps the most prominent engineer of the time.

Soon after commencing independent practice, Leitch took into partnership Harry Davies, an experienced civil engineer who was probably the son of Charles Davies, and who had recently returned from a twenty-year period working on railway construction projects in India. Over the following years, Leitch & Davies worked mainly on industrial commissions. In March 1899 Leitch received a commission from Rangers Football Club, for the design of their new Ibrox Park stadium. The largest purpose-built football venue the world had ever seen, it opened in April 1900. Leitch proved his devotion to the team by claiming no fees for the design of the stadium.

Leitch became a full member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in March 1902, by which time his firm employed some 30 hands and he was acting for three local councils as well as for the Kroonstaad Corporation in South Africa. It was around this time that Davies returned to India, leaving Leitch to continue his practice alone. On 5 April the same year, during an England v Scotland game at Ibrox Park, disaster struck when a section of the south-west terrace collapsed, resulting in 25 deaths and some 516 injuries. Leitch, greatly scarred by the tragedy, believed it to be the fault of timber merchant Alexander MacDougall, who had used inferior timber and joints contrary to Leitch's instructions; but MacDougall was found not guilty in the ensuing trial. Despite the controversy, and after having initially approaching architect John Gordon, Rangers nevertheless decided to retain Leitch as their consulting engineer, and he went on to become the foremost designer of football grounds of his generation, working for numerous other football clubs and undertaking work at most of the major grounds around Britain. He was closely involved in the world of football administration and frequently advised a number of clubs on improvements to their grounds, using his contacts to help clubs find funding.

Leitch also continued to undertake factory and consultancy work. In 1903 he commenced work on the Sentinel Works in Jessie Street, Polmadie, Glasgow's first building in reinforced concrete. He went on to become an innovator in steel construction, his first double-decker grandstand appearing in 1907. He patented a number of designs, amongst them steel crush barriers, including one version incorporating a tubular hand-rail which doubled as a pipe to supply water for pitch irrigation.

Leitch moved his office to 34 Argyle Arcade at 30 Buchanan Street in 1906. Around 1909, with Glasgow's economy in decline, he and his family left for Liverpool, which was experiencing an engineering and shipping boom. They stayed there until the early months of the First World War, when they settled at a prestigious address in London - Lonsdale House, Barnes, formerly the home of a member of the Wedgwood family. Leitch remained in practice in London thereafter.

Leitch's stadium designs developed little after the First World War, especially when compared to the concrete cantilevered stands being built in France, Italy, Germany, Argentina and elsewhere. Nevertheless, his business continued to be successful, and many of his stands remain in use today.

In 1935 Archie and Jessie Leitch made their final move, to a new semi-detached house in Cockfosters, North London. Archie retired the following year, leaving his business in the hands of his first son, Archibald Kent Leitch (Archie Junior), who was born in April 1891 and who had joined the firm before 1920 and become a partner in 1927. At that time Archie Junior was still living with his parents; he did not marry until 1938.

Archie died in his bed on 25 April 1939, leaving moveable estate of 2,111 12s 9d. He was buried in the family plot in East Sheen, alongside his daughters Jeannie (c.1896-c.1918) and Nancy (c.1904-1933). His son Archie Junior continued the business under the name of Archibald Leitch & Partners. Archie was also survived by his wife and by another daughter, also called Jessie, who had given him two grandchildren. The grandchildren recalled that Archie always had a twinkle in his eye and could fill a house with laughter.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect, engineer:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1160, Granger Road, Langside, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate(?)   
Item 2 of 11Comleypark Street, Camlachie, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1866Before 1890Place of birth
Item 3 of 11McLellan Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1890 or 1891Early 1890s 
Item 4 of 1140, St Enoch Square, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18961906 
Item 5 of 11Clincart Road, Mount Florida, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivateEarly 1890sc. 1909 
Item 6 of 1134 Argyle Arcade/30, Buchanan Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness19061909 
Item 7 of 11Inverclyde, Blundellsands, Liverpool (near), EnglandPrivatec. 19091914 
Item 8 of 1136, Dale Street, Liverpool, EnglandBusiness1913 *  
Item 9 of 11Lonsdale House, Barnes, London, EnglandPrivate1914  
Item 10 of 1118, Victoria Street, Westminster, London, EnglandBusiness1925 *  
Item 11 of 11Cockfosters, London, EnglandPrivate19351939 

* earliest date known from documented sources.


Employment and Training

Employers

The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect, engineer (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2Leitch & DaviesAfter 1896Early 1902Partner 
Item 2 of 2Archibald Leitch & Partners1927(?)1936Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect, engineer (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2David Mills Duncan1902 * Clerk 
Item 2 of 2Archibald Kent Leitch (or Archie Leitch (junior))Before 19201927Assistant(?) 

* earliest date known from documented sources.


Buildings and Designs

This architect, engineer 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 64 Design of the Tube System  GlasgowScotland 
Item 2 of 641899Ibrox Park football stadium  GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 641899Rugby Park grandstandKilmarnock AyrshireScotlandIn collaboration with the Clyde Structural Iron Company
Item 4 of 64Late 1890sCaledonian Tube WorksCoatbridge LanarkshireScotlandProbably in conjunction with the Clyde Structural Iron Company
Item 5 of 64Late 1890sChemical works for Alexander Hope JuniorProvanmill GlasgowScotlandProbably in conjunction with the Clyde Structural Iron Company
Item 6 of 64Late 1890sNew works for Stirling Boiler CompanyGovan GlasgowScotlandProbably in conjunction with the Clyde Structural Iron Company
Item 7 of 64Late 1890sUnion Tube WorksCoatbridge LanarkshireScotlandProbably in conjunction with the Clyde Structural Iron Company
Item 8 of 641900Bramall Lane football groundSheffield YorkshireEnglandIn conjunction with the Clyde Structural Iron Company
Item 9 of 641902Ibrox Park football stadium  GlasgowScotlandGradual rebuilding, retaining front section of original North Stand
Item 10 of 641902Old Trafford Football GroundStretford ManchesterEngland 
Item 11 of 641902Shop, New Street  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 12 of 641902Villas, Nithsdale Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 13 of 641903Ayresome Park football groundMiddlesbrough YorkshireEngland 
Item 14 of 641903Sentinel Works  GlasgowScotlandWith Brand & Lithgow (NB pattern shop and offices by Leitch)
Item 15 of 641904Craven Cottage football groundFulham LondonEnglandOriginal ground; also continued to advise Fulham Football Club for many years afterwards
Item 16 of 641904Free St John's Mission ChurchGallowgate GlasgowScotlandWCs added
Item 17 of 641905Stamford Bridge football groundFulham LondonEngland 
Item 18 of 641906Anfield football ground  LiverpoolEnglandRebuilding, retaining original main stand and Anfield Road cover
Item 19 of 641906Ewood Park football groundBlackburn LancashireEnglandRebuilding, including new Riverside Stand and Nuttall Street Stand
Item 20 of 641907Park Avenue football groundBradford YorkshireEnglandRebuilding
Item 21 of 641908Goodison Park stadium  LiverpoolEnglandNew Main Stand
Item 22 of 641908Valley Parade football ground, Midland Road standBradford YorkshireEnglandMajor additions and alterations, including Midland Road Stand
Item 23 of 641908White Hart Lane football stadiumTottenham LondonEnglandWest Stand
Item 24 of 641909Goodison Park stadium  LiverpoolEnglandAlterations to terracing
Item 25 of 641909White Hart Lane football stadiumTottenham LondonEnglandExtensions to terracing
Item 26 of 641910Leeds Road football groundHuddersfield YorkshireEnglandRebuilding
Item 27 of 641910The Den football groundNew Cross LondonEngland 
Item 28 of 641912Cardiff Arms Park, grandstand  CardiffWales 
Item 29 of 641912Gourock WaterworksGourock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 30 of 641913Arsenal football stadiumHighbury LondonEngland 
Item 31 of 641913Douglas Park football groundHamilton LanarkshireScotlandNew stand
Item 32 of 641913Hillsborough football stadiumSheffield YorkshireEnglandNew Main Stand (South Stand)
Item 33 of 641913Roker Park football groundSunderland County DurhamEnglandProbably responsible for new Roker End terrace
Item 34 of 641913Tynecastle football stadium, McLeod Street StandGorgie EdinburghScotland 
Item 35 of 641914Villa Park football ground  BirminghamEnglandRebuilding incorporating earlier Witton Lane Stand; included Trinity Road Stand; terraces remained unexecuted
Item 36 of 641921Dens Park football stadium  DundeeScotlandRebuilding
Item 37 of 641921St James' Park football stadium  Newcastle upon TyneEnglandImprovements to existing stand, upgrading of terracing and terrace cover
Item 38 of 64After 1921Stamford Bridge football groundFulham LondonEnglandAdditions and alterations
Item 39 of 641923Selhurst Park football ground  LondonEngland 
Item 40 of 641924Molineux football groundWolverhampton StaffordshireEnglandMain Stand
Item 41 of 641924Twickenham rugby groundTwickenham MiddlesexEnglandNorth Stand
Item 42 of 641925Fratton Park football groundPortsmouth HampshireEnglandNew South Stand
Item 43 of 641926Derby County Baseball GroundDerby DerbyshireEnglandMain Stand ('B Pavilion') on west side
Item 44 of 641926Goodison Park stadium  LiverpoolEnglandNew Bullens Road Stand
Item 45 of 641926The DellSouthampton HampshireEnglandWest Stand
Item 46 of 641927Hampden Park Football GroundMount Florida GlasgowScotlandExtension of east terrace and replacement of wire-rope barriers
Item 47 of 641927Twickenham rugby groundTwickenham MiddlesexEnglandEast Stand
Item 48 of 64c. 1927Ibrox Park football stadium  GlasgowScotlandNew South Stand
Item 49 of 641928West Ham StadiumWest Ham LondonEngland 
Item 50 of 641929Celtic Football GroundParkhead GlasgowScotlandNew 5000-seat south stand
Item 51 of 641929Roker Park football groundSunderland County DurhamEnglandNew Main Stand
Item 52 of 641929The DellSouthampton HampshireEnglandNew East Stand
Item 53 of 641930Windsor Park football ground, South Stand  BelfastNorthern Ireland 
Item 54 of 64c. 1931Dalymount Park football ground, Main Stand extension and terrace works  DublinEire 
Item 55 of 64c. 1931Molineux football groundWolverhampton StaffordshireEnglandRedevelopment of the North Bank ('The Cowshed'); new Molineux Street Stand; extension of South Bank Terrace
Item 56 of 641932Balmoral Show Ground, grandstand  BelfastNorthern Ireland 
Item 57 of 641932Twickenham rugby groundTwickenham MiddlesexEnglandWest Stand
Item 58 of 641933Derby County Baseball GroundDerby DerbyshireEnglandOsmaston End Stand
Item 59 of 641934White Hart Lane football stadiumTottenham LondonEnglandEast Stand
Item 60 of 641935Derby County Baseball GroundDerby DerbyshireEnglandNormanton End Stand
Item 61 of 641935Molineux football groundWolverhampton StaffordshireEnglandCovering of South Bank
Item 62 of 641935Molineux football groundWolverhampton StaffordshireEnglandFurther work, including improvements to Molineux Street Stand
Item 63 of 641936Ayresome Park football groundMiddlesbrough YorkshireEnglandMajor additions, including new South Stand
Item 64 of 641936Roker Park football groundSunderland County DurhamEnglandClock Stand

References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect, engineer:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Inglis, Simon2005Engineering Archie: Archibald Leitch - football ground designer London: English Heritage