Basic Biographical Details

Name: A N Paterson & Stoddart
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1919
Ended: c. 1936
Bio Notes: Alexander Nisbet Paterson was born at Berkeley Terrace, Glasgow on 3 May 1862, the youngest son of Andrew Paterson and his wife Margaret Hunter. The Hunters were sewed muslin manufacturers. When his father was orphaned at nineteen his uncle James Hunter appointed him a foreman in his warehouse and took him into partnership two years later at the early age of twenty-one. He was a good watercolourist as well as an astute businessman and most of his family developed artistic interests. James, born 1854, became the Glasgow Boys painter and William, born 1859, was later to own a Bond Street Art Gallery in London.

Alexander was educated at the Western Academy and at Glasgow Academy. His parents wanted him to enter the church and he attended Glasgow University where he graduated MA in 1882. He really wanted to become a painter like his eldest brother but his parents felt they could not afford two painters in the family. As they were friendly with the Burnets, architecture was decided on as a compromise. Probably after some initial training in the Burnet office, he followed John James Burnet's advice and entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the atelier Jean Louis Pascal in 1883. By that date his eldest brother James had returned from Paris, where he had studied in the studio of Jacquessen de la Chevreuse and the atelier of Jean-Paul Laurens. At the Ecole he also spent time in the atelier of M Galland who specialised in decoration. His record at the Ecole was very competent but not especially distinguished probably because he had entered it with rather less practical experience than most. During the vacations he made study tours of France, Holland and Belgium.

In 1886 Paterson returned to the Burnet office to find John Archibald Campbell had been taken into partnership. There he worked first as an improver and as a draughtsman his skill as a watercolourist being much in demand for the presentation perspectives of the firm's projects. In 1889 he won the RIBA silver medal and passed the qualifying exam. He was admitted ARIBA on 3 March 1890, his proposers being Richard Phené Spiers, John Burnet senior and his new employer in London Colonel Robert William Edis. After about a year with Edis as head draughtsman, he moved to the rather more up-to-date practice of Sir Aston Webb as his assistant on the competition for the Victoria and Albert Museum and spent time travelling in Italy before commencing independent practice in Glasgow late in 1891. Although they were never to be associated again in business, Paterson remained close with the Burnets and also developed a friendship with William James Anderson taking adjoining offices and sharing an apprentice, Alexander David Hislop.

In 1896 having won the Godwin scholarship Paterson took a career break to visit the USA and produced 'A Study of the domestic architecture in the United States of America in the year 1896, with special reference to questions of plans, construction, heating drainage etc.'. Burnet also visited the USA in that year but the extent to which their paths crossed is not known: but he did take the opportunity to visit his fellow 'élève' in Pascal's atelier, Stewart Henbest Capper, the newly appointed Professor of Architecture at McGill University in Montreal.

Paterson's practice was probably cared for by Anderson during his absence. On his return he married Margaret (Maggie) Hamilton, sister of the Glasgow School painter James Whitelaw Hamilton in 1897, his father giving him Turret, one of the four houses in Helensburgh he had financed to help start Paterson's practice; his father and mother themselves moved to Torwood House, Rhu in 1893 as all the family were keen on sailing. Two years later, in 1899, Paterson achieved some fame by coming a close second to James Miller in the competition for the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1901.

In 1900 Paterson took on as his assistant Donald McKay Stoddart. Stoddart had been born in 1875 (reg dist 644/12, entry no 177), the son of J Hastie Stoddart, editor of the Glasgow Herald, and Sarah Cunningham McTaggart. He had recently returned from an extensive tour of France and Italy following an apprenticeship with Honeyman & Keppie in 1893-97 and classes at Glasgow School of Art under William James Anderson. Somewhat unusually he was given freedom to have a small private practice. He was admitted LRIBA on 4 July 1910 his proposers being Paterson, John Keppie and Andrew Graham Henderson.

In 1901 Campbell Douglas found it necessary to dissolve his partnership with Alexander Morrison and in 1903 Douglas merged his practice with Paterson's as Campbell Douglas & Paterson, the retained office being Douglas's at 266 St Vincent Street. Their relationship was a very happy one but in 1906 Douglas had a bad recurrence of an old illness (probably that which afflicted him in 1888) and was forced to retire. The merger was carried out in a very civilised way, Douglas going to some trouble to place those staff made redundant with other practices. Paterson thereafter practised alone. He was admitted FRIBA on 28 February 1910, his proposers being Burnet, Phené Spiers and Aston Webb, and was elected ARSA in 1911. From that time onwards, if not earlier, he became a close friend of Robert Lorimer. He became a Governor of Glasgow School of Art in 1916 and from at least that time onwards became deeply committed to architectural education as A Graham Henderson's obituary records. In 1919 on his return from war service Stoddart was taken into partnership. But his health had been damaged and his role in the office remained much the same as it had been before 1914, as in Paterson's words, he suffered from 'a want of boldness in general conception, the proverbial failure to see the wood for the trees'.

Stoddart was admitted FRIBA on 30 November 1925, his proposers being Paterson, Keppie and John Watson, the last reflecting the close relationship which had developed between Paterson and the Watsons.

Stoddart died of pneumonia at the Western Infirmary on 31 January 1930. Paterson's own health was affected by cancer of the throat. The operation to remove it was successful but he had to relearn how to speak and c.1936 handed his practice over to John Watson Junior of Watson & Salmond. Paterson then devoted the rest of his life to watercolour painting, having been RSW since 1916. His other interests were golf, hill-walking and the Ancient Monuments Board of which he became a member in 1930.

Paterson died at Helensburgh on 10 July 1947. He was survived by Maggie who died on 21 January 1952, his artist daughter Mary Viola and a son Alastair Hamilton Paterson who entered the army and rose to the rank of Major General.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 2226, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1919After 1924 
Item 2 of 2219, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1929 *  

* 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 8Douglas Lindsay Crawford1919c. 1921Apprentice 
Item 2 of 8Donald McKay Stoddart1919Early 1930Partner 
Item 3 of 8Alexander Nisbet Paterson1919c. 1936Senior Partner 
Item 4 of 8Jack Antonio Coiac. 1920After 1920Draughtsman 
Item 5 of 8Alfred Ian Duncan MacdonaldMay 1921May 1926Apprentice 
Item 6 of 8Alfred Ian Duncan MacdonaldMay 1926February 1927Assistant 
Item 7 of 8Geoffrey James MonroApril 1927September 1927Apprentice(?) 
Item 8 of 8Geoffrey James MonroApril 1928September 1928Apprentice(?) 

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 331919Memorial Cross to the Earl and Countess of HomeDouglas LanarkshireScotland 
Item 2 of 331920National Bank of Scotland War Memorial  EdinburghScotland 
Item 3 of 331920Shandon war memorialGullybridge DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 4 of 33c. 1920Langside Old Parish ChurchLangside GlasgowScotlandWar memorial
Item 5 of 33c. 1920Rhu War MemorialRhu/Row DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 6 of 33c. 1920William Millie Dow MemorialDysart FifeScotland 
Item 7 of 331922Helensburgh War Memorial, Hermitage ParkHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 8 of 331922Holy Trinity Episcopal ChurchKilmarnock AyrshireScotlandInternal alterations - inlcuding nave roof and mullions and transoms of windows?
Item 9 of 331922Scalesheugh  CumberlandEnglandFurther work?
Item 10 of 33c. 1922Scalesheugh Mausoleum  CumberlandEngland 
Item 11 of 331923Campbeltown War MemorialCampbeltown ArgyllScotlandWon competition to secure job (according to HS Lists and B of S)
Item 12 of 331923RowaleynRhu/Row DunbartonshireScotlandAdditions - entrance tower
Item 13 of 331923Scottish National Zoological Park, Gateway (including lodge)Corstorphine EdinburghScotland 
Item 14 of 331923St Bride's Girls' SchoolHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandJunior wing and alterations
Item 15 of 331923Yarrow ChurchYarrow SelkirkshireScotlandRebuilding after fire
Item 16 of 33c. 1923Helensburgh Cemetery, Bonar Law MemorialHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 17 of 331924Glasgow Academy War Memorial  GlasgowScotlandTook over job
Item 18 of 331924Scottish National Zoological Park AquariumCorstorphine EdinburghScotlandAppointed after competition but later modified the design
Item 19 of 331925Additions to a house in Stirlingshire  StirlingshireScotland 
Item 20 of 331925Duncan Macpherson HospitalGourock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 21 of 331925Mausoleum in a private park     
Item 22 of 331925The Savings Bank of Glasgow, MuirendCathcart GlasgowScotland 
Item 23 of 33c. 1925House at Whitecraigs for John M BrownWhitecraigs GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 33c. 1925Tomb of Stewart Henbest Capper  CairoEgypt 
Item 25 of 331926Gleddoch HouseLangbank (near) RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 26 of 331927Palace of the League of Nations  GenevaSwitzerlandCompetition design
Item 27 of 331928DunardHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandUnspecified work
Item 28 of 331928National Bank of Scotland, Helensburgh BranchHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 29 of 331929University of Glasgow Students Union  GlasgowScotlandCompetition design - not successful
Item 30 of 331930Royal Exchange  GlasgowScotlandFurther proposed extension scheme - not carried out
Item 31 of 331932Rural seatCardross DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 32 of 331933RowaleynRhu/Row DunbartonshireScotlandAlterations
Item 33 of 331935War Memorial of 6th Highland Light Infantry, City of Glasgow Regiment  GlasgowScotlandProbably design of c.1920 re-exhibited


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 2James Paterson1983James Paterson, Moniaive and following family traditions Catalogue of exhibition held at Little Art Gallery 
Item 2 of 2Paterson Family1977The Paterson Family Catalogue of exhibition held at the Fine Art Society 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Builder13 June 1919  p 582 Partnership announced