Basic Biographical Details

Name: Gordon & Dey
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1946
Bio Notes: Alexander Esmé Gordon was born on 12 September 1910, the son of Alexander Shand Gordon and Elizabeth Catherine Logan. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1928. He spent his year out with Burnet Tait & Lorne in London, and returned to the same firm as a qualified assistant in 1934, working on St Andrews House, Edinburgh, Kirsop's, Glasgow and several English projects including the limited competition for a house for King George V and the Curzon Cinema. He worked mainly but not exclusively under Tait and his senior assistant Andrew D Bryce. He had won several minor scholarships which enabled him to make sketching tours of England and two month-long trips to Italy (in 1931 and 1933), and in 1934 was awarded the Owen Jones Scholarship, which he used to travel again to Italy the following year. He was admitted ARIBA on 2 December 1935, his proposers being John Begg, Alexander Lorne Campbell and Frank Charles Mears.

In 1937 Gordon commenced practice on his own account at 34 Castle Street, Edinburgh, having spent part of his time in the Edinburgh office under James Wallace and gained a part-time appointment at Edinburgh College of Art. In the same year he married Betsy McCurry, a concert pianist, and was joined in partnership by an as yet unidentified architect named Robertson, working with him as Robertson & Gordon until c.1940 when he commenced war service.

Esmé Gordon took his former assistant William Gordon Dey into partnership in 1946, after they had returned from war service. Dey had been born on 29 April 1911 and studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1929 to 1936, where he had met Esmé Gordon. During his year out in 1933-4 he had made a tour of Norway, Denmark and Holland and worked with William Kininmonth in the office of Rowand Anderson & Paul. In 1935 he had obtained an exemption from the final exams, had undertaken a study tour of London and Paris, and had joined the first Town Planning Course introduced in that year by Frank Charles Mears, whilst helping out at times in John Begg's office on the Westfield Autocar project at Stirling. He had been admitted ARIBA on 2 December of that year, his proposers being John Begg, John Fraser Matthew and Arthur Forman Balfour Paul, and his nomination papers give a home and business address of 'Rothiemay', 22 St John's Road, Edinburgh, although it is not clear whether he undertook any work on his own account at this time. In 1936 he had joined the staff of the city architect Ebenezer James MacRae, where he worked mainly on the survey of the Canongate, but was allowed to design the recreation hall at St Cuthbert's Poorhouse. He had joined Robertson & Gordon in 1937 to help with the Glasgow Empire Exhibition Transport Pavilion. He had served in Egypt during the Second World War but had secured an early release with the assistance of Robert Matthew, to help James Shearer with the Clackmannan County Plan. Despite his affection for Shearer - 'the most delightful architect he had ever met, he learnt more from Shearer than anyone else' - Dey had returned to Esmé Gordon's office as a partner in 1946.

Dey was elected FRIBA in 1955, Gordon in 1956, by which time he had moved his office to his former home at 36 Heriot Row, and was living at 11 Greenhill Gardens. Dey retired in 1982.

In or about 1962 Gerald Wamesley had been taken into partnership followed in about 1970 by Martin Clark, about 1975 by Richard Ash and about 1983 by David Hall. The practice had moved in 1975 to 9 Park Cresent Liberton (the old telephone exchange) and then in 1991 to 23 Mitchell Street, Leith.

Esmé Gordon died on 31 May 1993. His wife had predeceased him in 1990.

N.B. The RIBA directory of 1975 states that the practice were awarded a CT Award for the Staff House of the Royal Mile but unclear what this is.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 336, Heriot Row, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1936After 1975In 1946 became the practice office when partnership commenced.
Item 2 of 39, Park Crescent, Liberton, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1975  
Item 3 of 323, Mitchell Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1991  

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 11Alexander Esmé Gordon (or Esmé Gordon)1946 Partner 
Item 2 of 11William Gordon Dey1946After 1975Partner 
Item 3 of 11Peter Charles Maidment1950 Assistant 
Item 4 of 11Ian Henry Dodd19561957Assistant 
Item 5 of 11Leonard Lloyd-Smithc. 1957 Senior Assistant 
Item 6 of 11Roy Gerard Walmesley19621990Partner 
Item 7 of 11Robert Thomas RhindFebruary 1963September 1963AssociateWith a view to becoming a partner
Item 8 of 11Martin Albert Clarkc. 1970After 1975Partner 
Item 9 of 11Richard Ash19751986Partner 
Item 10 of 11Robert ('Bob') FitzgeraldLate 1970sBefore 1979  
Item 11 of 11Kenneth B Herdc. 1980 Architect 

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 591946Free High Church and Free Church College  EdinburghScotlandAlterations. Perhaps involved in alterations including sub-division of students' common room and alterations in examination rooms
Item 2 of 591946St Giles Cathedral  EdinburghScotlandWar memorial chapel furnishings and extensive alterations to sanctuary for State service at which HM the Queen received the Crown of Scotland
Item 3 of 591947Leeds Premanent Building Society office  Edinburgh Scotland 
Item 4 of 591947Moray House Training College  EdinburghScotlandHandiwork and music department added
Item 5 of 59After 1947Children's Homes  EdinburghScotland 
Item 6 of 59After 1947Eventide HomeLoanhead MidlothianScotland 
Item 7 of 59After 1947Eventide homeGargunnock StirlingshireScotland 
Item 8 of 59After 1947Eventide Home Alloa ClackmannanshireScotland 
Item 9 of 59After 1947Eventide Home Galashiels SelkirkshireScotland 
Item 10 of 591949British Linen Bank, Head Office  EdinburghScotlandNew suite for general manager and war memorial
Item 11 of 591949British Linen Bank, Shandwick Place  EdinburghScotland 
Item 12 of 591949Church Hall, Pennywell RoadWest Pilton EdinburghScotland 
Item 13 of 59After 1949British Linen BankHawick RoxburghshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 14 of 59After 1949British Linen BankJohnstone RenfrewshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 15 of 59After 1949British Linen BankBerwick-upon-Tweed NorthumberlandEnglandReconstruction
Item 16 of 591950Foundry for Archibald McMillan & Co  EdinburghScotlandArchitects for demolition and erection of foundry
Item 17 of 591950Research laboratory for Scottish Agricultural Industries  EdinburghScotland 
Item 18 of 591952Moray House Training College  EdinburghScotlandSports pavilion
Item 19 of 591952Woodhall Paper MillColinton EdinburghScotlandReconstruction after fire
Item 20 of 591953British Pharmaceutical Society, exam laboratories  EdinburghScotland 
Item 21 of 591953Free ChurchCorstorphine EdinburghScotlandReconstruction and furnishings
Item 22 of 591953Oxgangs Primary SchoolOxgangs EdinburghScotland 
Item 23 of 5924 April 1953Moray House Training College  EdinburghScotlandScheme of restoration
Item 24 of 591954Moray House Training College  EdinburghScotlandSpeech training department
Item 25 of 591955Coldingham PrioryColdingham BerwickshireScotlandReordering of interior
Item 26 of 591955Tenement, 176-184 Canongate  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction
Item 27 of 591956200 Canongate  EdinburghScotland 
Item 28 of 591956Leeds Premanent Building Society office  Edinburgh ScotlandFurther reconstruction
Item 29 of 591956Lodge Dunedin  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction after fire
Item 30 of 591956Tenement, Old Playhouse Close  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction
Item 31 of 59c. 1956Heriot-Watt Technical College, new block  EdinburghScotland 
Item 32 of 591960Electricity office and showroom  EdinburghScotland 
Item 33 of 591960Moray House College of Education, Dalhousie Land  EdinburghScotland 
Item 34 of 591960Moray House College of Education, Dalhousie Land  EdinburghScotland 
Item 35 of 591960Moray House Training College  EdinburghScotlandAlterations and additions including new gymnasium
Item 36 of 591960Scottish Life Assurance Co  EdinburghScotlandRebuilding
Item 37 of 591960St David's ChurchBroomhouse EdinburghScotland 
Item 38 of 591961Building (neo-Georgian in style), Holyrood Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 39 of 591963Allan Park UP ChurchStirling StirlingshireScotlandInterior recast including large chancel with panelled organ pipe housings
Item 40 of 591967Five Storey Block of Teaching Accommodation, St John Street  EdinburghScotlandAlso designed Laingwall units in collaboration with Sydney Greenwood
Item 41 of 59Mid 1960sHeriot-Watt University, Department of Brewing and Biochemistry  EdinburghScotland 
Item 42 of 59197015-16 Abercromby Place  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction as offices behind facade
Item 43 of 591970North Parish ChurchStirling StirlingshireScotland 
Item 44 of 591971Moray House College of Education, Charteris Land  EdinburghScotland 
Item 45 of 591974Upper Springland CentrePerth Perthshire  
Item 46 of 591975Gannochy Trust Sports Complex, with Bell Sports Centre and Gannochy Sports PavilionPerth PerthshireScotlandThe Gannochy Sports Pavilion
Item 47 of 591975Kinnoull House and MacMillan HousePerth PerthshireScotland 
Item 48 of 59Before 1975Eventide Home for the Merchant Company of Edinburgh  EdinburghScotland 
Item 49 of 59Before 1975Milton Road East Lodge, gates and scaliger railing  EdinburghScotlandSpecial care unit
Item 50 of 59Before 1975Moray House Training College  EdinburghScotlandPhased rebuilding programme including teaching block, PE building, new music block and visual arts building.
Item 51 of 59Before 1975Newbattle House  EdinburghScotland 
Item 52 of 59197984-86 Great King Street and 2A and 2B St Vincent Street  EdinburghScotlandRepairs
Item 53 of 591980Christ Church Episcopal Church  EdinburghScotlandConversion 'into a modern idiom'
Item 54 of 591980Inverkeithing Parish ChurchInverkeithing FifeScotlandRestoration
Item 55 of 591980Moray House College of Education, St Mary's Land and Chessel's Land  EdinburghScotland 
Item 56 of 591980Perth TheatrePerth PerthshireScotlandRe-seating, repairs, restoration
Item 57 of 591980Saltoun Hall  East LothianScotlandRoof repairs
Item 58 of 591980St John's ChurchPerth PerthshireScotlandRestoration
Item 59 of 591982George Heriot's Hospital  EdinburghScotlandRestoration


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 3Bailey, Rebecca M1996Scottish architects' papers: a source book Edinburgh: The Rutland Pressp126
Item 2 of 3Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp4 Image of Electricity Board Office and Showroom
Item 3 of 3RIBA1975RIBA Directory of practices   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Builder5 May 1950  p612
Item 2 of 2Builder24 April 1953  p664