Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Robert Reid
Designation: Architect
Born: 11 May 1854
Died: 14 April 1919
Bio Notes: William Robert Reid was born at 5 Forres Street Edinburgh on 11 May 1854, the eldest of the four children of William Reid, cabinetmaker, and his wife Sarah Brown: his father had originally come from Cullen, Banffshire to join Kennington & Jenner as an apprentice haberdasher in 1835, moved to James Morison cabinetmaker in 1847 and took over the business on Morison's death in 1862, trading as Morison & Co.

William Reid junior was educated at The Edinburgh Institution in 1866-70 and studied art in London in 1871-73, joining his father at Morison & Co in the spring of the latter year. As his father became blind very early he was made a partner on 31 March 1884, and effectively and took over the management of the business. It specialised in the design and execution of interior work and of private railway carriages and trains de luxe. The main workshops were at Tynecastle Edinburgh, with branches in Glasgow and Manchester.

William Reid senior died in 1895, his two sons William Robert and John being the surviving partners. On 8 July of the following year William Robert married Margaret Johnstone Barton, third daughter of William Barton, a plumber with whom the Reids had business connections and his wife Euphemia Frater. She was four years older, born on 23 January 1850. They set up house on the upper floors of 78 George Street, the principal interiors being remodelled in a modern French manner. John retired early from, Morison & Co on 15 September 1900 and as William had no family he too decided to retire early. He bought Lauriston Castle in December 1902 and in April of the following year sold the property at 78 George Street to the Professional and Civil Service Supply Association and the business of Morison & Co to W Turner, Lord & Co of London who set up new showrooms at 36 Charlotte Square.

In June 1903 the Reids took up residence at Lauriston Castle, the interior of which had been extensively remodelled in a refined neo-classical manner. In the years immediately following his retirement he practised briefly as an architect, producing a scheme for the remodelling of Cramond Parish Church and designing one major house, Easter Park, Barnton, which was executed by John Watherston & Sons. As an architect he seems to have been largely self-taught from his magnificent library, now incorporated into the National Library of Scotland.

William Robert Reid died on 14 April 1919 after several years of indifferent health. His widow Margaret died on 5 September 1926, leaving Lauriston to the City of Edinburgh.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 278, George Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate/business18731902Office 1873-1895; house and office 1896-1902
Item 2 of 2Lauriston Castle, Cramond, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate19021919 

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 1Morrison & Co  Proprietor 

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 31902Lauriston CastleCramond EdinburghScotlandAlterations for himself after purchasing house in 1902
Item 2 of 31905Easter ParkBarnton EdinburghScotland 
Item 3 of 31906Cramond Parish ChurchCramond EdinburghScotlandPlans for restoration


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 3Fairley, John A1925Lauriston Castle and its owners   
Item 2 of 3Rowan, Ann Martha1974Lauriston Castle 1974 
Item 3 of 3Scarratt, David Lauriston Castle, an Edinburgh villa