Basic Biographical Details

Name: Robertson & Son
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1904
Ended: 1907
Bio Notes: Walter Wood Robertson was born in 1845, the son of James Robertson, cloth weaver and Ann Nelson. In 1858 he was articled to John Chesser, then in the Edinburgh City Superintendent's Office, probably the origin of the 'Scotsman' report that he was articled to Robert Morham. He studied at the Edinburgh School of Art. At the end of his apprenticeship in 1863 he spent three months gaining wider experience in the office of Peddie & Kinnear, with whom Chesser was then closely associated in various property transactions, following which he returned to Chesser as assistant for a further two years. Thereafter he spent two years with Brown & Wardrop before moving to Manchester as draughtsman first with J Holden & Son for two years, and then for a further two with Speakman & Charlesworth, during which period he studied at Owens College.

He moved to London in 1871 and joined H M Office of Works as technical assistant to Sir Douglas Galton, H M Director of Works. After that post was abolished he remained in the same office as assistant to Sir John Taylor, who appointed him principal architect and surveyor for Scotland on Robert Matheson's death in 1877.

Robertson married Alice Nesbit Alcorne and they had at least two sons, Alan Keith (born 11 December 1881) and Walter J (date of birth unknown). In 1883 Robertson joined the Merchant Company of which he was successively assistant treasurer, treasurer, and in 1895-97 master. He was also a prominent mason, being for a time RWM of the Lodge of Edinburgh (St Mary's Chapel) No 1.

Robertson's preferred free French Renaissance idiom was somewhat conservative by the end of his career and in some degree still reflected his Manchester and 1870s Office of Works background, but he was a man of immense acumen whose advice was widely sought in valuations and arbitrations. In 1904 he had a slight paralytic stroke and had to retire from his post as principal architect, commencing practice with his son Alan Keith Robertson and becoming consulting architect to the Scottish Education Department. His son had been articled to Hippolyte Jean Blanc c.1897, and had remained with him for two-and-a-half years as an assistant until joining his father in practice, during which period he had studied at the School of Applied Art where he had won several prizes. He had spent his holidays travelling in Belgium, Holland and England.

At the end of October 1906 Walter Wood Robertson had a major stroke from which he never recovered. Only then did he seek admission to the RIBA, perhaps for his son rather than himself, his proposers being Sir Henry Tanner, Sir John Taylor and Hippolyte Jean Blanc.

Walter Wood Robertson died at his home, Wardie Bank, Trinity, Leith on 23 April 1907, as a result of his stroke six months and twenty-two days earlier. His son continued to practice under his own name thereafter, retaining the Scottish Education Department appointment which brought him the commission for Moray House and the associated campus of halls of residence at Suffolk Road.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 3122, George Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1904c. 1906 
Item 2 of 329, Hanover Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 19061907Run concurrently with Queen Street office
Item 3 of 314, Queen Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 19061907Run concurrently with Hanover Street office

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 2Walter Wood Robertson19041907Senior Partner 
Item 2 of 2Alan Keith Robertson19041907Partner 

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 2After 1904(?)Moray House  EdinburghScotlandAlterations (building in use as school)
Item 2 of 21906Garage for Western Motor Company  GlasgowScotland 


Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2RIBA Journal1 June 1907 London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp511 Obituary of Walter Wood Robertson
Item 2 of 2Scotsman24 April 1907