Basic Biographical Details

Name: Matthew Steele
Designation: Architect
Born: 19 February 1878
Died: 12 December 1937
Bio Notes: Matthew Steele was born on 19 February 1878 at Corbie Hall, Bo'ness, the son of Alexander Steele (whose family were Spar and Block Makers though Alexander Steele at one point seems to have been a grocer) and Elizabeth Mackie of Kilbirnie. Matthew attended primary school in Bo'ness and transferred in 1891 to George Heriot's School in Edinburgh for his secondary education. He entered an as yet unidentified office in Glasgow in 1893 as an apprentice allowing him to attend classes at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College between 1896 and 1900, studying under Professor Charles Gourlay. After the completion of the course at the College he entered the City of Glasgow Corporation Telephone Company as a draughtsman and may have come into contact with his counterparts from Scandinavia and Germany as the telephone company sought advice from the municipal companies of Copenhagen, Stockholm and Trondheim before opening its service in 1901. During his time with the telephone company he entered a competition for Thomas Parsons' premises in Oxford Street in London and gained second prize. In 1905 Steele returned to Bo'ness to commence independent practice.

On 28 September the following year he married Margaret Watson Dudgeon Louden, daughter of Robert Louden, builder, at her home, 12 Broughton Place, Edinburgh. The Louden family appear to have had a connection with Bo'ness, John Louden being burgh surveyor. Matthew and Margaret Steele's son Alexander, the future City Architect of Edinburgh, was born three months after their wedding on 20 December at 1 Jane Terrace, Bo'ness. A daughter, Nan, was born later.

Steele rapidly built up a wide range of clients in Bo'ness - perhaps through his connections as a Freemason (his first practice address was the Masonic Hall Buildings at Corbiehall and an early commission was for the new lodge in Stewart Avenue): Dean of Guild records show there was a continual flow of work even during the years of the First World War. Steele's pre-war buildings were designed in an Arts and Crafts or continental early modern manner. His Arts and Crafts style continued into the 1920s but in the 1930s he adopted an Art Deco Moderne manner.

Steele was admitted LRIBA in 1925, having transferred his membership of the Society of Architects to the RIBA at this point without having to go through the normal application procedures. In the 1930s Steele was employed on various Local Authority Housing schemes, some with John Taylor in what was probably an informal partnership. At this time he was also involved as joint sponsor of a scheme for putting a dam across the Forth at South Queensferry to make an inland shipping lake and forming a roadway across the Forth.

Steele died of pneumonia on 12 December 1937 at The Quarry, Carriden, Bo'ness, and was buried in Bo'ness Cemetery.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 5Clifton Cottage, Bo'ness/Borrowstouness, West Lothian, ScotlandPrivateBefore 18961905 or 1906 
Item 2 of 5Masonic Hall Buildings/4, Corbiehall, CarridenBo'ness/Borrowstouness, West Lothian, ScotlandBusiness1905After 1925 
Item 3 of 51, Jane Terrace, Bo'ness/Borrowstouness, West Lothian, ScotlandPrivate1905 or 1906Before 1915 
Item 4 of 5Kelty Avenue, Bo'ness/Borrowstouness, West Lothian, ScotlandPrivate1915  
Item 5 of 5The Quarry, Grahamsdyke Road, Carriden, Bo'ness/Borrowstouness, West Lothian, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1925After 1937 

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1Alexander Steelec. 1921(?)Before 1925(?)Apprentice(?)Probably began training in his father's office, but this is not certain

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 78 Carriden HouseCarriden West LothianScotlandRenovation - date unknown
Item 2 of 78 Duchess Nina's Nurses' HomeBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandDate unknown
Item 3 of 78 Housing, East and West PartingsBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandDate unknown
Item 4 of 78 Labour ExchangeBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandDate unknown
Item 5 of 78 Station HotelBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandDate unknown
Item 6 of 781905Double cottage, 47- 49 Dean RoadBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 7 of 781905West Lothian Pottery, drying shedBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 8 of 781906CottageBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 9 of 781906Two blocks of four housesBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 10 of 781907Shed and storeBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 11 of 781907Shops and flatsBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandNew shop and flats above
Item 12 of 781907T Ovens & Sons Chemical worksBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandLaboratory
Item 13 of 781907The KnoweBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandAdditional servants' quarters and outlook tower
Item 14 of 781908Artisan terraced housingBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 15 of 781908Office and flat for Bo'ness Iron CoBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 16 of 781909Cross Keys public houseBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 17 of 781909House in the of style of Old GrangeBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 18 of 781909Masonic LodgeBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 19 of 781909Seaforth, Linlithgow RoadBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 20 of 781909Tenements, Stewart AvenueBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 21 of 781910House for John JeffreyBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 22 of 781911Bo'ness Established Church, church hallBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 23 of 781911Generating stationBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 24 of 781911GrangewellsMuirhouses West LothianScotland 
Item 25 of 781911Hippodrome CinemaBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 26 of 781911Picture Palace  GlasgowScotland 
Item 27 of 781912Gas holderBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 28 of 781912Hippodrome CinemaBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandNew dressing room
Item 29 of 781912The KnoweBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandNew billiard room on first floor
Item 30 of 781913Elmpark, garagesBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 31 of 781914House for J ForresterBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 32 of 781915New cinemaBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 33 of 781917Workshop for Mickel & CoBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandAdditions
Item 34 of 781919Bo'ness Distillery, Buildings for James Calder and CoBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandExtension to boiler house and drag and dreg building
Item 35 of 781919Cochrane Brothers premisesBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandAlterations
Item 36 of 781919House, Mora Grahamsdyke RoadBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandAlterations
Item 37 of 781919Housing scheme, Marchlands AvenueBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 38 of 781919T Ovens & Sons Chemical worksBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandNew shed
Item 39 of 781921Bo'ness Picture House, CorbiehallBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 40 of 781922Bo'ness Co-operative Society bakeryBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandaddition
Item 41 of 781922Victoria SawmillsBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandNew offices
Item 42 of 781923Craigellan Housing planBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 43 of 781924Bo'ness Hosiery CoBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandExtension
Item 44 of 781924Bungalow, Rob ParkBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandAlteration
Item 45 of 781924Bungalows, Cadzow CrescentBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 46 of 781924Cochrane Brothers premisesBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandNew workship
Item 47 of 781924House, BraemarBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandAddition of dormers
Item 48 of 781924House, OchilviewBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandAddition of bathroom
Item 49 of 781924Housing developmentBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 50 of 781924Victoria SawmillsBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandNew shed
Item 51 of 781925Bungalow, Grahamsdyke RoadBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 52 of 781925Cottage, Cadzow CrescentBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 53 of 781926Shop and office, East PartingsBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 54 of 781929Melville PlaceBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandSubdivision of houses
Item 55 of 781930T Ovens & Sons Chemical worksBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandAlterations to chemical works
Item 56 of 781931Scheme for damming the the River Forth at South QueensferrySouth Queensferry West LothianScotland 
Item 57 of 781931Villa housing development  EdinburghScotland 
Item 58 of 781932Housing developmentBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 59 of 781932Housing developmentBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 60 of 781932Housing developmentBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 61 of 781932Housing development, Corbiehall/SnabBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 62 of 781932Housing development, Laverockbank Avenue South  EdinburghScotland 
Item 63 of 781932Villa housing development  EdinburghScotland 
Item 64 of 781933Shops, Laverockbank Avenue South and Trinity Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 65 of 781934ViewforthBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotlandAlterations
Item 66 of 781935Four blocks of flats, Cadzow CrescentBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 67 of 781935One block of flats, Stewart AvenueBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 68 of 781935Re-housing schemeBridgend Village West LothianScotland 
Item 69 of 781935Re-housing scheme, cottagesNewtown, Linlithgow West LothianScotland 
Item 70 of 7819363/4/5 apartment cottage type housingBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 71 of 781936Clydesdale BankBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 72 of 781936Housing and shops, Seaview PlaceBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 73 of 781936Housing, Register StreetBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 74 of 781936Re-housing scheme, phases I & IIBlackburn West LothianScotland 
Item 75 of 781936Two bungalows, Grahamsdyke RoadBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 76 of 781937Lauderdale  EdinburghScotland 
Item 77 of 781937Linlithgow Bridge (or Linlithgowbridge), cottage type housingLinlithgow Bridge West LothianScotland 
Item 78 of 781937Winton Hall  EdinburghScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2Emmerson, Roger and Tilmouth, Mary2010Matt Steele, Architect: A Biography Weidenfeld 
Item 2 of 2Post Office Directories     

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Builder24 December 1937  p1147 - obituary
Item 2 of 3Linlithgowshire Gazette17 December 1937  p5 - obituary
Item 3 of 3Scotsman14 December 1937  Obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Information on addresses and family history from research by Iain Paterson and Roger Emmerson
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers L no2810 (microfilm reel 35)