Basic Biographical Details

Name: Robert Henderson Watherston
Designation: Architect, Builder
Born: 1869
Died: 1923
Bio Notes: Robert Henderson Watherston was born in 1869, the son of James Watherston, and his wife Janet Henderson. His father was a partner in John Watherston & Sons, builders who had an important architectural office at least 1856. John Watherston, the founder of the firm was born on 2 March 1798. Sometime prior to 1830 he married Elizabeth Millar born 1 April 1802. At least two sons were partners in the business, William married to Cilla Johnston, and Robert Henderson's father James, born 11 April 1831, who married Janet Henderson, born 31 January 1843.

The Watherstons built large parts of Edinburgh's West End speculatively sometimes to designs specified by the Walker and Heriot Trust estates, sometimes to their own. These were undertaken by the sons, John Watherston himself having died on 11 October 1869. The firm was also much sought after for country house work, again sometimes as architect builders. William Watherston died on 22 November 1895 and James died on 30 September 1907.

Robert Henderson Watherston attended the Edinburgh Collegiate School and was awarded prizes about 1884. He was presumably articled to his father and uncle circa 1887. The sophistication of his best work suggests that he also had gained experience with a leading architectural practice. He retired on 31 December 1918 from the family firm which was in the hands of John Watherston in the 1920s.

Robert Henderson Watherston died in 1923 and was buried in Dean Cemetery. He left a substantial legacy to the University of Edinburgh (78,889). He was survived by his wife, Catherine Jack (1883-1971), his daughter Marion, and two sons, Robert Henderson junior who married Joan Meares Andrews in 1933 and J G Watherston who married Bethia Dundas Jardine in 1935. Neither joined the family firm. They both went into farming.

Information from gravestones, Dean Cemetery.

Robert Henderson Watherston's library is still in the possession of his granddaughter, Miss Margaret Bryer. Amongst others he had a copy of

Rev Robert Scott Mylne: The Master Masons to the Crown of Scotland. No. 151.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect, builder:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 2Queensferry Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness   
Item 2 of 24, Ellersley Road, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate 1923 

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect, builder (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1John Watherston & SonsLate 1800s1923Partner 

Buildings and Designs

This architect, builder 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 481885Rothesay Terrace  EdinburghScotlandAlterations?
Item 2 of 481888Douglas Gardens  EdinburghScotland 
Item 3 of 481889Sunlaws House Stable RangeRoxburgh RoxburghshireScotlandRemodelling
Item 4 of 48189241 Manor Place  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 5 of 481892Cunnoquhie House  FifeScotlandAlterations to house and stable offices
Item 6 of 481892Hawthornden CastleLasswade MidlothianScotlandAlterations?
Item 7 of 481893Borthwick CastleBorthwick MidlothianScotlandAlterations and additions and restoration
Item 8 of 481896The HirselColdstream BerwickshireScotlandDrawings dated - proposed chapel and recreation room
Item 9 of 4818972-6 Rothesay Place  EdinburghScotlandAlterations to number 4
Item 10 of 4818989-16 Rothesay Terrace  EdinburghScotlandAnd after 1902 (see dated drawings in Walker Trust)
Item 11 of 481898Bridge CastleTorphichen West LothianScotlandAdditions
Item 12 of 481898Scottish Rural Workers Approved Society premises  EdinburghScotlandAlterations to no 39
Item 13 of 481898Tranent Old Parish ChurchTranent East LothianScotlandPlan of gallery seating
Item 14 of 48189938-44 Drumsheugh Gardens  EdinburghScotlandNos 37a and 1 Rothesay Place
Item 15 of 481899Dunsinnan House  PerthshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 16 of 481899House, Blackford Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 17 of 48Late 1800s(?)Douglas Castle  LanarkshireScotlandPulpit in chapel (undated drawing)
Item 18 of 481900Dunsinnan House  PerthshireScotlandStables
Item 19 of 481900Stable, Rosebery Crescent Lane  EdinburghScotlandAlterations to stable
Item 20 of 481900The HirselColdstream BerwickshireScotlandStables - B of S attribution; possibly worked as contractors for Hay & Henderson?
Item 21 of 48190111 Gloucester Place  EdinburghScotlandProposed alterations - superseded by Peddie & Washington Browne scheme
Item 22 of 481901Mortonhall House and stables  EdinburghScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 23 of 4819023 Charlotte Square  EdinburghScotlandAddition of porch
Item 24 of 48190341 Charlotte Square  EdinburghScotlandAlterations including 'new elevation' and porch
Item 25 of 481903Caledonian Insurance Company  EdinburghScotlandReplacement of ground floor
Item 26 of 48190517 Rothesay Place  EdinburghScotlandAlterations to form flat at corner
Item 27 of 48190517-18 Rothesay Terrace  EdinburghScotland 
Item 28 of 481905Easter ParkBarnton EdinburghScotlandMay not have been involved except as builders
Item 29 of 481905Villa for Mr Robert Simson  EdinburghScotland 
Item 30 of 48190612 Wester Coates Gardens  EdinburghScotland 
Item 31 of 48190618 India Street  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 32 of 48190619-25 Rothesay Terrace  EdinburghScotland 
Item 33 of 4819067-9 Wester Coates Gardens  EdinburghScotland 
Item 34 of 481907Mr Ford's stable  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 35 of 481908Corner tenement with shops, 1-2 Lynedoch Place and 2-4 Drumsheugh Place  EdinburghScotlandAlterations to shops
Item 36 of 481908Regent Hotel  EdinburghScotlandAdditions and alterations
Item 37 of 481909Colinton HouseColinton EdinburghScotlandMeasured survey of Colinton House
Item 38 of 48191037 Inverleith Row  EdinburghScotlandAddition
Item 39 of 481910Ellersly HouseMurrayfield EdinburghScotland 
Item 40 of 481910Prestongrange ChurchPrestonpans MidlothianScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 41 of 48December 1910NorthfieldBalerno MidlothianScotlandSurvey drawings of earlier house? Plans for new house?
Item 42 of 4819123 Charlotte Square  EdinburghScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 43 of 481912Invertrossachs  PerthshireScotlandRebuilding - employed as builders to execute design by Carruthers & Alexander
Item 44 of 481912PeelwallsAyton BerwickshireScotlandAlterations
Item 45 of 481915Feuing plan for Broughton Hall and Broughton Park  EdinburghScotlandFeuing plan
Item 46 of 481916Edgerston House  RoxburghshireScotlandAlterations
Item 47 of 481916Legal and General Assurance Society Ltd, Charlotte Square  EdinburghScotlandAlterations to upper floors
Item 48 of 481917Hatton House  MidlothianScotlandAlterations (retired 1918)


Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect, builder:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 5Scotsman26 May 1920  p1
Item 2 of 5Scotsman23 June 1923  p2
Item 3 of 5Scotsman2 February 1924  p7
Item 4 of 5Scotsman10 June 1933  p12
Item 5 of 5Scotsman13 June 1935  p11

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect, builder:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Courtesy of R H Watherson's granddaughter, Miss Margaret BryerInformation via 'Contact Us' on website Sent November 2011
Item 2 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Personal information from the then principal partner in Watherstons


© All rights reserved. Robert Henderson Watherston.  Courtesy of Susan Bryer, granddaughter of RHW. 

© All rights reserved. Robert Henderson Watherston. Courtesy of Susan Bryer, granddaughter of RHW.

© All rights reserved. Catherine Jack, wife of Robert Henderson Watherston with one of their children. Image courtesy of Susan Bryer. 

© All rights reserved. Catherine Jack, wife of Robert Henderson Watherston with one of their children. Image courtesy of Susan Bryer.

© All rights reserved. The three children of Robert Henderson Watherston, Robert, Marion and Jack.  Image courtesy of Susan Bryer. 

© All rights reserved. The three children of Robert Henderson Watherston, Robert, Marion and Jack. Image courtesy of Susan Bryer.