Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Weir
Designation: Architect
Born: 20 September 1865
Died: 8 July 1950
Bio Notes: William Weir was born on 20 September 1865 and articled to Archibald Macpherson in Edinburgh from 1882 to 1886, remaining as an assistant until 1888. During that time he attended Edinburgh School of Art. In 1888 he moved to London as assistant to James Marjoribanks MacLaren which enabled him to study at the Architectural Association where he became acquainted with Detmar Blow. In 1889 he moved to the office of Leonard Stokes where he became acquainted with Charles Winmill, but while with Stokes he gave occasional help to Philip Speakman Webb. Accounts differ as to when he actually left Stokes, Webb's books indicate 1889 and Weir's nomination paper 1891. He remained with Webb full-time at 117 a year until 1895 when he became part-time, and in 1897 he spent a year with John Thomas Micklethwaite, the surveyor to Westminster Abbey. Although it has been stated that he left Webb in that year, his nomination paper indicates that he assisted Webb until his retirement in 1900. At Webb's Weir became a close friend of George Jack and became deeply involved in the work of the SPAB, initially as a case architect and from 1902 as a committee member.

Weir commenced independent practice in 1900, chiefly on the repair of ancient structures. As a young man it was said that he spent more time on the road studying them than anyone else, riding a penny-farthing because the height of the saddle enabled him to see over walls and hedges. He never employed a professional assistant of any kind, not even an office boy, and tended to buy the material and employ direct labour, personally supervising the work on site. Home and office tended to be where the work was, yet he managed to undertake more than 300 projects, in later years supervising the work by motor cycle. Although his habits of business were unusual he was admitted LRIBA on 20 March 1911, his proposers being Leonard Stokes, Harry Redfern and Francis William Troup.

Weir undertook major repairs to Rievaulx Abbey, 1907 and to Tattershall Castle, 1912 onwards. He spent the First World War in a contractor's office and after a long engagement eventually married, living in Morningside, a house near Winchmore Hill. His wife died early and his sister took over his household.

Weir joined the Art Workers Guild in 1917.

After the war Weir undertook the repair of Bodiam Castle for Lord Curzon, his client at Tattershall. When Curzon died in 1925 bequeathing the castle to the National Trust, Weir became one of the Trust's architects, repairing some eight properties for them. The major work of his career was the restoration of Dartington Hall, where work began in 1931 and was completed in 1938.

Weir died on 8 July 1950.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 2London, EnglandBusiness1911 *  
Item 2 of 2Lincolnshire, EnglandBusiness1914 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 6Archibald Macpherson18821886Apprentice 
Item 2 of 6Archibald Macpherson18861888Assistant 
Item 3 of 6James Marjoribanks MacLaren1888 Assistant 
Item 4 of 6Leonard Aloysius Scott Stokes1889 Assistant 
Item 5 of 6Philip Speakman Webb1889 or 1891c. 1895AssistantWorked part-time here initally and then full-time
Item 6 of 6John Thomas Micklethwaite1897 Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Harry Redfern (or Henry Redfern)20 March 1911for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 3Leonard Aloysius Scott Stokes20 March 1911for Licentiateship
Item 3 of 3Francis William Troup20 March 1911for Licentiateship


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 4Beauty's Awakening Beauty's Awakening: The Centenary Exhibition of the Art Workers' Guild Brighton Museum September -November 1984, Royal Pavilion Brighton 
Item 2 of 4British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 3 of 4Drury, Michael2000Wandering Architects: In Pursuit of an Arts and Crafts Ideal Stamford: Shaun TyasChapter 10
Item 4 of 4Snell, Reginald William Weir and Dartington Hall   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Builder11 August 1950  Obituary