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Basic Biographical Details

Name: Walter Underwood
Designation: Architect
Born: 19 November 1906
Died: 13 April 1988
Bio Notes: Walter Underwood was born in Shettleston on 19 November 1906, the son of Matthew Underwood, Inspector of Buildings and Annie Eliz [sic] Tait. He married Mary Campbell Gunn, daughter of David Flett Gunn, wine and spirit merchant, at All Saints Episcopal Church, Jordanhill on 31 January 1933.

Underwood was educated at Allan Glen's School, Glasgow. He served his articles with Balfour & Stewart from 1922-27. The following year he obtained a senior certificate from Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Technical College, passing 'with distinction'. He then spent 14 months as assistant to James Lochhead in Cullen Lochhead & Brown in Hamilton but transferred to a similar position with Wylie Shanks & Wylie in Glasgow. In 1934 he moved to become an assistant with Joseph Weekes, the Dumbarton County Architect during which time 'he showed marked ability in the planning and design of schools, police stations, housing schemes, public health clinics and local government administration buildings'. In he moved to Nottingham Corporation.

Underwood returned to Scotland to the post of Chief Architect to the Scottish Co-Operative Wholesale Society from at least 1939 until 1945. (some sources indicate that he worked for the SCWS in the early 1930s but his Fellowship Nomination Paper makes no reference to this). He was admitted ARIBA in 1933 and FRIBA in 1947. In April of the previous year he had joined the practice of Wylie Shanks & Wylie as partner. The firm name was not changed to Wylie, Shanks & Underwood until the death of Edward Grigg Wylie in 1954.

In May 1960 Underwood broke away and set up under the style of Walter Underwood & Partners. He took Michael Beale and T George Low with him from the Wylie Shanks practice. They operated from 2 La Belle Place. David J Leslie, James M Paton and William McLean who had been assistants with the Wylie practice left to join Underwood and became partners in 1964.

Although his architecture was very modern Walter Underwood was very much an old-school Glasgow professional gentleman. One of his last undertakings, carried out after he had officially retired, was the conservation of the village of Luss in which he took a close personal interest. He reired from the practice on 9 September 1985.

He had served as Governor of Glasgow School of Art and as President of the Glasgow Institute of Architects and Vice President of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.

Underwood died at 1 Belmont Road, Glasgow on 13 April 1988. His death was reported by his daugher J M Staples, then of 8 Gamekeeper's Road, Edinburgh.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 536, Willowbank Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1933 *  
Item 2 of 5204, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1933After 1947 
Item 3 of 56, Bowmont Terrace, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1946 *  
Item 4 of 52, La Belle Place, Glagow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1964  
Item 5 of 5Tamarac, Moor Road, Strathblane, Stirlingshire, ScotlandPrivate1988 *  

* 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 4Scottish Co-Operative Wholesale Society (SCWS) Architectural Department (CWS Ltd Architecture & Design)19391946Chief Architect 
Item 2 of 4Wylie, Shanks & Wylie19461957Partner 
Item 3 of 4Wylie, Shanks & Underwood19491960Partner 
Item 4 of 4Walter Underwood & Partners1960After 1975Partner 

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 1James Symington Houston1932After 1945AssistantIn SCWS Architect's Department


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 5Andrew BalfourEarly 1933for Associateship
Item 2 of 5William McCrea11 March 1947for Fellowship
Item 3 of 5(Professor) William James Smith11 March 1947for Fellowship
Item 4 of 5William Fraser Tytler StewartEarly 1933for Associateship
Item 5 of 5Joseph Weekes11 March 1947for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 15Donald John Cameron10 January 1956For Fellowship
Item 2 of 15Edward Stanley Carden11 December 1951For Licentiateship
Item 3 of 15Thomas Smith Cordiner11 January 1949for Fellowship
Item 4 of 15Richard Rudolphe Chitham De'Ath5 June 1968for Fellowship
Item 5 of 15Eric Doig Ellison15 June 1954for Associateship
Item 6 of 15Eric Doig Ellison3 April 1968for Fellowship
Item 7 of 15William John Fairweather5 June 1968For Fellowship
Item 8 of 15Thomas George Low19 June 1956For Licentiateship
Item 9 of 15Allen ('Mick') Short Matheson8 April 1970For Fellowship
Item 10 of 15Arthur Stranraer Mull2 February 1954for Associateship
Item 11 of 15George William Robertson7 March 1950For Fellowship
Item 12 of 15William Hamilton Sanders2 October 1968For Fellowship
Item 13 of 15Francis Clunie Scott16 July 1969For Fellowship
Item 14 of 15Thomas Russell Scott5 June 1968For Fellowship
Item 15 of 15David Graham Watson29 November 1942For Licentiateship

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 601939Petty Farms  AberdeenshireScotlandReconstruction - as Chief Architect of SCWS
Item 2 of 60After 1939Bacon FactoryEnniskillen  Northern IrelandCold Store reconstructed - as Chief Architect to SCWS
Item 3 of 60After 1939Crichie Flour MillsCrichie AberdeenshireScotlandReconstruction - as Chief Architect, SCWS
Item 4 of 60After 1939Farm steadingMonktonhall AyrshireScotlandAs Chief Architect to SCWS
Item 5 of 60After 1939Garage buildings for SCWSPollokshaws GlasgowScotlandAs Chief Architect to SCWS
Item 6 of 60After 1939Houses for agricultural workers Duns BerwickshireScotlandAs Chief Architect to SCWS
Item 7 of 60After 1939Junction Flour millsLeith EdinburghScotlandReconstruction - as architect to SCWS
Item 8 of 60After 1939Jute works  DundeeScotlandExtensions- as Chief Architect to SCWS
Item 9 of 60After 1939Retail buildings for SCWS   ScotlandAs Chief Architect to SCWS
Item 10 of 60After 1939Scottish Wholesale Co-operative Society, medical and welfare blockShieldhall GlasgowScotlandAs Chief Architect, SCWS
Item 11 of 60After 1939SCWS garage buildingKilmarnock AyrshireScotlandAs Chief Architect to SCWS
Item 12 of 601947Glasgow Maternity Hospital  GlasgowScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 13 of 601949National Cash Registers (NCR) Factory  DundeeScotlandExtension
Item 14 of 601949Royal College of Science and Technology, James Weir Engineering Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 15 of 601951Rolls Royce FactoryEast Kilbride LanarkshireScotland 
Item 16 of 601952Cranhill Parish Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 17 of 601952Newhouse Industrial Estate buildingsMotherwell LanarkshireScotland 
Item 18 of 601954Killearn HospitalKillearn StirlingshireScotlandAlterations and extension to wards, labs and X-ray and operating theatres
Item 19 of 601954Royal College of Science and Technology Students Union  GlasgowScotland 
Item 20 of 601954Scottish Industries Exhibition, 1954  GlasgowScotlandResponsible for plan?
Item 21 of 601955Trades House  GlasgowScotlandTimber ceiling in Hall inserted. Partner in charge of this job. ('Buildings of Scotland' say it was by Walter Underwood & Partners, but this practice did not exist at this time.)
Item 22 of 601957Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Pathology Department  GlasgowScotlandExtension and alterations
Item 23 of 601957Royal College of Science and Technology, James Weir Engineering Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 601957St Paul's Parish Church  GlasgowScotlandSubdivision
Item 25 of 601958Scottish Widows Fund and Life Assurance and Junior Conservative Club  GlasgowScotlandAlterations - three balconies removed from front, attic added and interior reconstructed.
Item 26 of 601959Scottish Industries Exhibition 1959  GlasgowScotlandPlan
Item 27 of 60Late 1950sGlasgow Western Infirmary, Radiotherapy Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 28 of 601960Royal College of Science and Technology, James Weir Engineering Building  GlasgowScotlandAdditional 6-storey slab facing Cathedral Street - as senior partner
Item 29 of 601960(?)The Buchanan RetreatBoclair, Bearsden GlasgowScotland 
Item 30 of 601962University of Dundee, Fulton Building  DundeeScotlandAs senior partner
Item 31 of 601963Royal Stuart Hotel  GlasgowScotlandas senior partner
Item 32 of 601964Office Block, George Square Area  GlasgowScotlandActing as consultant architects for proposals
Item 33 of 6015 April 1966Cultural Centre for Glasgow, Buchanan St  GlasgowScotlandIndependent architect brought in to discuss possible modifications and alterations to city architect A. G. Jury's design following public and professional concern over the appearance of the building
Item 34 of 601968Bruce HotelEast Kilbride LanarkshireScotlandAs senior partner
Item 35 of 601968Cowcaddens CDA housingCowcaddens GlasgowScotlandAs senior partner
Item 36 of 601968Royal College of Science and Technology, Centre for Industrial Innovation  GlasgowScotlandAs senior partner
Item 37 of 601968University of Glasgow, Women Students' Union  GlasgowScotlandAs senior partner
Item 38 of 601970sBank of England Branch Treasury   GlasgowEnglandPartner in charge
Item 39 of 601972Royal College of Science and Technology, Stenhouse Building  GlasgowScotlandAs senior partner
Item 40 of 601975Martyrs Church of ScotlandTownhead GlasgowScotlandAs senior partner
Item 41 of 601976Royal College of Science and Technology Students Union  GlasgowScotlandN extension - as senior partner
Item 42 of 601981Dale House, West George Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 43 of 601981Fountain House, Woodside Crescent  GlasgowScotlandPartner in charge - responsible for plan
Item 44 of 60Before 1981Bradford & Bingley Building Society branch officeAyr AyrshireScotlandAs senior partner
Item 45 of 60Before 1981Bradford & Bingley Building Society branch officeElgin MorayshireScotlandAs senior partner
Item 46 of 60Before 1981Bradford & Bingley Building Society branch officeKirkcaldy FifeScotlandAs senior partner
Item 47 of 60Before 1981Bradford & Bingley Building Society branch office  GlasgowScotlandAs senior partner
Item 48 of 60Before 1981Fine Fare SupermarketStirling StilringshireScotland 
Item 49 of 60Before 1981Fine Fare SupermarketAviemore Inverness-shireScotlandAs senior partner
Item 50 of 60Before 1981Fine Fare SupermarketPrestwick AyrshireScotlandAs senior partner
Item 51 of 60Before 1981Fine Fare SupermarketStranraer WigtownshireScotlandAs senior partner
Item 52 of 60Before 1981Fine Fare SupermarketDennistoun GlasgowScotlandAs senior partner
Item 53 of 60Before 1981Fine Fare SupermarketBearsden DunbartonshireScotlandAs senior partner
Item 54 of 60Before 1981Fine Fare SupermarketBarrhead RenfrewshireScotlandAs senior partner
Item 55 of 60Before 1981Fine Fare SupermarketMotherwell LanarkshireScotlandAs senior partner
Item 56 of 60Before 1981Fine Fare Supermarket, Byres Road  GlasgowScotlandAs senior partner
Item 57 of 60Before 1981University of Strathclyde, Food Science Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 58 of 60Before 1981University of Strathclyde, swimming Pool  GlasgowScotland 
Item 59 of 601983Herriot Hill Printing Works  GlasgowScotlandRemodelling warehouse as Engineering Applications Centre (National Centre for Orthotics and Prosthetics) and Scottish Hotel School. Also various University departments accommodated. Adaptation of former Collins building.
Item 60 of 601983Tenement, Onslow Drive  GlasgowScotlandRehabilitation - senior partner with Walter Underwood & partners


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2Municipal Annual1964Scottish Municipal Annual1964-1965  
Item 2 of 2RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

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 Additional research by Iain Paterson
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no5103 (stored under F4240, combined box 3); F no4240 (combined box 3)


© All rights reserved.  Courtesy of Glasgow Institute of Architects 

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Glasgow Institute of Architects