Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Gordon Dey
Designation: Architect
Born: 29 April 1911
Died: 16 October 1997
Bio Notes: William ('Willie') Gordon Dey was born on 29 April 1911, the son of Alexander John Dey, manufacturing chemist, and his wife Isabella Scott Paterson. He was educated at the Royal High School, Edinburgh. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1929 to 1936. There he met his future partner (Alexander) Esmé Gordon. During his year out in 1933-4 he made a tour of Norway, Denmark and Holland and worked with William Kininmonth in the office of Rowand Anderson & Paul. In 1935 he obtained an exemption from the final exams, undertook a study tour of London and Paris, and joined the first Town Planning Course introduced in that year by Frank Charles Mears, whilst helping out at times in John Begg's office on the Westfield Autocar project at Stirling. He was admitted ARIBA on 2 December of that year, his proposers being John Begg, John Fraser Matthew and Arthur Forman Balfour Paul, and his nomination papers give a home and business address of 'Rothiemay', 22 St John's Road, Edinburgh, although it is not clear whether he undertook any work on his own account at this time.

In 1936 he joined the staff of the city architect Ebenezer James MacRae. He worked mainly on the survey of the Canongate, but was allowed to design the recreation hall at St Cuthbert's Poorhouse.

In 1937 Dey joined Esmé Gordon's office to help with his Glasgow Empire Exhibition Transport Pavilion; at that time Gordon was working in partnership with a fellow architect named Robertson, who has yet to be identified. During the war he served with the Scots Guards prior to CCTU at Sandhurst. He was commissioned in the Gordon Highlanders and saw active service with the 8th Army at El Alamein, Egypt, rising to the rank of Captain.

Robert Matthew arranged his early release to help James Shearer with the Clackmannan County Plan. Despite his affection for Shearer - 'the most delightful architect he had ever met, he learnt more from Shearer than anyone else' - Dey returned to Esmé Gordon's office as a partner in 1946. The two complemented one another; Esme Godon was the academic artist while William Dey was the practical man who understood building construction and contract management.

He was elected ARIAS in 1956 and FRIBA in 1956. He was later a Fellow of the RIAS.

Outwith his professional life, Dey was involved with several charities including the Scottish Council for Spastics and the Abbeyfield (Edinburgh) Society. He served as a Special Constable in the mechanized division for thirty years and was awarded a long service medal. He also was assistant to the Master of the Edinburgh Merchant Company.

All his life Dey lived in Corstorphine and was extremely knowledgable about its history. He was a member of St Anne's Church and regularly gave free advice on the structure. He served as an elder and session clerk for seventeen years. He also advised on the other Corstorphine churches, the Old Parish Church and St Ninian's. He was a founder member of and later honorary President of the Corstorphine Trust and donated to it funds from the sale of his book 'Corstorphine, a Pictorial History'. Even in later years, when his health was failing, he would go to the Trust's Archive Room in the Dower House each Saturday morning to advise younger members.

Dey married Elizabeth ('Betty') Margaret Corrigall in April 1939. He died at the Royal Vistoria Hospital, Edinburgh on 16 October 1997. He was survived by Betty who died on 11 December 2011.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 56/2, Craigleith Avenue South, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate 1997 
Item 2 of 5Rothiemay/22, St John's Road, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1935After 1937 
Item 3 of 56, Corstorphine House Avenue, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate/business(?)1939(?)  
Item 4 of 520, Dovecote Road, Corstorphine, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1939After 1956 
Item 5 of 536, Heriot Row, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness(?)1950 *After 1970 

* 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 7Rowand Anderson & Paul19331934ApprenticeDuring 'year out'
Item 2 of 7John Begg19351935AssistantOccasional assistant
Item 3 of 7Edinburgh City Architect's Department (Edinburgh Corporation)19361937AssistantUnder City Architect Ebenezer James MacRae
Item 4 of 7Ebenezer James MacRae19361937AssistantIn Edinburgh City Architect's Department
Item 5 of 7Robertson & Gordon19371940Assistant 
Item 6 of 7James Grant Shearer19441946Assistant 
Item 7 of 7Gordon & Dey1946After 1975Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6John Begg2 December 1935for Associateship
Item 2 of 6Thomas Waller MarwickEarly 1956For Fellowship
Item 3 of 6John Fraser Matthew2 December 1935for Associateship
Item 4 of 6John Ross McKayEarly 1956For Fellowship
Item 5 of 6Arthur Forman Balfour Paul2 December 1935for Associateship
Item 6 of 6Leslie Grahame Thomson (or Leslie Grahame-Thomson; later Leslie Grahame MacDougall)Early 1956For Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 5John Stone Craig4 November 1956For Fellowship
Item 2 of 5Ian Henry Dodd3 October 1961For Associateship
Item 3 of 5Thomas Harley Haddow2 February 1960for Associateship
Item 4 of 5Robert James NaismithMid 1965For Fellowship
Item 5 of 5Robert Thomas Rhind4 June 1969For Fellowship

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 551935Westfield Autocar motor showroomStirling StirlingshireScotlandAs occasional assistant
Item 2 of 551938Glasgow Empire Exhibition, Travel and Transport PavilionBellahouston GlasgowScotlandAs assistant
Item 3 of 551946Free High Church and Free Church College  EdinburghScotlandAlterations. Perhaps involved in alterations including sub-division of students' common room and alterations in examination rooms
Item 4 of 551946St Giles Cathedral  EdinburghScotlandWar memorial chapel furnishings and extensive alterations to sanctuary for State service at which HM the Queen received the Crown of Scotland
Item 5 of 551947Leeds Premanent Building Society office  Edinburgh Scotland 
Item 6 of 551947Moray House Training College  EdinburghScotlandHandiwork and music department added
Item 7 of 55After 1947Children's Homes  EdinburghScotland 
Item 8 of 55After 1947Eventide HomeLoanhead MidlothianScotland 
Item 9 of 55After 1947Eventide homeGargunnock StirlingshireScotland 
Item 10 of 55After 1947Eventide Home Alloa ClackmannanshireScotland 
Item 11 of 55After 1947Eventide Home Galashiels SelkirkshireScotland 
Item 12 of 551949British Linen Bank, Head Office  EdinburghScotlandNew suite for general manager and war memorial
Item 13 of 551949British Linen Bank, Shandwick Place  EdinburghScotland 
Item 14 of 551949Church Hall, Pennywell RoadWest Pilton EdinburghScotland 
Item 15 of 55After 1949British Linen BankHawick RoxburghshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 16 of 55After 1949British Linen BankJohnstone RenfrewshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 17 of 55After 1949British Linen BankBerwick-upon-Tweed NorthumberlandEnglandReconstruction
Item 18 of 551950Research laboratory for Scottish Agricultural Industries  EdinburghScotland 
Item 19 of 551952Moray House Training College  EdinburghScotlandSports pavilion
Item 20 of 551952Woodhall Paper MillColinton EdinburghScotlandReconstruction after fire
Item 21 of 551953British Pharmaceutical Society, exam laboratories  EdinburghScotland 
Item 22 of 551953Free ChurchCorstorphine EdinburghScotlandFurnishings and other reconstruction
Item 23 of 551953Moray House Training College  EdinburghScotlandScheme of restoration
Item 24 of 551953Oxgangs Primary SchoolOxgangs EdinburghScotland 
Item 25 of 551953St Anne's ChurchCorstorphine EdinburghScotlandFurnishings in N Chapel
Item 26 of 551954Moray House Training College  EdinburghScotlandSpeech training department
Item 27 of 551955Coldingham PrioryColdingham BerwickshireScotlandReordering of interior
Item 28 of 551955Tenement, 176-184 Canongate  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction
Item 29 of 551956200 Canongate  EdinburghScotland 
Item 30 of 551956Leeds Premanent Building Society office  Edinburgh ScotlandFurther reconstruction
Item 31 of 551956Lodge Dunedin  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction after fire
Item 32 of 551956Tenement, Old Playhouse Close  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction
Item 33 of 55c. 1956Heriot-Watt Technical College, new block  EdinburghScotland 
Item 34 of 551960Electricity office and showroom  EdinburghScotland 
Item 35 of 551960Moray House Training College  EdinburghScotlandAlterations and additions including new gymnasium
Item 36 of 551960Scottish Life Assurance Co  EdinburghScotlandRebuilding
Item 37 of 551960St David's ChurchBroomhouse EdinburghScotland 
Item 38 of 551961Building (neo-Georgian in style), Holyrood Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 39 of 551963Allan Park UP ChurchStirling StirlingshireScotlandInterior recast including large chancel with panelled organ pipe housings
Item 40 of 55Mid 1960sHeriot-Watt University, Department of Brewing and Biochemistry  EdinburghScotland 
Item 41 of 551970North Parish ChurchStirling StirlingshireScotland 
Item 42 of 551971Moray House College of Education, Charteris Land  EdinburghScotland 
Item 43 of 551974St Mary's Church  EdinburghScotlandInterior decoration.
Item 44 of 551974Upper Springland CentrePerth Perthshire  
Item 45 of 551975Gannochy Trust Sports Complex, with Bell Sports Centre and Gannochy Sports PavilionPerth PerthshireScotlandThe Gannochy Sports Pavilion
Item 46 of 551975Kinnoull House and MacMillan HousePerth PerthshireScotland 
Item 47 of 55Before 1975Eventide Home for the Merchant Company of Edinburgh  EdinburghScotland 
Item 48 of 55Before 1975Milton Road East Lodge, gates and scaliger railing  EdinburghScotlandSpecial care unit
Item 49 of 55Before 1975Newbattle House  EdinburghScotland 
Item 50 of 55197984-86 Great King Street and 2A and 2B St Vincent Street  EdinburghScotlandRepairs
Item 51 of 551980Christ Church Episcopal Church  EdinburghScotlandConversion 'into a modern idiom'
Item 52 of 551980Moray House College of Education, St Mary's Land and Chessel's Land  EdinburghScotland 
Item 53 of 551980Saltoun Hall  East LothianScotlandRoof repairs
Item 54 of 551980St John's ChurchPerth PerthshireScotlandRestoration. Partner in charge.
Item 55 of 551982George Heriot's Hospital  EdinburghScotlandRestoration. Partner in charge.


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 4Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp4 Image of Electricity Board Office and Showroom
Item 2 of 4Post Office Directories     
Item 3 of 4RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 4 of 4RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3RIAS NewsletterDecember 1997v10, no8 Death note
Item 2 of 3Scotsman17 October 1997   
Item 3 of 3Scotsman14 December 2011   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 3Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Information from Charles McKean's interview with Dey, 18 December 1985, and notes provided by Esmé Gordon
Item 2 of 3RIAS, Rutland SquareRecords of membership  
Item 3 of 3RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no5824 (stored under F5124, combined box 58); F no5124 (combined box 58)