Basic Biographical Details

Name: Robert Dron
Designation: Architect
Born: 4 August 1898
Died: 8 July 1996
Bio Notes: Robert Dron was born on 4 August 1898 in Dundee, the son of Robert Dron, railway guard, and his wife Agnes Smith. He was articled to James Hendry Langlands Senior in 1914, attending classes at Dundee Technical College under Patrick Hill Thoms. Whilst with Langlands he worked on the Morgan Academy. During the First World War he first served in the army from 1916 and then transferred to the Signals Division of the Royal Flying Corps. At the end of the war in 1919 he continued his apprenticeship in the office of William Bruce Dickie Keith, transferring to Dundee City Architect's Department under the then City Architect James Thomson in 1920 for the final three years of his training. Throughout these early years of office experience Dron attended evening classes at Dundee Technical College and School of Art under Patrick Hill Thoms.

Dron was made redundant in 1923 when the City began to withdraw Thomson's staff to force him into retirement. Thereafter he spent a year with Thoms & Wilkie as an assistant and two years with William Macfarlane Patrick prior to being re-employed in the architects' division of the City Engineer's Department in 1926 under James McLellan Brown. He passed Part I of the qualifying exam in July 1933 and Part II in July 1934, was admitted ARIBA on 3 December of the latter year, his proposers being Thoms, William Salmond and Charles Geddes Soutar. He was elected FRIAS in 1953.

Dron became depute to McLellan Brown in 1939, working on hospitals and a variety of other buildings and succeeded him as City Architect and Director of Housing in late 1951, the post having been reinstated after the Second World War. He retired in 1963 after eleven years of difficult post-war conditions. But more difficult times were to come: in 1968 his successor John Kidd became ill and had to retire early. Dron returned to his old post as an interim measure, but as the Progressive and Labour councillors could not agree on the appointment of a successor Dron remained in post until 1970.

Dron was a tall, slim, archetypal city official who had the essential gift of taking any situation calmly, no matter how provocative. He was a great source of wisdom, past and present. For most of his life he lived very quietly in a semi-detached council house in East Haddon Road but in his later years he lived in a house he designed himself at 6 Middlebank Crescent. Apart from architecture his only interest was golf: he was a member of the Panmure and Kirriemuir clubs.

Dron died at the Royal Victoria Hospital Dundee on 8 July 1996 at the great age of ninety-seven. His wife, Isabella Roger Batter Brown had predeceased him. They had no family.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 36, Middlebank Crescent, Dundee, ScotlandPrivate c. 1996Home for his later years
Item 2 of 319, Kilberry Street, Dundee, ScotlandPrivate1934 *  
Item 3 of 361, East Haddon Road, Dundee, ScotlandPrivate1938 *After 1953Private address for most of his life

* 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 10James Hendry Langlands (senior)19141916Apprentice 
Item 2 of 10William Bruce Dickie Keith19191920Apprentice 
Item 3 of 10Dundee City Architect's Department19201923AssistantWorking under James Thomson, City Architect
Item 4 of 10James Thomson19201923AssistantIn Dundee City Architect's Department
Item 5 of 10Thoms & Wilkie19231924Assistant 
Item 6 of 10William Macfarlane Patrick19241926Assistant 
Item 7 of 10James McLellan Brown1926September 1951AssistantIn Dundee City Architect's Department - as Deputy City Achitect by 1950
Item 8 of 10Dundee City Architect's Department1926September 1951AssistantWorking under James McLellan Brown
Item 9 of 10Dundee City Architect and Director of Housing DepartmentSeptember 19511963Chief ArchitectCity Architect
Item 10 of 10Dundee City Architect and Director of Housing Department19681970Chief ArchitectCity Architect


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3William Salmond3 December 1934for Associateship
Item 2 of 3Charles Geddes Soutar3 December 1934for Associateship
Item 3 of 3Patrick Hill Thoms3 December 1934for Associateship

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 291913 or 1914Morgan's Hospital  DundeeScotlandEnlargement - as apprentice to James H Langlands
Item 2 of 29After 1925Ashludie HouseMonifieth AngusScotlandAdditions - as assistant to James McLellan Brown, Depute City Architect
Item 3 of 29After 1925Broughty Ferry LibraryBroughty Ferry DundeeScotlandAs assistant to James McLellan Brown
Item 4 of 29After 1925Sidlaw SanatoriumAuchterhouse DundeeScotlandAlterations as assistant to James McLellan Brown, Depute City Architect
Item 5 of 291929Fleming Trust Housing  DundeeScotlandAs assistant to James McLellan Brown
Item 6 of 291935Mid Craigie Housing EstateMid Craigie DundeeScotlandAs assistant to James McLellan Brown, Dundee City Architect
Item 7 of 291935Mills Observatory, Balgay Park  DundeeScotlandAs assistant to James McLellan Brown, Depute City Architect
Item 8 of 29c. 1938Magdalen Kirkton Housing Scheme  DundeeScotlandAs assistant to James McLellan Brown, Dundee City Architect
Item 9 of 291954Bus Depot and Station, Kingsway Estate  DundeeScotlandTo prepare plans for new bus depot and station
Item 10 of 291954King George VI Memorial Old People's Club  DundeeScotlandAlterations to plans to take account of local building bye-laws as regards plumbing, heating and general construction of building. James F Morrison, quantity surveyor, translating English specifications and schedules to conform with Scottish modes of building.
Item 11 of 291954Old People's Home, Clements Park  DundeeScotlandTo prepare plans for home
Item 12 of 291955St Columba's RC Primary School  DundeeScotlandAs City Architect
Item 13 of 291957Charleston Primary SchoolCharleston DundeeScotlandAs Dundee City Architect
Item 14 of 291957Kirkton High School  DundeeScotlandas Dundee City Architect, per Builder p1102
Item 15 of 298 February 1957Dundee High School  DundeeScotland'R. Dron and J. McLellan Brown, Municipal Buildings, City Square' per Builder p293
Item 16 of 2915 March 1957Slaughterhouse  DundeeScotlandper Builder p523
Item 17 of 2910 May 1957Workshops, garage and stores for Burgh Cleansing Dept  DundeeScotlandper Builder p882
Item 18 of 293 October 1958Housing, Arbroath RoadCraigie Dundee, AngusScotlandas City Architect p591
Item 19 of 2924 August 1959Menzieshill Housing SchemeMenzieshill Dundee, AngusScotlandpresented plans to housing committee as City A per Builder 11 Sept 1959 p226
Item 20 of 29196060 flats, Menzieshill Housing Scheme (1st development)  DundeeScotlandAs City Architect
Item 21 of 291960Linlathen Housing Scheme (second development)  DundeeScotlandAs City Architect
Item 22 of 291960Midmill Housing Scheme  DundeeScotlandAs City Architect
Item 23 of 291960Pleasance Housing Scheme (First Development)  Dundee, AngusScotlandAs City Architect
Item 24 of 29196177 flats, Menzieshill Housing Scheme (5th development)  DundeeScotlandAs City Architect
Item 25 of 291962121 flats, Menzieshill Housing Scheme (7th development)  DundeeScotlandAs City Architect
Item 26 of 29196266 houses, Nursery Road Housing Scheme  DundeeScotlandAs City Architect
Item 27 of 29196299 flats, Menzieshill Housing Scheme (6th development)  DundeeScotlandAs City Architect
Item 28 of 291968105 houses, Whitfield Housing Scheme (4th development phase 2)  DundeeScotlandAs City Architect
Item 29 of 291969201 houses, Whitfield Housing Scheme (5th/6th developments)  DundeeScotlandAs City Architect


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp25, p56 Photograph of Menzieshill in 1964, p64 Photograph 1965
Item 2 of 2Glendinning, Miles and Muthesius, Stefan1994Tower Block: Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland Yale University Press: New Haven and Londonp242, p243, p329, p367 Whitfield

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder23 April 1954  p744
Item 2 of 4Builder21 May 1954  p918
Item 3 of 4Dundee Courier and Advertiser9 July 1996  Obituary
Item 4 of 4RIAS NewsletterNovember 1996v7, no9 Death notice

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 4H M Register HouseDeath Register  
Item 2 of 4Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Undated cutting; personal recollections
Item 3 of 4RIAS, Rutland SquareRecords of membership  
Item 4 of 4RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no5509 (combined box 84)