Basic Biographical Details

Name: Kelly & Nicol
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1902
Ended: After 1941
Bio Notes: William Kelly was born in Aberdeen on 22 December 1861, the son of Francis Bonnyman Kelly, a tailor and outfitter, and his wife Jane Tough, daughter of James Tough, tenant farmer at Mains of Drum. He was educated at William Rattray's School in North Silver Street and attended King's College 1876-78, principally to study mathematics and natural philosophy. In May 1878 he was articled to William and John Smith and on the completion of his articles in May 1883 he sought wider experience in London, William Smith's open reference describing him as having 'gentlemanly manners' and being 'steady diligent and obliging'; he was also an 'exceptionally good draughtsman'. Of the several offices Kelly worked in while in London, only John James Stevenson's has been identified. In 1885 he made a study tour of the French chateaux and visited Spain and Holland. He returned to commence independent practice in Belmont Street in 1886 and, following John Smith's death on 11 April 1887, declining health induced William Smith to invite Kelly to become his partner. The partnership was dissolved late in 1890 or early 1891, probably because of Smith's failing health, as the firm name was retained. In 1893 Kelly married Mary, eldest daughter of George Carmichael, bank agent in Aberdeen, thus becoming the brother-in-law of the architects Charles and Duncan Carmichael. In 1896 Kelly had an important competition win when John James Burnet selected him as architect of Aberdeen Savings Bank, the business of which he retained thereafter.

In 1902 Kelly took into partnership his chief assistant James Brown Nicol. Nicol was born c.1867 and was articled to Alexander Marshall Mackenzie from 1883 to 1888, where he worked under the supervision of the ablest of Mackenzie's assistants, Alexander Mackintosh. In 1889 after a further year in Mackenzie's office he moved to Edinburgh to gain wider experience first with James Bow Dunn in 1889-90 and then with Sydney Mitchell & Wilson as chief assistant from 1890 until 1891 when he returned to Aberdeen initially as Kelly's chief assistant. Some years after he became a partner, Nicol published 'Domestic Architecture in Scotland', a survey of contemporary work, in 1908.

Kelly was elected ARSA in 1911 and had the degree of LLD conferred upon him by the Unversity of Aberdeen in 1919, mainly in recognition of his work at King's College Chapel. He retired from the practice in 1928, but remained consultant architect to Viscount and Lady Cowdray, doing much work on the Dunecht estate and consolidating and partly restoring Dunottar Castle in association with his lifelong friend the historian and antiquary Dr W Douglas Simpson. Simpson described him as 'endowed with commanding height, a fine leonic head and a rich resonant voice… His tall figure and rapid walk made him noticeable among Aberdonians of his time. Men with shorter legs found it trying to come down Albyn Place with him in the morning'. He was active in 'choral singing' and 'a good player of both piano and organ, always reading from the old-fashioned tonic sol-fa system and scarcely ever from the conventional staff notation' but his main interests were antiquarian. Some of his relatively few papers were published by Simpson as a tribute to him from the University of Aberdeen after his death in 1944.

The practice was continued by Nicol after Kelly's retirement. Nicol was an early contributor to the transactions of the Aberdeen Ecclesiological Society, having been enthused by the Rev Dr Cooper, proponent of that society. He furthered the interests of his fellow-architects as President of the Aberdeen Society of Architects from 1925 to 1926 and as a member of the RIAS Council. For many years as Governor of Robert Gordon's College he was Chairman of the Arts & Crafts Committee which controlled the School of Architecture.

Nicol retired from practice in May 1952 and was killed in an accident on the Aberdeen-Ellon road on 25 January the following year. He was survived by his wife, three sons and two daughters.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1367, Union Street, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1927 *After 1935 

* earliest date known from documented sources.


Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 23William Kelly19021941Partner 
Item 2 of 23James Brown Nicol19021952Partner 
Item 3 of 23Leonard John Smithc. 1902 Apprentice 
Item 4 of 23Alexander MackenzieJune 1910September 1915ApprenticeWorking under William Kelly
Item 5 of 23James Harrison Ball19171923Apprentice 
Item 6 of 23Alexander MackenzieFebruary 1919April 1920Assistant 
Item 7 of 23James Charles ClarkSeptember 1919September 1922Apprentice 
Item 8 of 23James Henderson Davidson4 May 1920March 1925Apprentice 
Item 9 of 23Henry Erskine HillEarly 1920Late 1921Apprenticefor 18 months
Item 10 of 23Robert Horn Morrison19211924Assistant 
Item 11 of 23David Proctor Bee1 November 192131 March 1923Apprentice 
Item 12 of 23William Wyllie Clark ShewanAugust 1923August 1926Apprentice 
Item 13 of 23Richard Rennie Alexander19261929Assistant 
Item 14 of 23Duthie Ritchie1928 Assistant(?) 
Item 15 of 23George Dudley Stalker19281931 or 1933Apprentice 
Item 16 of 23Ian Hastings McLaren19291930Assistantfor 11 months
Item 17 of 23George FlettSeptember 19291931Assistant 
Item 18 of 23John Phin Miller WrightJuly 1931Before 1937Assistant 
Item 19 of 23John Phin Miller WrightAfter 19311937Chief Assistant 
Item 20 of 23Alexander Milne WilsonAugust 193420 July 1937Apprentice 
Item 21 of 23John Edward MartinJuly 1935January 1937Assistant 
Item 22 of 23Alastair Stewart Fosterc. 1935(?)c. 1936(?)AssistantFor 8 months
Item 23 of 23Alexander Milne Wilson20 July 1937 Assistant 

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice 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 74 Glenbuchat Lodge  AberdeenshireScotlandRestoration and enlargement at rear - date unknown
Item 2 of 74After 1900Music Hall  AberdeenScotlandLarge additions
Item 3 of 741902Demonstration School  AberdeenScotland 
Item 4 of 741902Lower Banffshire Joint Infectious Diseases HospitalPortsoy BanffshireScotland 
Item 5 of 741902Society of Friends Meeting House  AberdeenScotland 
Item 6 of 74After 1902Aberdeen Royal Infirmary  AberdeenScotlandExtension
Item 7 of 74After 1902Business premises  AberdeenScotland 
Item 8 of 74After 1902Jubilee HospitalHuntly AberdeenshireScotlandExtension
Item 9 of 74After 1902Moy HouseForres MorayshireScotlandAlterations and reconstruction
Item 10 of 74After 1902Woodend HouseBanchory Ternan AberdeenshireScotlandAlterations and reconstruction
Item 11 of 741903Abernethy's Lodge  AberdeenScotland 
Item 12 of 741903Banff District Asylum, Troup/LadysbridgeBanff BanffshireScotlandSeparate villa for male patients (Mayfield Villa)
Item 13 of 741903Mackie AcademyStonehaven KincardineshireScotlandAddition of wings
Item 14 of 741903Property for W Smith  AberdeenScotland 
Item 15 of 74c. 1903Invery HouseStrachan AberdeenshireScotlandRestoration and alterations - including later addition of south range beyond the pavilion
Item 16 of 741905Langley, 25 Forest Road  AberdeenScotlandAdditions
Item 17 of 741905Tertowie HouseKinellar AberdeenshireScotlandWing added
Item 18 of 741905The GablesStonehaven KincardineshireScotland 
Item 19 of 74c. 190569 Don StreetOld Aberdeen AberdeenScotlandRestoration
Item 20 of 741906Aberdeen Savings Bank  AberdeenScotland 
Item 21 of 741906Fife Arms HotelBraemar AberdeenshireScotlandWest wing rebuilt
Item 22 of 741907Carron CottageStonehaven KincardineshireScotlandInterior work including mantelpiece
Item 23 of 741907Memorial to James FergusonRothiemay AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 24 of 741907St Mary's Parish ChurchEllon AberdeenshireScotlandAlterations, including panelled and stencilled timber ceiling and the dado.
Item 25 of 741907Tilquhillie Cottage   Scotland 
Item 26 of 74After 1907Union Street and King Street and Union Bridge  AberdeenScotlandRailings (or parapets)
Item 27 of 741909Seabank Rescue Home  AberdeenScotlandAdditions
Item 28 of 741909Tudor LodgeStonehaven KincardineshireScotlandConflict of information. Stonehaven Journal gives Coutts as architect. Kelly information from owner in 1960s.
Item 29 of 741910Culter HousePeterculter AberdeenshireScotlandRestoration of interiors
Item 30 of 741910Gordon SchoolsHuntly AberdeenshireScotlandAddition of Higher Grade School
Item 31 of 741911Kildrummy UF ChurchKildrummy AberdeenshireScotlandKelly responsible
Item 32 of 741911Strathbogie Free ChurchHuntly AberdeenshireScotlandRestoration - Kelly responsible, with T G Archibald
Item 33 of 741912Huntly Public SchoolHuntly AberdeenshireScotlandSecondary department added
Item 34 of 741912New Market and the layout of Market Street  AberdeenScotlandPermanent shops on market floor - Kelly responsible
Item 35 of 74191313-14 Dee Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 36 of 741913Villa, 86 Queen's Road  AberdeenScotlandAlterations
Item 37 of 741914Harlaw MemorialHarlaw AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 38 of 74c. 1914Chapel of Garioch Parish ChurchChapel of Garioch AberdeenshireScotlandGallery level windows - probably by Kelly & Nicol
Item 39 of 74c. 1918Murtle HousePeterculter AberdeenshireScotlandAlterations
Item 40 of 741919Marnoch Parish ManseMarnoch BanffshireScotlandEntrance front extended by one bay, alterations to front and and windows on ground floor
Item 41 of 741919New Market and the layout of Market Street  AberdeenScotlandAlterations to Market Building
Item 42 of 741920Memorial to the Seventh GordonsBanchory KincardineshireScotland 
Item 43 of 74c. 1920Aberdeen Grammar School, War MemorialDenburn AberdeenScotland 
Item 44 of 74c. 1920Banff War MemorialBanff BanffshireScotland 
Item 45 of 74c. 1920Dyce War MemorialDyce AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 46 of 74c. 1920War MemorialBirse AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 47 of 741921Ardoe House  AberdeenshireScotlandPorch (attribution)
Item 48 of 74After 1921Kinnaird Castle, with stables and lodgeBrechin AngusScotlandRestoration after fire
Item 49 of 741922King's College Chapel, University War Memorial  AberdeenScotland 
Item 50 of 741922Longside Parish Church and war memorialLongside AberdeenshireScotlandWar memorial
Item 51 of 741922St Clement's Episcopal Church  AberdeenScotland'only a small part of the design built'
Item 52 of 741922St James Episcopal ChurchCruden Bay AberdeenshireScotlandAltar
Item 53 of 741923Raemoir House  AberdeenshireScotlandRestoration
Item 54 of 741923St James Episcopal Church  AberdeenScotlandAltar and war memorial reredos
Item 55 of 741923War MemorialBanchory KincardineshireScotland 
Item 56 of 741923 or 1926Keith Cottage HospitalKeith BanffshireScotlandFurther additions (Buildings of Scotland gives 1923- Richardson 1926)
Item 57 of 741924Dunecht House (including chapel)Echt AberdeenshireScotlandSome internal remodelling and redecoration of chapel; western gates (some undertaken by Kelly in private capacity after his retirement), Main Gates in Dunecht Village
Item 58 of 741925Dunecht, Estate Offices and HallEcht AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 59 of 741925Dunnottar Castle  KincardineshireScotlandConsolidation and partial re-roofing
Item 60 of 741927Aberdeen Royal InfirmaryForesterhill AberdeenScotlandNicol responsible
Item 61 of 741927College of Nursing Club and house at no 1 Fonthill Road  AberdeenScotlandAdditions to Club
Item 62 of 741927East Lochside SteadingSkene AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 63 of 741927Raemoir House  AberdeenshireScotlandGabled east wing and interior woodwork
Item 64 of 74After 1927Echt Churchyard, Monument to Viscount CowdrayEcht AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 65 of 74Before 1927Hospital for Sick Children  AberdeenScotland 
Item 66 of 74c. 1927Turin HouseRescobie AngusScotlandRebuilding on higher site
Item 67 of 74After 1928Castle Fraser  AberdeenshireScotlandRestoration work - left unfinished
Item 68 of 741930sSavings BankHolburn AberdeenScotland 
Item 69 of 741930King's College Chapel  AberdeenScotlandRestoration of east window, new butresses, stalls, desks, restoration of NE window at apse. Medieval pulpit partly reconstructed.
Item 70 of 74c. 1930Aberdeen Lunatic Asylum  AberdeenScotlandExtensions
Item 71 of 74c. 1933St Germain-en-Laye, Monument to Viscountess Cowdray  Ile de FranceFrance 
Item 72 of 741936University of Aberdeen Students' Union  AberdeenScotland 
Item 73 of 74193823 Don Street  AberdeenScotlandRestoration
Item 74 of 74Before 1938Aberdeen Royal Infirmary  AberdeenScotlandAlterations and addtions?

References

Currently, there are no references for this architectural practice. The information has been derived from: the British Architectural Library / RIBA Directory of British Architects 1834-1914; Post Office Directories; and/or any sources listed under this individual's works.