Basic Biographical Details

Name: Isobel Margaret Gordon (Mrs Adams)
Designation: Architect
Born: 26 April 1909
Died: 9 July 2002
Bio Notes: Isobel Margaret Gordon was born in Fraserburgh on 26 April 1909, the daughter of Robert Gordon, fishcurer and his wife Isabella Anderson who had been a teacher before she married. Isobel studied full-time at the School of Architecture, Robert Gordon's Colleges from 1927 to 1930 and subsequently served a three-year apprenticeship in the office of George Bennett Mitchell & Son. She graduated in Fine Art at the University of Aberdeen in 1932, having written a thesis on the development of the eighteenth-century neo-Renaissance in Aberdeen, and received her diploma in Architecture in June 1933. She was an Associate of the Aberdeen Society of Architects, and was admitted ARIBA on 3 December 1934, her proposers being R Leslie Rollo, John Gibb Marr and George Bennett Mitchell. In that year she had obtained a teaching diploma, and she occasionally lectured at the Aberdeen School of Art thereafter. In the same year, 1934, she entered the office of A Marshall Mackenzie & Son as an architectural assistant, affectionately referred to as 'Dr Marshall Mackenzie's quine'. Whilst there she carried out work on Glen Tannar House, including the design of bathroom tiles which were later salvaged from the house by her daughters during its partial demolition.

In June 1936 she was appointed assistant County Architect to the County Council of Sutherland. She left the County Architect's Office in 1939 when she married James W L Adams, later Professor of Education at Dundee University. They had three children: J Gordon L Adams (1940-2003; later Doctor); Marjory I G Adams (born 1944; married name Keay); and Ishbel C M Adams (born 1946; later Doctor; married name Barnes).

Isobel Adams continued to practise thereafter on her own account, working on a number of buildings around Aboyne and, it is believed, carrying out a large amount of work on the estate of the Marquis of Huntly. She was appointed honorary architect and subsequently Chairman of Dundee Old People's Welfare Committee and built various Old People's Clubs. She ceased to be a member of the RIBA in December 1975, at which time she was living at Wentworth, 127 Dundee Road, Broughty Ferry. She died in Broughty Ferry on 9 July 2002.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 248, Fountainhall Road, Aberdeen, ScotlandPrivate1939 *  
Item 2 of 2Wentworth/127, Dundee Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1970 *After 1975 

* 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 3George Bennett Mitchell & Son19301933Apprentice 
Item 2 of 3A Marshall Mackenzie & Son1934June 1936Assistant 
Item 3 of 3Sutherland County Council Architect's DepartmentJune 19361939Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3John Gibb Marr3 December 1934for Associateship
Item 2 of 3George Bennett Mitchell & Son3 December 1934for Associateship
Item 3 of 3Robert Leslie Rollo3 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 6After 1939Broughty Ferry Old People's ClubBroughty Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 2 of 6After 1939Farington House, 1 Farington Street  DundeeScotlandConversion to old people's home
Item 3 of 6After 1939Five Ways Old People's Club  DundeeScotland 
Item 4 of 6After 1939Golspie SchoolGolspie SutherlandScotlandExtension
Item 5 of 6After 1939Thornbank Old People's Club  DundeeScotland 
Item 6 of 6Mid 1930sGlen Tanar HouseAboyne AberdeenshireScotlandAlterations - as assistant to A Marshall Mackenzie & Son (responsible for the design of bathroom tiles)


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 1RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Prospect1986no27 Summer

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 Personal information from Isobel Margaret Gordon's daughter Ishbel Barnes (emails 18 June and 21 August 2006).
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no5522 (combined box 85)