Basic Biographical Details

Name: David Cowper Frame
Designation: Architect
Born: 2 December 1882
Died: 12 April 1960
Bio Notes: David Cowper Frame was born in Larkhall, Lanarkshire on 2 December 1882, the son of a prosperous wool merchant. He attended Dollar Academy, but whether he had any connection with the Clackmannanshire architectural family of that name is not known. In 1901 he commenced his articles with James Miller in Glasgow, but in the following year he moved to the office of William Ferguson with whom he completed his apprenticeship in 1905. During that period he took Alexander McGibbon's and from 1905 Eugène Bourdon's classes at Glasgow School of Art.

In 1905 Frame emigrated to Jamaica with a friend, Jock Findlay, to become foreman on a banana plantation with a relative, but fell ill with malaria. They then moved to Vancouver and Victoria; Frame made a brief visit to New Zealand to see what the prospects were there, but returned as assistant to Francis Mawson Rattenbury with whom he had a particularly happy relationship.

In 1908 Frame established his own practice in Victoria which prospered on his good musical and social connections until 1916 when he became a wartime draughtsman with Canadian Explosives. His architecture in those years was variously Miller free baroque or American classic.

In 1919 Frame returned to Larkhall to work in the family wool business, but in 1921 he returned to Canada, probably for health reasons, to work as a draughtsman in the offices of his former colleagues, Hubert Savage, C Elwood Watkins, and S Patrick Birley. During the Depression of the 1930s he grew vegetables on his five-acre property near Mount Douglas, but in 1940 he successfully recommenced practice designing commercial and apartment blocks, the style of which progressed from Art Deco to international modern.

Frame married Evelyn Annie Dickinson in 1909: they had a large family. He died on 12 April 1960.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 6Larkhall, Lanarkshire, ScotlandPrivate1882Before 1905 
Item 2 of 6Jamaica, West IndiesBusiness1905Before 1908 
Item 3 of 6Vancouver, British Columbia, CanadaBusinessAfter 1905Before 1908 
Item 4 of 6Victoria, British Columbia, CanadaBusinessBefore 1908Before 1919 
Item 5 of 6Larkhall, Lanarkshire, ScotlandPrivate/business19191921 
Item 6 of 6CanadaBusiness1921  

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 6James Miller19011902Apprentice 
Item 2 of 6William Ferguson19021905Apprentice 
Item 3 of 6Francis Mawson RattenburyAfter 19051908Assistant 
Item 4 of 6Studley Patrick BirleyAfter 1921Before 1940Draughtsman 
Item 5 of 6Hubert SavageAfter 1921Before 1940Draughtsman 
Item 6 of 6C Elwood WatkinsAfter 1921Before 1940Draughtsman 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 1Luxton, Donald (ed.)2003Building the West: the early architects of British Columbia Vancouver: Talon Books