Basic Biographical Details

Name: R J Walker & Smith
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: Before 1946
Bio Notes: Robert Walker was born at Summerfield, Leith on 27 January 1867, the son of Robert Walker, provision merchant, and his wife Helen Chisholm. His middle name James was added later. He was brought up in Fife where he developed an interest in Scottish vernacular architecture from an early age. He studied at Glasgow School of Art in 1885-6 and exhibited as a painter at the Royal Glasgow Institute for the Fine Arts from 1892. He worked for James Miller c.1900, assisting with the design of the Canadian Pavilion for the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1901. Soon thereafter he entered into partnership with Thomas Ramsay from John Hutchison's office. They won the competitions for The Wolverhampton Exhibition of 1902 and for Kirkintilloch Town Hall in 1904 and subsequently engaged in further competition work with notable success in those for the Scottish National Exhibitions in Edinburgh (1908) and Glasgow (1911). The practice was based at 123 Wellington Street.

The success of the practice was not maintained after 1911 and in 1913 the partnership was dissolved. Walker worked independently from an office at 108 Douglas Street, Blythswood Square, Glasgow from that year, practising mainly as an artist but Thomas Charles Hardy had already joined him as an assistant in May 1913. Hardy had been born at 31 Annette Street, Govanhill on 27 December 1890, the son of Thomas Hardy, hotel porter and his wife Elizabeth Thompson. He had been articled to James Miller of Glasgow in November 1905, remaining as an assistant until September 1912. During this period and for two further years thereafter he attended classes at the Royal Technical College and Glasgow School of Art. His career was interrupted by military service from February 1917 to 1919, but he returned to Walker's office on his demobilisation. He was admitted ARIBA under the war exemption scheme in late 1920, his proposers being Miller, John Watson and David Salmond. He then went to work in the United States returning to Scotland in 1925 and became an 'assistant with a Glasgow firm' (perhaps meaning a return to Walker's office?)

Walker later took Hardy into partnership, although it has yet to be established whether this took place before or at the same time as the change of the firm's name to R J Walker, Hardy & Smith, which occurred in March 1931 when Walker's chief assistant David Reekie Smith was also taken into partnership. (Hardy's RIBA obituary claims that he was taken into partnership in 1934.) Smith had been born on 13 December 1904 and had been articled to Walker in January 1919, studying at Glasgow High School and Glasgow School of Architecture. On completion of his apprenticeship in January 1924 he had remained with Walker as a draughtsman, later becoming chief assistant. He had received his certificate from the Glasgow School of Architecture in June 1930. Smith passed the final exam in Edinburgh in December 1931 and was admitted ARIBA early the following year, his proposers being Thomas Harold Hughes, John Watson and David Salmond.

Walker moved to Greenvale, Fintry, in 1938, an event which probably marked his retirement from architecture. The practice of R J Walker, Hardy & Smith continued until 1939, based in Walker's office at 108 Douglas Street, Blythswood Square, Glasgow. After the Second World War it continued as R J Walker & Smith.

(NB: Jobs for R J Walker, Hardy & Smith have been entered on assumption that all partners were involved, but very little is known of any of them, and it is possible that some were retired or deceased at the time.)

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 4Suite 8A, Whitecrook Business Centre, Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, ScotlandBusiness   
Item 2 of 4108, Douglas Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1946 * At this address July 1948
Item 3 of 4Douglas Street, Blythswood Square, Glasgow, Scotland 1950  
Item 4 of 4180, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1950 *After 1981 

* 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 5David Reekie Smith1946 * Partner 
Item 2 of 5Robert James WalkerBefore 1946(?)1946(?)Partner 
Item 3 of 5John McOvat (or McOuat)1970 *After 1975  
Item 4 of 5Alan Waterston Flower1970 *After 1981Partner 
Item 5 of 5William Munro Smith1970After 1981Partner 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 19194838-48 York Street  Glasgow Additions and alterations
Item 2 of 191950Catholic Primary School, ToryglenToryglen GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 191950Logan School of Domestic Economy  GlasgowScotlandArchitects for additions and other works
Item 4 of 191950Office premises and warehouse, Bankhead BroadwaySighthill EdinburghScotland 
Item 5 of 191951Erskine HospitalErskine Ferry RenfrewshireScotlandFor new extension
Item 6 of 1922 February 1957Premises of Highland Distillers Co, LtdCraighall GlasgowScotlandBuilder p391
Item 7 of 191965Erskine HospitalErskine Ferry RenfrewshireScotlandExtension
Item 8 of 191965Ist stage housingMilngavie GlasgowScotland 
Item 9 of 191966Bunnahabhain Distillery IslayArgyllScotlandModernisation
Item 10 of 191966Lochend Secondary SchoolEasterhouse GlasgowScotland 
Item 11 of 191966Office block for Edward Gibbons & Sons.Springfield GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 191967Bonded warehouseCampbelltown ArgyllScotland 
Item 13 of 191967Bonded warehousesBuchley Dunbartonshire|LanarkshireScotlandIt is unclear if David Reekie Smith still involved.
Item 14 of 1919682nd and 3rd stage housing developmentMilngavie GlasgowScotland 
Item 15 of 191968Offices for A & P Stevens, lift manufacturer  GlasgowScotlandRebuilding after fire damage.
Item 16 of 191968St Columba's Secondary School  GlasgowScotlandExtensions (or perhaps new build?)
Item 17 of 191968St Flannan's Primary SchoolKirkintilloch DunbartonshireScotlandExtension
Item 18 of 191968St Gerard's Secondary SchoolGovan GlasgowScotlandExtensions
Item 19 of 191979Glenrothes DistilleryRothes MorayshireScotlandStill House


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 2RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 2 of 2RIBA1981Directory of Practices 1981   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 5Builder28 April 1950  p570
Item 2 of 5Builder19 May 1950  p692
Item 3 of 5Builder7 July 1950  p45
Item 4 of 5Builder5 October 1951  p468
Item 5 of 5Builder8 June 1951  p837