Basic Biographical Details

Name: David Henderson
Designation: Architect
Died: c. 1787
Bio Notes: David Henderson was born in Sauchie near Alloa and trained as a mason. He moved to Edinburgh and established as practice as an architect and bridge builder. He was still living in Sauchie in 1765 when he submitted proposals for the North Bridge in Edinburgh and was awarded a prize of 30 guineas as being the best design. However he was passed over in favour of William Mylne as he had ‘failed in finding security to execute the Bridge agreeable to his estimates’. However Mylne’s design as built proved faulty and Henderson was one of several people asked to advise on its repair and in 1784 to carry out remedial work.

Henderson designed a number of bridges elsewhere between the 1760s and the 1780s. The bridge over the Pease Dean ravine near Cockburnspath was notable for the open cylindrical voids in the spandrels.

In 1764 Henderson planned to publish a book of house plans illustrated by 60 copper plate engravings. However this scheme proved abortive. In 1767 when the idea of rebuilding the University of Edinburgh was mooted he was paid 10 guineas for making a plan. In 1773 he was contracted to build Inverleith House for James Rocheid seemingly to his designs.

He undertook alteration work on various country houses in Peeblesshire and Ayrshire.

He was involved, like many of his contemporary architect/builders, in speculative housing schemes, one of which, although abortive, is of particular interest as he planned ‘an assemblage of Gentlemen’s Villas , bounded upon the outer line by a plantation of forest trees, and the internal boundaries of each lot by a continuation of flowering shrubs; and each villa situated in such a manner as not to overlook another’.

Henderson had two sons, David and John. David was in business as a mill-wright in Alloa but John was destined to become an architect. His father sent him to Rome in about 1774 and he returned in 1779. He briefly tried his hand in the London milieu but his only known executed works date from the 1780s and are in Scotland.

David Henderson died about 1787 or 1788 (John had predeceased him two years earlier).

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 10 Pease Bridge  BerwikshireScotland 
Item 2 of 101761Forteviot Bridge over the River EarnForteviot PerthshireScotland 
Item 3 of 101765North Bridge  EdinburghScotlandWas awarded a prize for the best design but was passed over in favour of William Mylne as he could not get tradesman to build it within estimated budget.
Item 4 of 101773Inverleith HouseInverleith EdinburghScotlandContracted to build the house to his own designs. Built the following year.
Item 5 of 101775The Whim  PeeblesshireScotlandEnlargement
Item 6 of 101780s(?)BocquhanKippen StirlingshireScotland 
Item 7 of 101780Caprington  AyrshireScotlandPlans drawn up but abandoned
Item 8 of 101781Auldgirth Bridge over the River NithAuldgirth DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 9 of 101781Fairlie HouseKilmarnock AyrshireScotland 
Item 10 of 101782Bo'ness (Borrowstouness) CanalBo'ness / Borrowstouness StirlingshireScotlandDesigns and estimates drawn up


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 5APSD The Dictionary of Architectureed Wyatt PapworthThe Architectural Publication Society (8v 1852-1892) 
Item 2 of 5Close, Rob and Riches, Anne2012The Buildings of Scotland: Ayrshire & Arran New Haven and London: Yale University Pressp209
Item 3 of 5Grant, James1880Old & New Edinburgh  volume i, 337
Item 4 of 5Institution of Civil Engineers2002Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers V.1 and 2 
Item 5 of 5Youngson, A J1966The Making of Classical Edinburgh Edinburgh University Presspp62-5, 124

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Scots Magazine1774xxxvi p108

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1New Register HouseWills and TestamentsCc 8/8/128/118 June 1789