Basic Biographical Details

Name: Alexander Brown
Born: 1853
Died: 22 April 1925
Bio Notes: Alexander Brown was born in Aberdeen in 1853, the son of a shoemaker and became a Burgess of Trade at the age of twenty in September 1873. It is not clear to whom he was articled, if indeed to anyone, but by Christmas Eve 1880, the date of his marriage, he was described as an 'architectural surveyor' with Matthews & Mackenzie. Shortly thereafter, Brown set up practice on his own account at 7 Belmont Street. Thomas Watson and others who remembered him described him as more chartered surveyor, quantity surveyor and valuer than architect, and his early practice consisted solely of housing of a mundane kind.

Nevertheless Brown had ambitions for his practice. In 1887 he took as assistant George Watt. George Watt was born in 1865, the son of William Watt, senior partner in the firm of G Fordyce & Co, Builders, Aberdeen. He was articled in 1879 to Matthews & Mackenzie where he worked alongside Brown. He remained with them for a year as an assistant before obtaining a place in the office of Campbell Douglas & Sellars in 1885-87, where he worked closely with Sellars and Keppie and absorbed their style. He returned to Aberdeen in 1887 as assistant to Alexander Brown with a view to taking Brown's firm more upmarket. Early in his career he was entrusted with additions and alterations at Crathes and in 1889 he won the local competition for Aberdeen Public Library with a Sellars-inspired design, Matthews and Mackenzie coming second and Pirie & Clyne third, his contribution being recognised with a partnership in 1891.

By 1893 Brown was sufficiently confident of the future of the practice to build himself a sizable villa at 10 Fountainhall Road, the practice having already moved to more prestigious premises at 17 Union Terrace. Watt was responsible for nearly all the design work thereafter. His style remained strongly influenced by that of Sellars, most notably at the spire of his Beechgrove Church which was modelled on Sellars' unbuilt scheme for Anderston Church in Glasgow.

Although very much the business partner of the practice Brown's name appears among those who petitioned against the destruction of Greyfriars Church in 1896 and in 1897-98 was one of the founders of Aberdeen Society of Architects. He died of a seizure in a tramcar when returning to his home at 101 Fountainhall Road for lunch on 22 April 1925, by which date the practice appears to have been at a low ebb in terms of actual building. He left the substantial moveable estate of £8,561 13s 7d and was survived by his ailing widow, his son Dr A Middleton Brown (d.1959) of Hereford and two daughters, Margaret who worked in the University Library and Emily, a teacher in Elgin who made a late marriage to the Rev Angus Mackay of Whalsay in 1928 but died in the following year.

Brown never sought membership of the RIBA but Watt was admitted FRIBA on 4 March 1907, his proposers being Robert Gordon Wilson, Arthur Hay Livingstone Mackinnon and Arthur Clyne. Watt retired in or about 1928: he died suddenly on 18 December 1931 at Bieldside House, a single storey and basement late Georgian villa which he had remodelled for his own occupation in 1903. He left personal estate valued at £8,561.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 555, Thomson Street, Aberdeen, ScotlandPrivate(?)1880  
Item 2 of 57, Belmont Street, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusinessc. 1880  
Item 3 of 539, Thomson Street, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusinessc. 1884  
Item 4 of 517, Union Terrace, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusiness1891After 1907 
Item 5 of 5101, Fountainhall Road, Aberdeen, ScotlandPrivate1893  

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2Matthews & MackenzieBefore 1880c. 1880Surveyor 
Item 2 of 2Brown & Watt189122 April 1925Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1George Watt18871891Assistant 

Buildings and Designs

This 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 177 Aberdeen Ice Factory  AberdeenScotlandDate unknown
Item 2 of 177 SchoolRhynie AberdeenshireScotlandDate unknown
Item 3 of 177 School at DyceDyce AberdeenshireScotlandDate unknown
Item 4 of 1771886Dwelling house, Fountainhall Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 5 of 1771886Dwelling house, Fountainhall Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 6 of 1771886Fountainhall Road and Hamilton Place corner block  AberdeenScotland 
Item 7 of 1771886House, St Swithin Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 8 of 1771886Leadside Road Mills  AberdeenScotlandAdditions
Item 9 of 1771886Two dwelling houses, Fountainhall Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 10 of 1771886Two dwelling houses, Leslie Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 11 of 1771886Two dwelling houses, Summerfield Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 12 of 1771887Eight houses, Great Western Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 13 of 1771887House, Fountainhall Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 14 of 1771887Nine houses, Chestnut Row  AberdeenScotland 
Item 15 of 1771887Two dwelling houses with shops, Northfield Place at Jack's Brae  AberdeenScotland 
Item 16 of 1771887Two dwelling houses, Union Grove  AberdeenScotland 
Item 17 of 1771887Two houses, Esslemont Avenue  AberdeenScotland 
Item 18 of 1771887Two houses, Jamaica Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 19 of 1771888House, Ashvale Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 20 of 1771888House, Fountainhall Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 21 of 1771888Houses, Holburn Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 22 of 1771888Two cottages, Powis Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 23 of 1771888Two houses, Elmbank Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 24 of 1771888Two houses, Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 25 of 1771888Two houses, Union Grove  AberdeenScotland 
Item 26 of 1771889Central Public Library  AberdeenScotlandWon competition to secure job
Item 27 of 1771889Four houses, Fountainhall Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 28 of 1771889House, Urquhart Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 29 of 1771889NewlandsRuthrieston AberdeenScotland 
Item 30 of 1771889Two cottages, Fraser Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 31 of 1771889Two houses, Brighton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 32 of 1771890Broomhill Place at Allan Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 33 of 1771890Printing Office  AberdeenScotland 
Item 34 of 1771891Brewery etc  AberdeenScotland 
Item 35 of 1771891North Eastern Ice Company, Commercial Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 36 of 1771891Springbank Cemetery Lodge  AberdeenScotland 
Item 37 of 1771891Three cottages, Holburn Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 38 of 1771892House, Poynernook  AberdeenScotland 
Item 39 of 1771892House, Queen's Road West  AberdeenScotland 
Item 40 of 1771892Old Machar PoorhouseOld Machar AberdeenScotlandHospital buildings
Item 41 of 1771892Store, Market Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 42 of 1771892Two cottages, Blanheim Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 43 of 1771893George Street Baptist ChurchGilcomston Park AberdeenScotland 
Item 44 of 1771893Holburn Free Church  AberdeenScotland 
Item 45 of 1771893House and shops, Huntly Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 46 of 1771893House, Fountainhall Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 47 of 1771893House, Menzies RoadTorry AberdeenScotland 
Item 48 of 1771893House, Mount Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 49 of 1771893House, Summer Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 50 of 1771893Shops and hall, Windmill Brae  AberdeenScotland 
Item 51 of 1771893Trinity Hall  AberdeenScotlandAddition
Item 52 of 1771893Two houses, Gladstone Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 53 of 1771893Two houses, Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 54 of 1771893Two houses, Mile End Avenue  AberdeenScotland 
Item 55 of 1771894Four houses, Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 56 of 1771894House and shop, Rose Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 57 of 1771894House, Beaconsfield Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 58 of 1771894House, Forest Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 59 of 1771894House, Hamilton Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 60 of 1771894House, Roslin Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 61 of 1771894House, Stanley Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 62 of 1771894Two houses, Clifton Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 63 of 1771894Two houses, Fonthill Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 64 of 1771894Two houses, Holburn Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 65 of 1771895Atholl Hotel  AberdeenScotlandAddition
Item 66 of 1771895Four houses, Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 67 of 1771895Peterculter ChurchPeterculter AberdeenshireScotlandCentral south projection and T-plan north aisle
Item 68 of 1771895Saltoun Arms Public House  AberdeenScotland 
Item 69 of 1771895Sandeman Public LibraryPerth PerthshireScotlandCompetition design - placed equal second
Item 70 of 1771895Two houses, Western Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 71 of 177c. 1895James Fleming Monument, Aberlour ChurchyardAberlour BanffshireScotland 
Item 72 of 177189633-35 Miller Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 73 of 1771896Aberlour Primary SchoolAberlour BanffshireScotland 
Item 74 of 1771896Beechwood House  AberdeenScotland 
Item 75 of 1771896Crathes CastleCrathes Aberdeenshire/KincardineshireScotlandLarge family wing added, gallery restored
Item 76 of 1771896Four cottages, Belvidere Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 77 of 1771896Four houses, Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 78 of 1771896Gilcomston Mills  AberdeenScotlandAdditions
Item 79 of 1771896House, Broomhill Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 80 of 1771896House, Rubislaw Den South  AberdeenScotland 
Item 81 of 1771896Hutcheon Street and Fraser Road corner  AberdeenScotland 
Item 82 of 1771896Primary SchoolCraigellachie BanffshireScotland 
Item 83 of 1771896Six houses, Rosebery Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 84 of 1771896Two cottages, Mile End Avenue  AberdeenScotland 
Item 85 of 177189733 Albyn Place  AberdeenScotlandAlterations
Item 86 of 1771897Beechgrove Free Church  AberdeenScotlandWon competition and secured job
Item 87 of 1771897Eight houses, Carlton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 88 of 1771897Great Northern Road School  AberdeenScotland 
Item 89 of 1771897Her Majesty's Theatre  AberdeenScotlandSupervised reconstruction of interior for Frank Matcham
Item 90 of 1771897House, Beechgrove Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 91 of 1771897House, Redgrove Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 92 of 1771897House, Rubislaw Den South  AberdeenScotland 
Item 93 of 1771897Houses and shops, Rosemount Viaduct  AberdeenScotland 
Item 94 of 1771897Kittybrewster Primary SchoolKittybrewster AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 95 of 1771897Kittybrewster Public School  AberdeenScotland 
Item 96 of 1771897Mercantile Marine Offices  AberdeenScotland 
Item 97 of 1771897Mission Hall for Belmont Street Congregational Church  AberdeenScotland 
Item 98 of 1771897Property, Chapel Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 99 of 1771897Property, Huntly Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 100 of 1771897Six houses, Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 101 of 1771897Two houses, Belvidere Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 102 of 1771897Two houses, Gray Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 103 of 1771898Aberdeen Steam Trawling Company  AberdeenScotland 
Item 104 of 1771898Five houses, Thomson Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 105 of 1771898Four houses, Seaforth Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 106 of 1771898Grantown Free ChurchGrantown-on-Spey MorayshireScotland 
Item 107 of 1771898HouseBridge of Balgonie FifeScotland 
Item 108 of 1771898House, Fraser Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 109 of 1771898SchoolRaemoir AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 110 of 1771898Six houses, Carlton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 111 of 1771898Three houses, King Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 112 of 1771898Two houses with shops, Belvidere Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 113 of 1771898Two houses, Bedford Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 114 of 1771898Two houses, St Andrew Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 115 of 1771899Central Bakery  AberdeenScotland 
Item 116 of 1771899Drapery warehouse  AberdeenScotland 
Item 117 of 1771899House and shop, Skene Square  AberdeenScotland 
Item 118 of 1771900Four houses, Forest Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 119 of 1771900Ingleside, Rubislaw Den South  AberdeenScotland 
Item 120 of 1771900Lewis Shaw's premises, Forest Avenue  AberdeenScotland 
Item 121 of 1771900Northern Co-operative Buldings  AberdeenScotland 
Item 122 of 1771900Oldmill Poorhouse  AberdeenScotland 
Item 123 of 1771900Ruthrieston UF Church  AberdeenScotland 
Item 124 of 1771900Villa, 66 Forest Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 125 of 1771900Villa, Rubislaw Den South  AberdeenScotland 
Item 126 of 1771900Whinhill, Fonthill Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 127 of 177Before 1900GlenrinnesDufftown BanffshireScotlandHS attribution
Item 128 of 1771901Butchers Arms public house  AberdeenScotland 
Item 129 of 1771901Forsyth Hotel  AberdeenScotlandAlterations? New build?
Item 130 of 1771901Four houses, Bedford Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 131 of 1771901Kincardine County HospitalStonehaven KincardineshireScotlandWon competition to secure job.
Item 132 of 1771901Melville UF Church  AberdeenScotland 
Item 133 of 1771901Premises, King Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 134 of 1771901Public SchoolBalmedie AberdeenshireScotlandAdditions
Item 135 of 1771901Torphins UF ChurchTorphins AberdeenScotland 
Item 136 of 177c. 1901Bon Accord Bar  AberdeenScotland 
Item 137 of 1771902Branch LibraryTorry AberdeenScotland 
Item 138 of 1771902Central Public Library  AberdeenScotlandPlans for new wing and reading room drawn up
Item 139 of 1771902House, Bon Accord Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 140 of 1771902House, Braemar Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 141 of 1771902House, Fonthill Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 142 of 1771902House, Fonthill Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 143 of 1771902House, Fonthill Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 144 of 1771902House, Fonthill Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 145 of 1771902Premises for Great Grimsby Company  AberdeenScotland 
Item 146 of 1771902Two houses, Alburg Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 147 of 1771902Two houses, Cornhill Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 148 of 1771902Two houses, Richmondhill Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 149 of 1771903Five houses, Bedford Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 150 of 1771903Four houses, Hutcheon Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 151 of 1771903Grantown Grammar SchoolGrantown-on-Spey MorayshireScotlandAdditions and alterations
Item 152 of 1771903House and stables, Central Carriage Hiring Establishment  AberdeenScotland 
Item 153 of 1771903Parish ManseKirkton of Glenbuchat AberdeenshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 154 of 1771903Six houses, Forest Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 155 of 1771903Three houses, Albury Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 156 of 1771903Two houses, Albury Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 157 of 1771903Two houses, King Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 158 of 1771904His Majesty's Theatre  AberdeenScotlandSupervised construction for Frank Matcham
Item 159 of 1771904SchoolNew Deer AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 160 of 1771904Two houses, Abergeldie Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 161 of 1771904Two houses, Abergeldie Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 162 of 1771904Two houses, Fraser Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 163 of 1771905House and shops, George Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 164 of 1771905House, King Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 165 of 1771905Two houses, Holburn Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 166 of 1771906Nigg Parish Church HallNigg KincardineshireScotland 
Item 167 of 1771907Oldmill Poorhouse, Nurses' Home  AberdeenScotland 
Item 168 of 1771908Burnett Arms HotelBanchory KincardineshireScotlandWing to right added - perhaps by Brown & Watt
Item 169 of 1771909Aberdeen Provincial Committee Training College  AberdeenScotlandCompetition design
Item 170 of 1771909Her Majesty’s Theatre  AberdeenScotlandAlterations
Item 171 of 1771909Northern Co-operative Memorial Fountain  AberdeenScotland 
Item 172 of 1771909Premises 57-59 St Nicholas Street   AberdeenScotland 
Item 173 of 1771909Preserved Provisions Factory, North Esplanade  AberdeenScotland 
Item 174 of 1771909Scots Church  RawalpindiIndiaDesign made - execution suprvised by engineers of the Military Works Department
Item 175 of 1771913Craigellie HouseAlyth PerthshireScotlandRebuilding (modelled on Craigellie house, Aberdeenshire, by John Smith)
Item 176 of 1771924Villa, 84 Queen's Road  AberdeenScotlandRemodelling
Item 177 of 1771925Shop, Hardgate  AberdeenScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 1Johnston, W T2003Artists of Scotland Officina Publications CDROM 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Builder25 September 1925  p483 - personal estate

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSAlbum of newscuttings on the work of Alexander Brown of Brown and Watt  
Item 2 of 2National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSBrown and Watt Scrapbook