Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Alexander Bruce Robertson
Born: 24 June 1911
Died: 13 July 1984
Bio Notes: William Alexander Bruce Robertson was born on 24 June 1911, the son of William Robertson, master painter, and his wife Mary Sinclair Miller. He attended morning classes at Edinburgh College of Art for five years from October 1932, presumably whilst articled in an architect's office. Thereafter he continued to study full-time for two years, receiving his diploma in June 1937. He was admitted ARIBA on 10 January 1938, his proposers being Arthur Forman Balfour Paul, Frank Charles Mears, and James Macgregor, who had supervised his studies at the College of Art from 1933 onwards. He was an Institute Medallist (Drawings) in 1938, and also won the Grissell Gold Medal that year and the Arthur Cateman Prize. His nomination papers state that he had travelled in Spain, Italy, Yugoslavia and Greece from 3 to 28 September 1935, and in Denmark, Norway and Sweden from 3 to 27 September 1936. He was also an Associate of the Edinburgh Architectural Association.

Robertson, seemingly known at that time as Bruce Robertson, worked as assistant to Rowand Anderson, Paul & Partners. When one of the partners, Basil Spence, left in 1945 to set up his own practice, Robertson left to join him in partnership, the firm Basil Spence & Partners being founded in November 1936. He left early in 1950 to practise independently as W A Bruce Robertson from an office in St Colm Street, Edinburgh. His work included jobs for Edinburgh Corporation and a house he built for himself at Easter Howgate.

Robertson resigned his RIBA membership in January 1978, at which time he gave his address as 8 St Colme Street, Edinburgh. He died on 13 July 1984 at his home in Wester Howgate. He was survived by his wife Mary Isobel Crocker.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 5Dunduran, East Barnton Avenue, Davidson's Mains, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1937 *  
Item 2 of 53, Hillpark Drive, Davidson's Mains, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate/business(?)1939 *After 1950 
Item 3 of 530, Wester Howgate, Midlothian, ScotlandPrivateAfter 19501984 
Item 4 of 5Easter Howgate, Midlothian, ScotlandPrivateAfter 1950Before 1984 
Item 5 of 58, St Colme Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1964After 1978 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 2Rowand Anderson, Paul & PartnersAfter 19341946Assistant 
Item 2 of 2Basil Spence & PartnersNovember 19461950PartnerIn Edinburgh office.


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3James Macgregor10 January 1938for Associateship
Item 2 of 3(Sir) Frank Charles Mears10 January 1938for Associateship
Item 3 of 3Arthur Forman Balfour Paul10 January 1938for Associateship

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 141946Bannerfield EstateSelkirk SelkirkshireScotland 
Item 2 of 141946Bell's Brae HouseDean Village EdinburghScotlandRestoration and alterations
Item 3 of 141947Glasgow University, Natural Philosophy Buildings  GlasgowScotlandExtension to N, for research and housing the synchrotron; completed by Spence practice after Robertson left in 1950.
Item 4 of 141948Housing estate, 14-20 Lower BurnmouthBurnmouth BerwickshireScotland 
Item 5 of 141948Housing, 1-6 Harbour Court, Castle GateDunbar East LothianScotlandPartner in charge
Item 6 of 141948Housing, 15A-15D Victoria Street and 8 Writer's CourtDunbar East LothianScotlandPartner in charge
Item 7 of 141948Housing, 19A, 19B, 19C Victoria Street and 10, 12 Writer's CourtDunbar East LothianScotlandPartner in charge
Item 8 of 141948Housing, Victoria PlaceDunbar East LothianScotlandPArtner in charge
Item 9 of 141949Housing Scheme, SheppertonSunbury-on-Thames MiddlesexEngland 
Item 10 of 14c. 1949Rossie PrioryInchture PerthshireScotlandMain part of house demolished and plinth courses converted to terrace
Item 11 of 141950Crawford's Snack Bar interior, Queensferry Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 12 of 14After 1950(?)HouseWester Howgate MidlothianScotlandfor himself
Item 13 of 14Before 1951Fishermen's Cottages, DunbarDunbar East LothianScotland 
Item 14 of 141953Housing, Buncles Court and Lamer StreetDunbar East LothianScotlandPartner in charge


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 5Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp14 Harbour Court Housing, Dunbar
p96-7 Lamer Street Housing, Dunbar
p159-60 Fishermen's Houses, Dunbar
Item 2 of 5Municipal Annual1964Scottish Municipal Annual1964-1965  
Item 3 of 5RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 4 of 5RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 5 of 5Willis, Peter1977New architecture in Scotland  p8, p10 Fishermen's Houses

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 3H M Register HouseDeath Register  
Item 2 of 3RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no629 (combined box 150)
Item 3 of 3Sent to DSA by emailInformation from AHRC/RCAHMS Spence project per David W Walker and Clive Fenton Clive Fenton's research notes (sent July 2010)