Basic Biographical Details

Name: Archibald McNeil Duncan
Born: 22 March 1906
Died: 22 May 1968
Bio Notes: Archibald McNeil Duncan was born in Stirling on 22 March 1906, the son of Archibald Duncan, newspaper manager, and his wife Christine Strang. On completion of his secondary education at Craigs School, Stirling and Hamilton Academy, Duncan enrolled in the Course in Building at the Hamilton Technical School in 1923, the same year as he was articled to James Austen Laird, completing his apprenticeship on 24th December 1928. Duncan remained with Laird for a short time as improver before joining John Keppie & Henderson in March 1929, where he was a junior draughtsman.

He enrolled at Glasgow School of Art in 1928 and gained his Course Certificate from the Glasgow School of Architecture (also partly run in the Royal Technical College) in June 1931, together with a bronze medal. He moved to a post as draughtsman with Clarke Bell & Craigie in 1929, remaining with the practice for twelve years. During the latter stages there he was chief draughtsman.

Duncan was elected a student member of the RIAS in April 1928, a probationer of the RIBA in July 1928, a student member of the RIBA in 1932 and an associate member of the RIAS in April 1940. He married Janet (Jessie) Hood McKellar Robertson on 13 August, 1942 (Andrew McGraw, architect, was Duncanís best man), by which time he had volunteered for service with the Army. During the Second World War he served in Egypt as a Captain with the Royal Engineers, and for a period of time after the end of hostilities, was stationed in Tripoli, receiving notification of his release from active military duty in August 1946.

Upon his return Duncan joined the practice of John Melvin & Son in Alloa. Gordon Buchanan Biggar was sole partner in the practice after the deaths of John Gray and William Kerr in 1940. He had not qualified by 1948 and it is not clear at what point he became a member of the RIBA, though the letter sent by the RIBA after his death suggests that he was was. He transferred to the Architect's Department of Argyll County Council in the early 1950s, moving to the Architectís Department in Ayr County Council in 1955, with whom he was employed at the time of his death in 1968.

Duncan was known to all for whom he worked as hard-working and devoted to his work. James Austen Laird remarked that he had leaning 'towards the artistic side of architecture'.

Duncan died on 22 May 1968 in Gatehead, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, survived by his wife Jessie and his son, also Archibald McNeil Duncan.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 610, Nelson Place, Stirling, Stirlingshire, ScotlandPrivate19061920s 
Item 2 of 6Livlands, Irvine Road, Largs, Ayrshire, ScotlandPrivate1930s  
Item 3 of 6Mar Street, Alloa, Clackmannanshire, ScotlandBusiness19471952 
Item 4 of 6Willowbrae, Pompee Road, Largs, Ayrshire, ScotlandPrivate19471952 
Item 5 of 610, Newton Park, Innellan, Argyll, ScotlandPrivate19521955 
Item 6 of 616, Fairlie View, Gatehead, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, ScotlandPrivate19551968 

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 6James Austen Laird19231928Apprentice 
Item 2 of 6James Austen Laird1928 Improver 
Item 3 of 6Clarke & Bell & J H Craigie19291941Draughtsman 
Item 4 of 6Keppie & HendersonMarch 1929September 1929Draughtsman 
Item 5 of 6John Melvin & Son1940sAfter 1950Assistant 
Item 6 of 6Argyll County Council Architects Department1950s AssistantListed in RIBA Kalendar as working here in 1953.


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 4RIBA1948The RIBA Kalendar 1948-1949 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 2 of 4RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 3 of 4RIBA1954RIBA Kalendar 1953-54   
Item 4 of 4RIBA1961Kalendar 1960-61   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Courtesy of Archie DuncanInformation sent via 'Contact Us' on website Sent 2010 and further information sent November 2011.
Item 2 of 2H M Register HouseDeath Register