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Basic Biographical Details

Name: Robert Alexander Bryden
Designation: Architect
Born: 7 July 1841
Died: 14 April 1906
Bio Notes: Robert Alexander Bryden was born at the corner of Renfield Street and West George Street in Glasgow on 7 July 1841, the son of Robert Bryden of Royal Bank Place, Glasgow and Margaret Ramage of Kirkurd, Peeblesshire, and was educated at Arthur's Academy Dunoon and Kirkcaldy Grammar School. Apprenticed to Clarke & Bell, he was allowed to insert his name in The Glasgow Directory as 'at Clarke and Bell's' by 1864. In 1865 he made an influential marriage to Elizabeth Robertson, daughter of Alexander Robertson, a Glasgow ironfounder who had retired to Dunoon, consolidating the connections Bryden already had there. In the same year he became a major in the 1st Lanarkshire volunteers. He was elected FRIBA on 20 May 1878, his proposers being John Baird, John Honeyman and William Forrest Salmon.

In the Directory of 1875-76 he appears as 'of Clarke and Bell', implying a very senior position within the firm if not an actual partnership; and from 1876 Bryden seems to have run a simultaneous practice within the same office at 37 West Nile Street, a situation which persisted until 1891 when he was again described as 'of Clarke and Bell' and is known to have been in a formal partnership with the firm, having moved with them from West Nile Street to 212 St Vincent Street in 1880|1.

Bryden's practice remained a near-separate one with its own glazed door within the Clarke and Bell office, and even when in partnership, his work was usually publicised in his own name rather than that of the firm. He had particularly good connections in the philanthropic field and was a director of the Scottish National Sabbath School Union. In 1901 he was described as having travelled extensively on the continent - 'more especially in Germany, the Austrian Tyrol and Italy' - although his architecture tended to be either Gothic or a rather coarse Netherlandish free Renaissance.

The Clarke & Bell and R A Bryden partnership was dissolved in 1902. The reasons for the break-up are uncertain but may relate to the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College. Bryden was its architect and had prepared a design for a new college in 1892. He did not, however, retain the commission and in early 1901 a limited competition was held in which the invitation was to George Bell II who submitted a design by his principal assistant James Hoey Craigie. This design was placed second by the professional staff. The final catalyst seems to have been Bryden's son Andrew Francis Stewart Bryden. Born 21 October 1876, Andrew was articled to his father's firm from 1893 to 1898 and remained as assistant but left in 1901 to gain wider experience. When he proposed to return in 1902 there would appear to have been some disagreement: although the younger Bryden had real ability his health was somewhat unstable. The elder Bryden separated his practice from Bell's and set up on his own with his son as chief assistant, moving out of the Clarke & Bell office at 212 St Vincent Street to one of their own at 147 Bath Street.

Robert Alexander Bryden died on 14 April 1906 at 11 Lynedoch Crescent, Glasgow, and was buried at Dunoon Cemetery. He left the then very substantial estate of 23,560 4s 5d. Andrew Francis Stewart Bryden continued the practice, taking into partnership Andrew Robertson.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 734, Abbotsford Place, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate18641868 
Item 2 of 7167, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1872  
Item 3 of 715, Dalhousie Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate18751899 
Item 4 of 737, West Nile Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1877 * Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts
Item 5 of 7212, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1899 * in RIBA Kalendar
Item 6 of 7147, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1902  
Item 7 of 711, Lynedoch Crescent, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate19021906 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 4Clarke & BellBefore 1864c. 1864Apprentice 
Item 2 of 4Clarke & Bellc. 1864(?)1875(?) Became partner sometime between 1875 and 1891.
Item 3 of 4Clarke & Bell and R A Bryden18751902Partner 
Item 4 of 4R A Bryden & Sonc. 1897c. 1901(?)Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 4Hugh Campbellc. 18951905Assistant 
Item 2 of 4Robert FraterJanuary 19011906Apprentice 
Item 3 of 4Andrew Francis Stewart Bryden19021906Chief Draughtsman 
Item 4 of 4William Bryce Binnie (Major)19041906Apprentice 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3John Baird the Second20 May 1878for Fellowship
Item 2 of 3John Honeyman20 May 1878for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3William Forrest Salmon20 May 1878for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3William Cowie5 June 1893for Associateship
Item 2 of 3William Moffat20 March 1882for Associateship
Item 3 of 3Andrew Robertson5 June 1893for Associateship

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 761873Dunoon Town HallDunoon ArgyllScotlandOriginal building
Item 2 of 761874Dunoon UP ChurchDunoon ArgyllScotland 
Item 3 of 761875Avondale Parish ChurchStrathaven LanarkshireScotlandRenovation
Item 4 of 761875Home for Destitute Children  GlasgowScotland 
Item 5 of 761875Innellan School  ArgyllScotland 
Item 6 of 761875Strone SchoolStrone ArgyllScotland 
Item 7 of 761875Toward SchoolToward ArgyllScotland 
Item 8 of 761876Dunoon Free ChurchDunoon ArgyllScotland 
Item 9 of 761876Quarrier's HomesBridge of Weir RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 10 of 761876Western Baths  GlasgowScotlandPrincipally by Clarke & Bell
Item 11 of 76c. 1876Cadzow Parish Church, HamiltonHamilton LanarkshireScotland 
Item 12 of 761877St Enoch's Free ChurchPartick GlasgowScotlandUnsuccessful competition design
Item 13 of 761878English Free ChurchStornowayLewisRoss and CromartyScotland 
Item 14 of 761880Dunoon Infants' SchoolDunoon ArgyllScotland 
Item 15 of 761880Two tenements, Maxwell RoadPollokshields GlasgowScotland 
Item 16 of 761881Quarrier's HomesBridge of Weir RenfrewshireScotlandBethesda (45 Quarrier's Village)
Item 17 of 761884Quarrier's HomesBridge of Weir RenfrewshireScotlandOvertoun (14 Quarrier's Village)
Item 18 of 761886Broughton Parish ChurchCalzeat PeeblesshireScotlandRebuilding
Item 19 of 761886Quarrier's HomesBridge of Weir RenfrewshireScotlandAlan Dick Home
Item 20 of 761887Crown Point Foundry  GlasgowScotlandMoulding shops
Item 21 of 761888Quarrier's Homes, Mount Zion ChurchBridge of Weir RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 22 of 761888Seafield House and lodgeAyr AyrshireScotlandRebuilding - and construction of lodge
Item 23 of 761889Jubilee FountainJedburgh RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 24 of 761890Titwood Bowling ClubTitwood GlasgowScotland 
Item 25 of 761891Paisley Board SchoolPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandThird premiated competition design (15 premium)
Item 26 of 761891Premises in New City RoadConcaddens GlasgowScotland 
Item 27 of 761892Carntyne Free Church and hallCarntyne GlasgowScotland 
Item 28 of 761892Dalmarnock SchoolDalmarnock GlasgowScotland 
Item 29 of 761892Free ChurchBroughton PeeblesshireScotlandChurch 'Gothicised'
Item 30 of 76June 1892Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College  GlasgowScotlandProduced design, on Committee's request - unexecuted
Item 31 of 761893Dunoon Town HallDunoon ArgyllScotlandAdditions, alterations, new gallery and decoration
Item 32 of 761893Quarrier's HomesBridge of Weir RenfrewshireScotlandSabbath School Home
Item 33 of 761894Baptist Mission HallPartick GlasgowScotland 
Item 34 of 761894Lanarkshire Regiment Drill Hall  GlasgowScotland 
Item 35 of 761894MacSorley's Bar Building  GlasgowScotlandDesigned by George Bell II
Item 36 of 761894Quarrier's Homes, Consumptive HospitalBridge of Weir RenfrewshireScotlandFirst block
Item 37 of 76After 1894Higher Grade Secondary SchoolDuns BerwickshireScotland 
Item 38 of 761895Christian Institute  GlasgowScotlandYMCA club at west end and Bible Training College at east end added
Item 39 of 761895Renfrew and Clydebank Joint Infectious Diseases HospitalYorkhill GlasgowScotland 
Item 40 of 761895School, WishawWishaw LanarkshireScotland 
Item 41 of 76After 1895Weekly Mail Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 42 of 761896Dunoon Pier and OfficesDunoon ArgyllScotlandRebuilding - in collaboration with W R Copland and C J M Mackintosh
Item 43 of 761896Sir Charles Cameron Memorial FountainWoodside GlasgowScotland 
Item 44 of 761897AshgroveMaybole AyrshireScotlandBryden was responsible for additions after it became a children's home that year.
Item 45 of 761897Belmont HouseSpringburn GlasgowScotlandLarge additions
Item 46 of 761897ChapelgillBroughton PeeblesshireScotland 
Item 47 of 761897Clackmannan County HospitalAlloa ClackmannanshireScotland 
Item 48 of 761897Lennox Joint Infectious Diseases HospitalMilton of Campsie StirlingshireScotland 
Item 49 of 761897Quarrier's HomesBridge of Weir RenfrewshireScotlandGlenfarg (34 Quarrier's Village)
Item 50 of 761898Quarrier's Homes, Consumptive HospitalBridge of Weir RenfrewshireScotlandSecond block
Item 51 of 761898Quarrier's Homes, Mount Zion ChurchBridge of Weir RenfrewshireScotlandAdditions, including lengthening
Item 52 of 76After 1898County Insurance Buildings  GlasgowScotland 
Item 53 of 76After 1898General Life Assurance Company Buildings  GlasgowScotland 
Item 54 of 76After 1898Southbar HouseBishopton RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 55 of 76After 1898Young Men's Christian Association Club  GlasgowScotland 
Item 56 of 76Before 1898Dunoon and Cowal District Combination HospitalDunoon ArgyllScotlandIn collaboration with C J M Mackintosh, Burgh Engineer and Master of Works
Item 57 of 761898 or 1901Drumchapel HospitalDrumchapel GlasgowScotlandOriginal building
Item 58 of 761899Barony Parochial AsylumLenzie LanarkshireScotlandVilla for children
Item 59 of 761899Ocean Accident Insurance Company Buildings  GlasgowScotland 
Item 60 of 76Late 1800sArdbuchoBroughton PeeblesshireScotland 
Item 61 of 761900Napiershall Street School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 62 of 761900Tollcross UF Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 63 of 761901Belmont HouseSpringburn GlasgowScotlandFurther additions
Item 64 of 761901Quarrier's HomesBridge of Weir RenfrewshireScotlandElise Hospital
Item 65 of 761902Parkhead Forge, office blocks for William Beardmore & CompanyParkhead GlasgowScotlandMain office block
Item 66 of 761902Timber sheds and sawmills for Gilmour & Aitken  GlasgowScotlandExtension
Item 67 of 761903Biggart Memorial Home for Cripple ChildrenPrestwick AyrshireScotland 
Item 68 of 761903Chapelacre HouseHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandAlterations and extension
Item 69 of 761903Elgin Place Mission Halls  GlasgowScotlandWon competition to secure job
Item 70 of 761903Finnich Malise  StirlingshireScotlandReconstruction?
Item 71 of 761903Glasgow Maternity Hospital  GlasgowScotlandDesigned and commenced; construction completed by his son A F S Bryden and Andrew Robertson after his death
Item 72 of 761904Caledonia Foundry, Office block for Kerr & Co  GlasgowScotland 
Item 73 of 761905Quarrier's Homes, Epileptic ColonyBridge of Weir RenfrewshireScotlandHome No 1
Item 74 of 76c. 1905Garrioch School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 75 of 761906Isle of Man Industrial Home for Orphan and Destitute ChildrenGlencrutchery DouglasIsle of Man(Died in 1906) Bryden had prepared sketch plans before his death
Item 76 of 76c. 1906Duntocher Joint Infectious Diseases HospitalDuntocher DunbartonshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2Glasgow Contemporaries1901Glasgow Contemporaries at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century   
Item 2 of 2Walker, Frank Arneil1986South Clyde Estuary: An Illustrated Architectural Guide to Inverclyde and Renfrew  p88

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 5Builder21 April 1906  Obituary
Item 2 of 5Builders Journal25 April 1906  Obituary
Item 3 of 5Glasgow Herald16 April 1906  Obituary
Item 4 of 5RIBA Journal28 April 1906v13London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp340 Obituary
Item 5 of 5The Bailie8 October 1890   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v5 p112, microfiche 92/E4 - no job list


© All rights reserved.  Courtesy of RCAHMS. Licensor www.rcahms.gov.uk (Glasgow Contemporaries at the Dawn of the XXth Century) 

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of RCAHMS. Licensor www.rcahms.gov.uk (Glasgow Contemporaries at the Dawn of the XXth Century)