Basic Biographical Details

Name: Blackadder & Allan
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1903
Ended: 1908
Bio Notes: Robert Blackadder was born in 1833 at Ninewells Mains, Berwickshire, the son of Robert Blackadder, tenant farmer, who died in 1840. Around 1847 he was articled to his uncle William Blackadder, factor and civil engineer at Glamis Castle. Like his uncle Robert was primarily a civil engineer engaged principally on local railway work, road bridges and farm steadings. In the later 1850s and 1860s they were in partnership at Glamis as W & R Blackadder.

On the death of his uncle Robert closed the Glamis practice and entered the office of Lindsay Howe & Co., WS, presumably attending to the factorial aspects of that firm. There he met Thomas Thornton, later Sir Thomas, and Dundee's Town Clerk. In 1866 or 1867, Robert re-opened his Angus practice at 46 Reform Street, Dundee again primarily as a civil engineer, specialising particularly in legal and parliamentary cases. The business flourished, moving to 29 Bank Street in 1876 and then back to Reform Street, this time to no 41 where it remained for the remainder of its existence. Blackadder's increasing prosperity can be charted by his frequent changes of address to ever-larger houses: from Craigie Terrace where he was neighbour of the harbour engineer Charles Ower Senior, to 20 Windsor Street in 1876, 7 Duntrune Terrace, West Ferry in 1880, Bellvue, West Ferry in 1890 and finally to Edrom in Albany Road in 1901. He took little part in public life but he was secretary of St Mary Magdalene's Epsicopal Church, leading to several Episcopal church commissions.

In 1900 Robert Blackadder's practice became more orientated towards architecture. This development appears to have been related to his sons David and Henry. In 1899 Henry was articled to Thomas Martin Cappon, attending Patrick H Thoms's evening classes in architecture at Dundee Technical Institute, and in 1900 David Lindsay Allan joined the practice as an architectural draughtsman. Born in 1874, Allan had been educated at Dundee High School and articled to John Murray Robertson 1890-94, remaining as assistant and studying at Dundee Technical Institute. In 1897 he had obtained a place in the office of Niven & Wigglesworth in London which had enabled him to study at the Royal Academy Schools from 1898. After three years with Blackadder, Allan was taken into partnership in 1903, but the practice could not be said to have flourished architecturally despite its influential connections. Henry Blackadder never seems to have joined the practice, moving from Cappon's office to the London office of Ernest George & Yeates, from which he passed the qualifying exam in 1906 and was admitted ARIBA on 3 December his proposers being George, Yeates and Cappon.

On Robert Blackadder's retirement in 1908 Allan merged the practice with Leslie Ower's as Ower & Allan, at Ower's 5 Whitehall Street office, probably to preserve the civil engineering side of the business, Ower being civil engineer as well as architect. Robert Blackadder's son David then moved his practice to 32 Castle Street.

Robert Blackadder died on 20 March 1913, leaving a widow, three further sons and two daughters. Allan was admitted LRIBA on 24 June 1912 but because of his war service the practice did not survive Leslie Ower's retirement early in 1916, being sold to Thoms & Wilkie. In Frank Thomson's words, Allan 'simply gave up' on his return. By 1926 he had recommenced practice from The Shieling, Fryston Avenue, East Croydon, which was home as well as office.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 141, Reform Street, Dundee, ScotlandBusiness1876  

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2Robert Blackadder19031908Partner 
Item 2 of 2David Lindsay Allan19031908Partner 

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice 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 91903Gray Lodge Settlement  DundeeScotland 
Item 2 of 91903St Mary Magdalene's Episcopal ChurchHawkhill DundeeScotlandUnexecuted proposals for new church
Item 3 of 9After 1903Corn Exchange  DundeeScotlandAlterations
Item 4 of 9After 1903Forbes CourtWest Ferry DundeeScotlandWest wing
Item 5 of 9After 1903House(s)Broughty Ferry DundeeScotland 
Item 6 of 9After 1903House(s)Invergowrie Perthshire/AngusScotland 
Item 7 of 9After 1903House(s)Auchtermuchty FifeScotland 
Item 8 of 9After 1903Tenement(s)  DundeeScotland 
Item 9 of 9After 1903Tenement(s)Lochee DundeeScotland 

References

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Information from Margaret Lye and Frank Thomson, a colleague of Allan at Niven & Wigglesworth's.