Basic Biographical Details

Name: Leslie Ower & Allan
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1908
Ended: 1916
Bio Notes: Leslie Ower was born in 1851 (christened on 28 April), educated at Dundee High School and articled to his father in September 1866. In 1872 he moved to Glasgow as assistant to the railway engineer James Fairie Blair for eighteen months which enabled him to study engineering at the Andersonian University. He returned to join his father as assistant early in 1874, the practice becoming Charles & Leslie Ower in May that year, a date which probably marked their father's retirement. Leslie was admitted FRIBA on 16 June 1890, his proposers being William Mackison, John Macvicar Anderson, London, and John Holden, Manchester, the last of these also being an engineer-architect. The Ower partnership was successful enough from the outset both as architects and engineers and it became an important teaching office, both brothers being kindly employers. Leslie was slim and, at least in later years, clean-shaven with an equable temperament. Charles was good with clients but difficult and somewhat excitable with a tendency to over-react within the office, and tensions between the brothers were evident from the beginning; by the 1890s, in the words of those who worked there, 'they couldn't pull together at all', and the partnership was dissolved in 1898. Although both brothers retained a significant domestic practice the institutional and commercial clientele was largely lost following the break-up. After the dissolution of the partnership Leslie's blander style became more apparent, although a few works showed the more lively hand of Charles Geddes Soutar, who returned to his office in 1900 and remained with him until 1902 after a spell with John Murray Robertson.

In 1908 Ower merged his practice with that of David Lindsay Allan, the sole remaining partner of Blackadder & Allan following the retirement of Robert Blackadder in that year: there was a long-standing relationship between the Owers and the Blackadders as they had been neighbours in Craigie Terrace from 1866 to 1877. Allan had been born in 1874 and educated at Dundee High School. He had been apprenticed to John Murray Robertson from 1890 to 1894, 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 enabled him to study at the RA Schools from 1898. He had then returned to Dundee, becoming an assistant to Robert Blackadder. He had joined the Dundee Institute of Architects in 1902 and after three years with Blackadder had been taken into partnership in 1903, but the practice could not be said to have flourished architecturally despite its influential connections.

The combined practice of Leslie Ower & Allan was located in Ower's office at 5 Whitehall Street, probably to retain the civil engineering side of the Blackadder practice, Ower being civil engineer as well as architect. It now presented a considerably more up-to-date image.

Allan was admitted LRIBA on 24 June 1912 and his nomination papers state that prior to that time he had undertaken several study tours, spending two periods of two weeks in Normandy and Brittany and three weeks in Italy.

Late in 1912 or early in 1913 Leslie Ower was 'laid aside' by a serious illness but recovered. With business at a very low ebb because of the war, Ower retired at the beginning of 1916 while Allan was on war service, the practice being taken over by Thoms & Wilkie, whereupon, in Frank Thomson's words, Allan 'simply gave up'. Late in February of the same year, Ower became ill again and he died on 1 April 1916 at Belfield, Rosemount, Blairgowrie, a substantial mansion he had built for himself some years earlier, leaving a widow who was a daughter of the Dundee Corn Exchange Merchant George Hill. His moveable estate amounted to the then very substantial sum of 16,801 14s 5d. By 1926 Allan was in 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 15, Whitehall Street, Dundee, ScotlandBusiness1908After 1914 

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 4Leslie Ower19081916Partner 
Item 2 of 4David Lindsay Allan1908c. 1916Partner 
Item 3 of 4Arthur George Wright OgilvieJuly 19121916Apprentice 
Item 4 of 4Frank PrideJuly 19121916Apprentice 

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 61909Drill Hall  DundeeScotlandReconstruction
Item 2 of 61909Ladywell Calender Works  DundeeScotlandFurther alterations?
Item 3 of 61910CottageInvergowrie Perthshire/AngusScotland 
Item 4 of 6c. 1910BelfieldBlairgowrie PerthshireScotland 
Item 5 of 61911Cinema, Shepherd's Loan  DundeeScotland 
Item 6 of 61913Kirriemuir Town Hall and libraryKirriemuir AngusScotlandLibrary addition to west


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 1Post Office Directories