Basic Biographical Details

Name: Walter Crum Watson
Designation: Architect
Born: 1870
Died: 6 February 1934
Bio Notes: Walter Crum Watson was born in 1870, the son of Rev Charles Watson DD and his second wife Mary Crum, presumably of the Thornliebank family of that name. His father was minister of St John's Free Church at Largs: the family lived not in the manse but in the substantial mansion of Northfield and Lord Kelvin was not only a near neighbour but his father and mother's brother-in-law through his marriage to Mary Crum's sister. Walter was educated at Harrow from 1884 to 1889 and at New College Oxford where he graduated BA in 1893. In the latter year he commenced a three-year apprenticeship to Alfred Waterhouse, who was then working in partnership with his son Paul, and remained with him for a further year as assistant, working mainly on Prudential branches. In 1897 he moved to the office of Sir Aston Webb where he remained until 1899 working on the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth. Much of 1899 and 1900 was spent in travel, two periods of six months and three months in Italy and shorter periods in France, Spain and Portugal.

In 1900 Watson commenced practice in Edinburgh, for a time sharing an office with George Mackie Watson at 50 Queen Street. He continued to travel, writing articles for the RIBA Journal on Portuguese architecture and on particular churches in Galicia, Castil and Leon, and publishing a book, 'Portuguese Architecture', in 1908. His practice was never large but his clients tended to be well-off and probably came to him through family or school connections.

Watson's father died in 1908 and his mother soon afterwards, Northfield being sold in 1909. In 1911 Watson built a house of the same name at Balerno where he had four living-in servants, a chauffeur and a head gardener.

Watson was admitted LRIBA in the mass intake of 20 July 1911, proposed by James Bow Dunn and the Edinburgh Architectural Association. He served in the Red Cross during the First World War, and although he did not need to do so financially he resumed practice in 1919, specialising in country house alterations and formal gardens. He closed his practice in 1928 at the age of fifty-eight and died unmarried at Northfield on 6 February 1934.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 2Northfield/550, Lanark Road West, Balerno, Midlothian, ScotlandPrivate1911After 1930 
Item 2 of 250, Queen Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1911c. 1914 

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 3Alfred Waterhouse & Son18931896Apprentice 
Item 2 of 3Alfred Waterhouse & Son18961897Assistant 
Item 3 of 3Aston Webb18971899Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 1James Bow Dunn20 July 1911for Licentiateship - as president of the Edinburgh Architectural Association

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 121895(?)Prudential Assurance Building  DundeeScotlandProbably involved, as apprentice/assistant to Alfred Waterhouse
Item 2 of 121895(?)Prudential Assurance Company Buildings  EdinburghScotlandProbably involved, as apprentice/assistant to Alfred Waterhouse
Item 3 of 121897South Kensington MuseumSouth Kensington LondonEnglandAs assistant to Sir Aston Webb
Item 4 of 121899Royal Naval CollegeDartmouth DevonEnglandAs assistant to Sir Aston Webb
Item 5 of 12After 1900All Saints ChurchModdershall StaffordshireEngland 
Item 6 of 12After 1900BelleviewHaddington East LothianScotlandAlterations
Item 7 of 12After 1900CarfinCarluke LanarkshireScotlandAlterations
Item 8 of 12After 1900ElmbankLargs AyrshireScotlandAlterations
Item 9 of 12After 1900GreystaneMurrayfield EdinburghScotland 
Item 10 of 12After 1900IdlerocksStow StaffordshireEnglandAlterations
Item 11 of 12c. 1900Stonebyres HouseLesmahagow LanarkshireScotlandAlterations
Item 12 of 121911NorthfieldBalerno MidlothianScotland 


Bibliographic References

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

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Information also from Dr Kenneth D Stephen, the owner of Northfield in 1998
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers L v21 no1661