Basic Biographical Details

Name: Norval Rowallan Paxton
Designation: Architect
Born: 2 June 1895
Bio Notes: Norval Rowallan Paxton was born on 2 June 1895 and was articled to William Daniel McLennan of Paisley on 1 June 1909, attending classes at Paisley Technical College. He studied at Glasgow School of Architecture in 1913-14 and on completion of his apprenticeship on 6 March 1914 he entered the office of Thomson & Menzies as draughtsman, moving to that of Watson & Salmond on 20 September 1914. He enlisted in the armed forces on 1 January 1916 and served with the Scottish Rifles in France, Egypt and Germany during the First World War. He was mantioned in Dispatches and reached the rank of Captain and Adjutant.

After his demobilisation, on 1 June 1919, he returned to the same office, by then Watson, Salmond & Gray, for nine months before moving to that of Sandy & Norris of Stafford, Manchester & Birmingham as chief draughtsman on 20 March 1920. His decision to move south seems to have been influenced by his health which had been damaged when on active service during the war. In a letter written a number of years later he describes his role in Sandy and Norris's office as 'manager and chief'. He claims to have been entirely responsible for the 'design and execution of many Churches, War Memorials, Convents and Schools, the most important being the Church of the English Martyrs at Sparkhill, Birmingham and the Church of St John, Rochdale, Lancashire'. He was offered a partnership by Sandy & Norris but was unable to accept because of poor health. A year later in 1921, he joined G F Bowman & Son of Leeds where he met fellow Scot, Henry Erskine Hill, also an assistant there.

He passed the qualifying exam in December/January 1922-23, and was admitted ARIBA in mid-1923, his proposers being John Watson, David Salmond and Sydney Decimus Kitson. Watson's supporting statement describes him as a 'careful and conscientious assistant' and, since the war, 'a hard worker in spite of the unsettling influence of war service'.

It is not yet clear exactly when he set up in practice on his own account in Leeds. His practice was mainly commercial and domestic, though he extecuted 'several nursing homes, halls and memorials'. He had a particular interest in the Presbyterian Church in England scheme of extension. In about 1928 he formed a partnership with Henry Erskine Hill, though it is not yet clear how long this lasted. At that time he was 'hoping to further the interests of Erskine and myself with the execution of a church at Goole in the near future'.

Paxton was the architect of cottages on the Hazelwood (or Hazlewood) Estate, Dumbreck developed by the builder George Hamilton from c. 1914 to 1923, the plans of which were based on earlier designs by Whyte & Galloway.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 43, Greek Street, Leeds, Yorkshire, EnglandBusiness1923 *  
Item 2 of 412, Spring Road, Headingley, Leeds, Yorkshire, EnglandPrivate1923 *  
Item 3 of 4Dunlop Cottage/70, Main Street, Fenwick, Ayrshire, Saudi ArabiaPrivate1950s  
Item 4 of 4Knaresborough Road, Harrogate, Yorkshire, EnglandPrivate1950s  

* 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 9William Daniel McLennan1 June 19096 March 1914Apprentice 
Item 2 of 9Thomson & Menzies6 March 191420 September 1914Draughtsman 
Item 3 of 9Watson & Salmond20 September 1914Late 1914Draughtsman 
Item 4 of 9Watson, Salmond & GrayLate 19141 January 1916Draughtsman 
Item 5 of 9Watson, Salmond & Gray1 June 191920 March 1920Draughtsman 
Item 6 of 9Ernest Bower Norris19201921Chief Draughtsman 
Item 7 of 9Sandy & Norris20 March 192020 March 1921Chief Draughtsman 
Item 8 of 9G F Bowman & Son20 March 1921 Chief Draughtsman 
Item 9 of 9Paxton & Hillc. 1928 Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Sydney Decimus KitsonMid 1923for Associateship
Item 2 of 3David SalmondMid 1923for Associateship
Item 3 of 3John WatsonMid 1923for 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 1c. 1914Hazelwood Estate, cottagesDumbreck GlasgowScotland 


Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 4Courtesy of Rob CloseInformation via 'Contact Us' on website Sent October 2011
Item 2 of 4Courtesy of Stuart Donald, historian and researcher, Scottish Episcopal ChurchInformation via website Sent April and May 2008
Item 3 of 4Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Additional research by Iain Paterson
Item 4 of 4RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no3684 (microfilm reel 27)