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Records of Houston and Dunlop, architects, Kilbirnie, North Ayrshire, Scotland

551 117

Description Records of Houston and Dunlop, architects, Kilbirnie, North Ayrshire, Scotland

Date 1919 to 1976

Collection Records of Houston and Dunlop, architects, Kilbirnie, North Ayrshire, Scotland

Catalogue Number 551 117

Category All Other

Scope and Content The Houston & Dunlop Collection consists of 7,166 drawings and 87 manuscript items, dating from 1919 to 1976. The projects featured within the Collection, almost all from the North Ayrshire and Renfrewshire area, illustrate the variety of building types tackled by the practice. Particularly dominant are projects for the Ayrshire textile industry, including work for W & J Knox Ltd. Buildings designed by the practice for the leisure and tourism industry are well represented in the Collection. These include a number of themed buildings such as the Moorings Cafe and Viking Cinema at Largs and marine iconography is something of a recurring theme throughout the Collection. A number of jobs commissioned by Kilbinie District Council, spanning the towns of Beith, Dalry and Kilbrine are represented. The practice did not contribute to the development of social housing but did provide private housing designs for local building firms in the Ayrshire and Renfrewshire area. Ecclesiastical commissions for both the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church are featured and the Collection also includes papers for unrealised projects including a competition design for the war memorial at Paisley (1920) that was ultimately won by Sir Robert Lorimer (1864-1929. The Collection only holds two small drawings from the Houston & Dunlop phase of the practice.

Archive History The Collection was catalogued and conserved as part of the Scottish Architects' Papers Preservation Project (SAPPP) between 1999 and 2004. The Collection was gifted to RCAHMS in two stages. The first donation, in 1989, comprised 457 drawings and manuscript material relating to the Moorings Cafe and Viking Cinema, Largs; and the Radio Cinema, Kilbirnie. The remainder of the Collection was deposited in 1995 as a result of the Scottish Survey of Architectural Practices. The practice stored the Collection in rolls ordered alphabetically by client and this order has been retained.

System of Arrangement The Collection is ordered alphabetically by client.

Related Material  In addition to the SAPPP Houston and Dunlop Collection RCAHMS also holds over 100 copies of photographs from a private collection showing the Moorings, the Radio Cinema and the Viking with building work in progress (Accession No. 1997/66). RCAHMS took survey photographs of the Moorings just prior to demolition and a taped interview with James B G Houston carried out by Neil Gregory in February 2002 is held in the Commission. The Hurd Rolland Collection holds a number of drawings for projects completed by James Houston in the 1930s, including the George Bingo & Social Club, Kirlbirnie (1930) and The Moorings. RIBA nomination papers are held in the RIBA Archive at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Access Conditions Access is unrestricted, except where conservation concerns exist.

Administrative History James Houston JP FRIBA (1893-1966) was born into a family of Ayrshire artists that included George Houston RA (1869-1947) and Robert Houston RSW (1891-1942), both well known for their scenes of Ayrshire and the Firth of Clyde. He began his training with the Largs-based practice of Fryers & Penman before attending the Glasgow School of Architecture. During the first half of the 1920s he worked as an assistant tutor to Professor Charles Gourlay at the College and as an architect from Glenlogan, his family home in Kilbirnie, and a number of Glasgow addresses including 8 Blythswood Square and 171 West Regent Street. In 1925 Houston set up office on the first floor of Bridgend House in his native Kilbirnie. He had two assistants: Hugh Macdonald, who was employed at the practice for 20 years, and Gavin MacClure, who was killed in the Second World War. A major client during the early decades of the practice was the Knox family, a dominant force within the Ayrshire textile industry. Around 1935 James Houston received a major project to design the Moorings Cafe, Largs (c. 1935, demolished 1989). His design featured a number of nautical motifs throughout the building including a doorway cut back like a ship’s prow. Following this success, Houston was commissioned by the Bridgend Picture Company to demolish Bridgend House and redevelop the site as the Radio Cinema (1938). The practice relocated to offices nearby at 2 Schoolwynd and then began a second project for the Bridgend Picture Company, The Viking Cinema, Largs (1938-9). The Viking was another essay in themed architecture, employing a Gourock firm of yacht builders, James Adam & Son, to build a replica of the prow of the Viking King Haakon’s longship for the front of the building. After the Second World War the practice designed several large industrial buildings, chiefly for the textile industry of Ayrshire and Renfrewshire. Houston remained the sole partner until c. 1956 when his son, James B G Houston, also a graduate of Glasgow School of Architecture, joined the practice and it became known as James Houston & Son. As a student he was interested in timber construction and submitted a prize-winning entry to a timber house building competition sponsored by the British Columbia Lumber Manufacturers. Along with seven other British architects, he won a trip to British Columbia where he gained experience in the use of timber. During the late 1950s William Kelly, a retired Burgh Surveyor of Greenock, was employed in the office and around this time the practice received a handful of commissions from the Church of Scotland. When this work ebbed James Houston & Son concentrated on leisure-related commissions. They designed several swimming pools in the 1960s and a number of public houses for Scottish and Newcastle Breweries Limited in the 1970s. In 1972, the Ayrshire architect William MacDougall Dunlop was assumed into partnership, and a branch office was opened at 36 Kirkgate, Irvine. Dunlop had been previously employed at James Houston & Son and had also worked for the Irvine Development Corporation. In 1976 the practice changed its name to Houston & Dunlop and during the 1980s Peter Gurton became an associate in the practice. On 6 April 2001 Dunlop retired from the practice and a local architect James Harper, another former employee of James Houston & Son, agreed to join and form the new firm of Houston Harper, which still operates from 2 Schoolwynd, Kilbirnie [2009].

Accruals No further accruals are expected.

Accession Number 1989/7 2002/225

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/collection/1176416

Collection Hierarchy - Collection Level

Collection Level (551 117) Records of Houston and Dunlop, architects, Kilbirnie, North Ayrshire, Scotland

Preview Category Catalogue Number Title Date Level
Manuscripts MS 611/1 The Ideal Kinema, Design, Building-Equipment featuring articles on "New Scottish Kinemas" with descriptions of Radio Cinema, Kilbirnie (with photograph) and La Scala, Clydebank. 14/4/1938 Item Level
Prints and Drawings HD K/74/1 Alterations for Bryce Muir Knox. Details of filter house for water supply. c. 1924 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD K/75/1 Alterations for Major Bryce Knox. Site plans, plans sections and elevations. Details showing drainage system. 1945 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD F/49/5 Extension to office accommodation for Fleming, Reid and Company Limited. Site plans, plans, sections and elevations as existing and showing alterations and additions. 1952 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD F/49/6 Extension to office accommodation for Fleming, Reid and Company Limited. Site plans, plans, sections and elevations showing alterations and additions. 1952 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD L/10/1 Proposed housing development for Messrs Modern Buildings Limited. Site plans. Sections, elevations and details for five apartment houses. 1958 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD L/10/2 Proposed housing development for Messrs Modern Buildings Limited. Plans, sections, and elevations for three, four, and five apartment flats. 1959 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD L/11/1 Nissen Hut for Messrs Limbers Limited. Block plans. 1951 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD L/12/1 Addition to house for John Logan. Location plan, plans, sections and elevations as existing and showing kitchenette and bathroom addition. 1953 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD L/14/1 Porch for Mr Little. Sketches, location and block plans, plans, sections and elevations. c. 1960 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD K/10/1 Largs, unidentified location. Kiosk for Harry Kemp. Elevation. c. 1920 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD F/49/11 Extension to knitting factory for Fleming, Reid and Company Limited. Site plans, plans, sections, elevations and details of additions, including details of drainage. 1954 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD F/49/7 Extension to office accommodation for Fleming, Reid and Company Limited. Site plan, plans, sections and elevations as existing and showing alterations and additions, including details of heating and drainage. Details of windows. 1952 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD F/49/8 Alterations to spinning mill and offices for Fleming, Reid and Company Limited. Plans, sections, elevations and details as existing and showing alterations to form additional lavatories and canteen. 1952 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD F/49/9 Reconstruction of spinning mill for Fleming, Reid and Company Limited. Site plan, plans and sections as existing, including details of machinery layout. 1953 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD M/7/3 Additions and alterations for Major Marshall. Site plans, plans, sections and elevations as existing and showing new garage roof, dungstead, byre, grainstore, boiler house and implement shed. Details showing steelwork. c. 1948 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD H/28/1 Factory for Messrs Charles W Hall Limited. Site plans including survey details and suggested alterations to access road. Plans, sections and elevations including papers submitted to Ayr County Council. 1949 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD M/27/1 Alterations for E L Mackay. Site plans and plans as existing and showing alterations. 1967 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD M/28/1 Probably 52 Stoneyholm Road. Alterations to bungalow for David McKee. Plans, sections and elevations. c. 1925 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD M/42/1 Alterations for A M Welsh. Proposed additions and alterations for W S McLachlan. Site plans, plans, sections, and elevations. 1955 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD F/49/10 Reconstruction of spinning mill for Fleming, Reid and Company Limited. Structural plans and details. Sequence of site works. 1953 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD F/52/2 Entrance gates and stairway for Fleming, Reid and Company Limited. Insurance plan of site. Site plan, plans, sections and details as existing and showing alterations, including papers submitted to Ayr County Council. 1952 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD M/47/1 Addition to house for Duncan McPherson. Site plans, survey plans, plans, sections and elevations showing addition. Stamped and signed by Argyll County Council. c. 1934 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings HD F/52/1 Reconstruction of comb department floor for Fleming, Reid and Company Limited. Site plans, plans and sections as existing and showing alterations, including structural surveys. 1950 Batch Level

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