Alexander Ellis Anderson

Architect

Alexander Ellis Anderson (1866–1935) was born in Dundee, son of tea dealer James Anderson and his wife, Margaret Steel. Anderson's elder brother was William James Anderson (1863–1900), architect and director of the architectural department at the Glasgow School of Art (1894–1900).

According to his application for licentiateship of the Royal Institute of British Architects, granted in 1910, Alexander Anderson undertook training as a builder, joiner and architect. Between 1883 and 1893, he trained first with builders G. Easton of North Berwick, East Lothian, and Messrs Davies of St Andrews. He was then with joiner J. A. Hunt in Hoddesdon, Herfordshire, before working in his brother's Glasgow office around 1891 and then for architect William Sugden of Leek, Staffordshire. 1

By 1893, Anderson was working in Northampton, listed in Lea & Co.'s Directory as a surveyor, living at 36 Victoria Road, a three-storey brick terraced house. 2 Twenty years later, he had business premises as 'R.I.B.A architect & surveyor' at Drury Chambers, 17 Market Square. His private address at this time was Hill Crest, Park Road (now 48 Christchurch Road), which he had designed around 1905. 3 By 1916, he appears to have moved to Derngate: an application for a three-floor bay addition to the rear of 72 Derngate was submitted under his own name very shortly after his plan for the additions and alterations at 78 Derngate. 4

Anderson was associated with W. J. Bassett-Lowke and his wife, Florence (née Jones) and their families for many years before his involved in 78 Derngate in 1916: in 1896, he designed an addition to the Crockett & Jones shoe factory in Magee Street; in 1903, he designed a warehouse in Kingswell Street for Joseph T. Lowke's engineering firm. 5 When Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke founded his firm Miniature Railways of Great Britain Ltd in December 1904, Anderson was among the major shareholders. 6

His work in Northampton includes 38 and 44–46 Christchurch Road and 1 and 2 Sandringham Road (c. 1905) both in a mixed Free Style-Arts and Crafts style; the Edwardian Baroque-Queen Anne-style Abington Avenue Congregational Church hall and school rooms (c. 1900) and Primrose Hill Congregational Chapel and school (1901–3), shops and other buildings for Northampton Cooperative Society (1900 onwards); the Barratt Shoe Factory, Kingsthorpe Road (1913); and the exaggerated Scottish Baronial-style Y.W.M.C.A. building, Castellion Street (1919). 7

Anderson married, and was the father of a daughter and a son. He was a keen golfer and an enthusiastic motorist, reputedly designing Northampton's first 'motor house' in 1901 for himself at the rear of 50 Kingsley Road. 8

Notes:

1: 'Alexander Ellis Anderson'; 'William James Anderson', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, 1840–1980, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 25 June 2013].

2: Lea & Co.'s Northampton Directory, 1893–4, p. 302.

3: Kelly's Northamptonshire Directory, 1914, pp. 188, 191; Patrick Duerden, 'An Architect's Vision of Northampton', 22 October 2005, Northampton with Vision, www.northamptonwithvision.co.uk/tour.htm [accessed 25 June 2013].

4: Northampton, Northamptonshire Record Office: County Borough of Northampton, Notice of Intended New Building and plans, F259. The submission for 78 Derngate was F250.

5: Northampton, Northamptonshire Record Office: Name Index, 'Alexander Anderson 1866–1935', compiled by Victor Hatley, July 1989.

6: Janet Bassett-Lowke, Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke, Chester: RailRomances, 1999, p. 43.

7: 'Alexander Ellis Anderson';Dictionary of Scottish Architects, 1840–1980, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 25 June 2013]; Patrick Duerden, 'An Architect's Vision of Northampton', 22 October 2005, Northampton with Vision, www.northamptonwithvision.co.uk/tour.htm [accessed 25 June 2013]; Northampton, Northamptonshire Record Office: Name Index, 'Alexander Anderson 1866–1935', compiled by Victor Hatley, July 1989.

8: Plans for 'new motor house', 29 October 1901, E140, referred to in Northampton, Northamptonshire Record Office: Name Index, 'Alexander Anderson 1866–1935', compiled by Victor Hatley, July 1989.