CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 2380
TitleWilliam Kelly, architect, antiquarian: papers
Extent4 boxes: 1.32 linear metres
Creator NameWilliam Kelly (1861 - 1944), architect, antiquarian
Charles Carmichael (1864 - 1890), architect
John Smith (1781 - 1852), architect
William Smith (1817 - 1891), architect
Administrative HistoryWilliam Kelly was born in Aberdeen on the 22nd December 1861, to Francis Bonnyman Kelly, a tailor, and his wife Jane Tough. After schooling at William Rattray's school, Kelly studied maths and natural philosophy at King's College (1876 - 1878). He was articled to the local firm of William and John Smith and when his period of articles was finished in 1883, he moved to London. His career in London is relatively undocumented; in 1886, he returned to Aberdeen, setting up an independent practice on Belmont Street. A year later, he entered into partnership with William Smith but this partnership was dissolved in the early 1890s and in 1893, he married Mary Carmichael, thus becoming the brother-in-law of Aberdeen architects Charles and Duncan Carmichael. Kelly won a prestigious commission to be the architect of Aberdeen Savings Bank on Union Terrace in 1896. He was elected ARSA in 1911 and was awarded the LLD by Aberdeen University in 1919, in recognition of his work at King's College Chapel. He also held the newly created post of Aberdeen Corporation Director of Housing from 1918-1923. One of his most popular architectural works was his design of the leopards on Union Bridge, known as 'Kelly's Cats'. After his retirement in 1928, he maintained a consultancy role for landed clients and pursued his lifelong antiquarian interests by assisting with the publications of his historian friend, Dr W Douglas Simpson. He died on the 10th March 1944.
See - Dr W Douglas Simpson, 'A tribute offered by the University of Aberdeen to the memory of William Kelly, LL.D, A.R.S.A' (Aberdeen University Press: 1949).

Charles Carmichael (1864 - 1890), the son of George and Mary Carmichael, was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School. Carmichael worked for both 'John Russell Mackenzie and Duncan McMillan' and 'Matthew and Mackenzie'. He is known to have toured Belgium in the spring of 1886 and Italy in 1888. During the 1880's Carmichael immigrated to Johannesburg, South Africa. In South Africa, Carmichael formed a partnership with two engineers - Charles Murray and William M Philip. In 1893 Charles Carmichael's sister Mary, was married to the Aberdeen architect William Kelly.

John Smith (1781 - 1852) was the son of an Aberdeen architect and builder called William Smith. Smith underwent training in London and returned to Aberdeen in 1804. John Smith's first major commission in Aberdeen was for Patrick Milne of Crimonmogate to build a large house on Union Street. Smith succeeded Thomas Fletcher as engineer to the King Street, Union Street and Union Terrace works. In 1860, he completed what is attributed to be the first accurate plan of Aberdeen. Smith was associated with Thomas Telford during the planned harbour improvements in 1824 and it was during this year that he was officially appointed superintendent of work for the City of Aberdeen. John Smith's son, William Smith (1817 - 1891) became partner in his father's practice is 1845.

William Smith (1817 - 1891), son of John Smith and Margaret Grant, was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School before studying at Marischal College where he gained an MA. Smith spent eighteen months in London as assistant to Thomas Leverton Donaldson. He was admitted as an associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1842. After returning to Aberdeen, he toured Italy and Greece for almost two years. On his return he became his father's senior assistant finally becoming partner in 1845. Smith's first major commission was Trinity Hall, Union Street, Aberdeen in 1846. In 1848, J & W smith were commissioned by the Prince Consort to reconstruct and enlarge Old Balmoral Castle. When John Smith died, William joined his practice with former pupil William Kelly, the practice was renamed W & J Smith & Kelly.
SourceThe Kelly family donated a series of William Kelly plans to the library in September 1951; it is possible that this collection of sketchbooks also came directly from them. Alternatively, the collection may have come into the archives via William Douglas Simpson (1896 - 1968). W.D. Simpson, historian and archaeologist, was the librarian, clerk and registrar of the General Council at the University of Aberdeen from 1926 - 1966. Simpson was a prolific collector of material relating to his many research interests in history and archaeology. It is therefore possible that W.D. Simpson was custodian for these documents, depositing them with the archives during his time as librarian. For further information on W.D. Simpson, please see the related collections section.
DescriptionThis collection comprises sketchbooks, photographs, correspondence and a single set of lecture notes. The sketchbooks cover locations including Britain and tours of Europe undertaken by the architects. The majority of the subject matter relates to architecture and includes sketches of buildings, decorative motifs, technical drawings which include measurements, architectural details such as pediments and capitals. In addition, the sketchbooks include landscapes and portraiture. William Kelly appears to have re-used a number of the sketchbooks, which originally belonged to Charles Carmichael, John Smith and William Smith. This reworking of earlier material makes attribution of certain sketchbooks unclear. The series of photographs, maintained in their original arrangement, which is presumed to be of Kelly's own organisation. The photographs appear to be Kelly's research photographs of buildings throughout the UK. The arrangement is mainly by building location; however, there is a small volume, which is arranged by type such as leadwork. The authorship of the photographs is not always clear, but the collection includes a large volume of George Washington Wilson and Co. images. The small amount of correspondence relates to Kinnairdy Castle, the main correspondent of which is Sir Thomas Innes.
Lecture notes
Access StatusOpen
Related MaterialMS 2195 William Kelly: Glenbuchat Castle notes, with letters to J.M. Bulloch, early 20th century
MS 3059 Charles Carmichael: plans and drawings, Late 19th century
MS 2393 Papers relating to Aberdeen architects: Smith, Kelly and Simpson, 1841 - 1961
MS 3759 William Douglas Simpson collection of archaeological, monumental and architectural plans, 19th century - 20th century
MS 2229, MS 2230, MS 2285, MS 2398, MS 2498, MS 2729, MS 2818, MS 2968, MS 3042 & MS 3442, Papers of William Douglas Simpson (1896-1968) historian and archaeologist, 20th century
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