William Thomas Oldrieve

(W.T. Oldrieve)

1853 - 1922

Public architect responsible for post offices around Scotland. Born into a Devon family and educated in Mansfield (Nottinghamshire), Oldrieve took an engineering apprenticeship but came to Edinburgh with the Royal Engineers. He was stationed at Edinburgh Castle and went on to study design at the University of Edinburgh. He travelled around Europe in the mid-1880s, taking a particular interest in fine post office buildings in Hamburg and Paris. He was appointed Architect for Provincial Post Offices in England & Wales, and became the government's Principal Architect for Scotland in 1904. He was responsible for post office buildings in Glasgow (1892), Falkirk (1893), Musselburgh (1903), Aberdeen (1904), Banff (1906), North Berwick (1906), Crieff (1906), Stornoway (1907), Montrose (1907), Kilmarnock (1907), Broughty Ferry (1907), Ayr (1907), Oban (1908), Haddington (1908), Lerwick (1908), Kelso (1910), Brechin (1910), Wick (1912), Bathgate (1913), together with an extension to the General Post Office in Edinburgh (1909), the Glasgow General Post Office (1911) and the Head Post Office in Paisley (1912), many in a Classical Edwardian style. He also designed telephone exchanges in Edinburgh (1904), Glasgow (1910) and Helensburgh (1911). Oldrieve was responsible for remodelling both the Royal Scottish Academy building and the adjacent National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh (1909-12) as part of a government scheme to create an extended National Gallery. He also remodelled the entrance lobby and hallways of the Inner House of the Scottish Law Courts (1908), extended the Royal Museum in Chambers Street (1914) and worked in architectural conservation including at Dunfermline Abbey, Glasgow Cathedral, Iona Abbey, Holyrood Palace and Holyrood Abbey, and provided St. Andrews Cathedral with its museum.

Oldrieve served as Secretary for the Ministry of Munitions during the First World War. He belonged to a devout family of Baptists and he served as an elder of Morningside Baptist Church, President of the Baptist Union and a Director of the National Bible Society for Scotland. He died in the Merchiston district of Edinburgh and lies buried in Morningside Cemetery.

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