Practicing as an architect in Glasgow from 1877, he trained under
and later formed partnerships
and Thomas M. Lunan (as Clifford & Lunan).
He taught architecture at GSA
, and was the Pollokshields Burgh Architect.
He designed Pollokshields Burgh Hall, 72 Glencairn Drive (1888-90),
Perth Town Hall (1915) and extensions to the Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow.
A competitor in the competition for Edinburgh's Usher Halls, he was the
only Scottish architect to receive a premium.
Clifford was also architect to Campbeltown (Burgh) School Board and recieved commissions for a variety of buildings in the town, including St Kiaran's Episcopal Church, Parsonage and Gates (1885-8); the Parish Church Mission Hall, Lochend (1888); the restoration of the former Lowland Kirk (1904); tenements in Main Street (1907) and the Lochead Distillery (1899).
He is buried in Killkerran Cemetry.