Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
Stark & Rowntree
(fl. 1877-99)
Malcolm Stark (b. 1854-c. 1899) set up his own practice in 1877, at 28 Bath Street, after training with William Tait, then formed a partnership with Fred Rowntree (1860-1927) in 1890, at 167 St. Vincent Street, as Stark & Rowntree.

Fred Rowntree trained in Scarborough under C A Bury, then worked in London for Edward Burgess. Before moving to Glasgow to take up his partnership with Stark, he practiced briefly in Scarborough.

They spent much of their careers competing in prestigious architectural competitions; Stark had participated in the City Chambers competitions of 1880/81, with designs which, although unsuccessful, drew favourable comments from the press.

In 1884, Stark won the competition for Blochairn Free Church, Garngad Road, and was one of eight finalists in the competition for the Admiralty and War Office in London. He also failed to win the contract for Edinburgh's Municipal Buildings, 1887.

Rowntree, according to 'The Builder', was more than usually successful in competitions.

As Stark & Rowntree, they entered the lists for Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery competition of 1892, and the competitions for the London County Council Lodging Houses, 1891; St. Pancras Municipal Buildings; Bath Pump Room, 1894; Belfast City Hall 1896; Cardiff Town Hall,1897; Bradford Cartwright Hall, 1899, and Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, 1903.

Their executed work includes, Rockvilla United Presbyterian Church (1889-90, later Possilpark Church); Leverndale Hospital, 510 Crookston Road (1890-5); additions to Gray Dunn & Co's biscuit factory, 75-115 Darnley Street (1893-7); the Baptist Church, Butterbiggins Road (1897) and Newlands South Church (now the church hall), Riverside Road (1898-9).

The firm moved to 249 West George Street in 1899. After Stark's retirement or death that year, Rowntree returned to England where he partnered his sons, Colin and Douglas W Stark, 1912, and won the competition for the West China Union University, Chengtu, Szechuan, China (1912). They also executed additions to Bootham School, York (where Rowntree had been educated), as well as designing several schools and the Scottish Temperance League Life Assurance Buildings and Newspaper House in London.

During World War I, he worked with Charles Spooner and Arthur Penty (as the Hammersmith House Club) on pre-fabricated housing and churches for post-war Belgium, employing Belgian refugees to prepare the 'knock down' units (Gray, p. 335). His last address was 11 Hammersmith Terrace, London.

Sources:

  • B [Obit, Rowntree], vol. 132, 14 January, 1927, p. 88, 28 January, p. 150;
  • BN [Stark], vol. 59, 15 August 1890, pp. 214, 234;
  • Gray [Rowntree, Spooner];
  • Williamson et al.

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