Birds, Samuel Buttrey

BIRDS, Samuel Buttrey (1871-1960) was born in Morley, Yorkshire on 23 April 1871 and articled from 1888 to 1893 with T.A. Buttrey, an architect with offices in Leeds and Morley. Birds travelled to the United States in 1893 to visit the World's Fair in Chicago and worked in Philadelphia for Cope & Stewardson and for John T. Windrim in 1893-94. Returning to England he became a partner with his former employer T.A. Buttrey and worked with him in Leeds and Morley from 1896 until November 1907 when he emigrated to Canada. After working in Toronto for one year Birds moved to Vancouver in September 1908 and opened an office under his own name. He won the competition for Chalmers Church, Vancouver in 1911 and was successful enough to open a branch office in Victoria in 1912, offering his talents as a designer and putting to good use his specialised knowledge of engineering and reinforced concrete construction. He worked under his own name and collaborated on occasion with E.E. Blackmore, then after WW1 became a partner with the Twizell Brothers in August 1919 (see list of works under Twizell, Birds & Twizell). He remained in Vancouver until 1923 when this partnership was dissolved and he left for Los Angeles, Calif. One of his major commissions there was the huge entertainment venue called The El Patio Ballroom (1925), designed in the Spanish style with a Moorish influences in the decoration. Costing $150,000, it was one of the largest indoor ballrooms in the United States at the time of its completion, with a dance floor accommodating 3,500 patrons.

Birds died in Los Angeles on 23 January 1960 (death notice Los Angeles Times, 24 Jan. 1960, 32; biog. in Who's Who in Western Canada, 1911, 110; biog. & port. in E.O.S. Scholefield, British Columbia: From the Earliest Times to the Present, 1914, iii, 553-5; R.I.B.A., Directory of British Architects 1834-1914, 2001, i, 186; D. Luxton, Building the West: The Early Architects of British Columbia, 2003, 318-19, 492-3; inf. Architectural Inst. of British Columbia, Vancouver)

(works in England)

MORLEY, YORKSHIRE, The Working Men's Club & Institute, Fountain Street at Corporation Street, 1897; still standing 2017 (Builder's Journal & Architectural Record [London], v, 7 April 1897, 132, contracts awarded)

VANCOUVER

FAIRVIEW METHODIST CHURCH, West Sixth Avenue at Fir Street, 1909; demol. (Province [Vancouver], 3 July 1909, 7, illus. & descrip.)
PENDER STREET, apartment house for Albert E. Carter, 1909 (C.R., xxiii, 29 Sept. 1909, 23)
CHALMERS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, Hemlock Street at West 12th Avenue, 1911-12 (C.R., xxv, 1 March 1911, 26-7, t.c.; Vancouver Daily World, 18 Feb. 1911, 25, illus. & descrip.; Province [Vancouver], 18 Feb. 1911, 19, descrip.; 10 Aug. 1912, 22, illus. & descrip.; The Sun [Vancouver], 12 Aug. 1912, 10, illus. & descrip.; dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
(with E.E. Blackmore) HARRIS STREET, rooming house and store for Leon Way & Co., 1911 (C.R., xxv, 12 July 1911, 64)
(with E.E. Blackmore) HAMPTON BROS. BAKERY, West 9th Avenue, 1911; demol. (dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
PARK DRIVE, at Venables Street, store for J.A. Malkin, 1911 (C.R., xxv, 9 Aug. 1911, 66, t.c.)
PYBUS BLOCK, Richards Street, store and apartments for Capt. Henry Pybus, 1911 (C.R., xxv, 6 Sept. 1911, 66)
GRANVILLE STREET, near Dunsmuir Street, office and warehouse block for Richard, Akroyd & Co., 1912 (Vancouver Daily World, 15 June 1912, 19; Province [Vancouver], 14 Sept. 1912, 30, descrip.)
HOTEL RECO, Gore Street East, 1912 (H. Kalman, Exploring Vancouver, 1978, 76, illus.)
(with Twizell & Twizell) RICHARD McBRIDE PUBLIC SCHOOL, 29th Avenue East at Henry Street, 1912 (dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)
CHINESE CLUB, Carrall Street, 1914 (dwgs. at Vancouver City Archives)

ELSEWHERE

LADYSMITH, B.C., general hospital, 1910 (C.R., xxiv, 1 June 1910, 25)
KAMLOOPS, B.C., Royal Inland Hospital, 1911; demol. (C.R., xxv, 12 April 1911, 53, t.c.)
(with E.E. Blackmore) MERRITT, B.C., general hospital, 1911 (C.R., xxv, 14 June 1911, 59)
MERRITT, B.C., Town Hall, Garcia Street at Granite Avenue, 1912 (Nicola Valley News [Merritt], 29 March 1912, 1; C.R., xxvi, 17 April 1912, 60)
NELSON, B.C., Kootenay Lake General Hospital, Willow Street, 1912 (The Sun [Vancouver], 12 April 1912, 4, descrip.)
NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C., Royal Columbian Hospital, East Columbia Street, administration building and North Wing, 1911-14; demol. 1975 (The Sun [Vancouver], 8 July 1912, 14, illus. & descrip.)
VICTORIA, B.C., residence for Lim Bang, Queen's Avenue, 1912; demol. c. 1975 (Victoria Heritage Foundation, This Old House: Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods, Vol. 3, 2021, 105, illus.)
LADYSMITH, B.C., public school, 1912 (Nanaimo Free Press, 25 Oct. 1912, 3, t.c.)
LOS ANGELES, CALIF., The El Patio Ballroom, Vermont Avenue at Third Street, for the McFadden Amusement Co., 1925, and later called The Palomar Ballroom; burned October 1939 (Los Angeles Times, 3 May 1925, Section Five, 7, descrip.; 19 June 1925, Section Two, p. 1, descrip.; 27 Sept. 1925, Section Five, 10, descrip.,)

COMPETITIONS

BRADFORD, ENGL., Cartwright Memorial Hall, Lister Park, 1899. S.B. Birds and T.A. Buttrey were among 115 entrants in this major architectural competition. A description of their entry was published in The Builder [London], lxxvi, 20 May 1899, 489. The firm of Simpson & Allen of London were later declared the winners.
WINNIPEG, MAN., City Hall, 1913. Birds was one of 39 architects from across Canada who submitted plans in this national competition, but he was not among the five finalists (City of Winnipeg Archives, Council Communications, 1913, Box A169, Item 9741, list of entrants). The winners were Clemesha & Portnall of Regina, but their scheme was never built.