Windeyer, Richard Cunningham

WINDEYER, Richard Cunningham (1831-1900), an accomplished ecclesiastical and commercial architect active in Montreal and Toronto for nearly forty years. Born in Chatham, Co. Kent, England, he was educated there and may have obtained his early training in nearby London. He arrived in the United States in October 1854, staying briefly in Cleveland, Ohio, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia before moving to New York where he worked in the office of Jonathan B. Snook in 1858-60. In early 1860 he formed a partnership with Evan Griffiths Jr., and the firm of Griffiths & Windeyer worked from an office on Wall Street in Manhattan (D.S. Francis, Architects in Practice New York City 1840-1900, 1980, 36).

He moved to Montreal in 1862 and over the next 40 years worked alone or in a succession of partnerships including:
Windeyer & Savage, Montreal, 1863-65
R.C. Windeyer, Montreal, 1865-68
Windeyer & Malsburg, Toronto, Oct. 1871-May 1872
R.C. Windeyer, Toronto, May 1872-June 1874
Windeyer & Savage, Toronto, July 1873-Jan. 1875
Windeyer & Savage, Hamilton, July 1873-Jan. 1875
R.C. Windeyer, Toronto, 1875-1887
Windeyer & Falloon, Toronto, June-Sept. 1887
R.C. Windeyer, Toronto, Sept. 1887-1900

In Montreal he formed a partnership in 1863 with Joseph Savage, a civil engineer, and collaborated with him briefly before commencing practice under his own name. His most significant work there was the five storey Wilson Block, McGill Street (1868), a sophisticated High Victorian essay in stone which rivalled the work of George Browne & Son, and Hopkins Lawford & Nelson, two of the leading architectural firms in the city in the mid-19th C. When Windeyer moved to Toronto in 1871 he was briefly in partnership with William Malsburg, a railway engineer, and then renewed his partnership with Savage who, by this time, had settled in Hamilton. It appears that Windeyer acted as resident partner in Toronto, with Savage operating the Hamilton branch of the business. Windeyer possessed a wide-ranging knowledge of ecclesiastical design, and was undoubtedly familiar with English and American innovation in church architecture. His winning scheme for All Saints Anglican Church, Toronto (1874) draws inspiration from the polychromatic brick church designs of William Butterfield in London, and is one of nearly twenty churches in southern Ontario which he carried out during his career. His most ambitious plan for the Anglican cathedral of Toronto was, however, never completed. In 1885 he envisioned a vast (and far too expensive) twin-towered proposal for St. Alban's Anglican Cathedral, Howland Avenue, but only the crypt and first floor walls of the nave were completed before the financial depression of 1890 set in. When Windeyer died in 1900 work on the church halted, and did not resume until 1912 when Ralph Adams Cram of New York City presented his proposal to complete the structure. Indeed construction work had begun in 1913, but it too was stopped with the onset of WWI, and the Cram proposal remained unfinished.

Windeyer was a founding member of the Ontario Society of Artists in 1872, and exhibited his paintings at their annual exhibitions from 1874 to 1883. He was elected a full member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1883. His pupils included Sidney R. Badgley and William C.V. Chadwick. Windeyer was an astute observer of the architectural profession, and wrote a lengthy essay on the subject entitled 'Architecture in Canada', in which he strongly criticised the process of staging architectural competitions, pointing out that ' first class piece of architecture has, in any part of the world, been put up from a competitive design' (Canadian Monthly [Toronto], iii, Nov. 1879, 482-87). He appears to have entered only two competitions during career, one for St. George's Anglican Church in Montreal (which he lost), and one for All Saints Church in Toronto (which he won).

Windeyer died in Toronto on 24 March 1900 (obit. Daily Mail & Empire [Toronto], 26 March 1900, 5; biog. The Mail [Toronto], 29 April 1872, 4; The Leader [Toronto], 1 May 1872, 1; biog. C. Blackett Robinson, History of the County of York, 1885, i, 358; M. G. Bixby, Industries of Canada: Historical & Commerical Sketches of Toronto, 1886, 106; J. Castell Hopkins, Canada: An Encylopedia of the Country, 1898-1900, iv, 361). He left a small financial estate to his two sons (OA, York County Wills, No. 13832, dated 30 March 1900). The Archives of Ontario holds a collection of correspondence, diaries and scrapbooks relating to the career and work of Windeyer (OA MS 488). This collection includes a photographic portrait of the architect taken c. 1875.


(works in Montreal)

PEEL STREET, two houses for Hugh Taylor, 1864 (Montreal Herald, 3 Dec. 1865, 2)
GREAT ST. JAMES STREET, alterations to the residence for Henry Lyman, 1865 (Montreal Herald, 19 Dec. 1865, 1, descrip.)
DORCHESTER STREET WEST, at Guy Street, residence for John Leeming, 1865 (Montreal Herald, 19 Dec. 1865, 1)
ST. DOMINIQUE STREET, residence for William C. Bowden, 1865 (Montreal Herald, 19 Dec. 1865, 1)
AQUEDUCT STREET, extensive alterations to the former residence of Judge Lafontaine, 'now owned by James Proctor Clark', 1865 (Montreal Herald, 19 Dec. 1865, 1)
STE. CATHERINE STREET WEST, at Stanley Street, residence for the architect, 1867 (Montreal Herald, 22 March 1867, 1)
ST. URBAIN STREET, school house for J.G. Falkner 'connected to the residence of Rev. E. Wood, of St. John The Evangelist Chapel', 1867 (Montreal Herald, 22 March 1867, 1, Supplement; 7 Dec. 1867, 2)
VICTORIA STREET, private residence and a Schoolhouse for Charles Nichols, 1867 (Montreal Herald, 7 Dec. 1867, 2, descrip.)
ZION CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, St. Radegonde Street at Latour Street, reconstruction after the fire, 1867 (Montreal Herald, 7 Dec. 1867, 2)
NOTRE DAME STREET, store for James Baylis, 1867 (Montreal Herald, 7 Dec. 1867, 2, descrip.)
WILLIAM STREET, foundry for Alexander Peck, 1867 (Montreal Herald, 7 Dec. 1867, 2)
JAMES BAILLIE & CO., McGill Street at St. Joseph Street, block of stores erected by Hon. Charles Wilson, 1868 (Montreal Herald, 9 Dec. 1868, 1, descrip.; Montreal, Les Magasins Les Cinemas, 1985, 326-29, illus.)
MANSFIELD STREET, near Dorchester Street West, row of three houses, 1868 (Montreal Herald, 9 Dec. 1868, 1)
ROBERT MITCHELL & CO., St. Peter Street at Craig Street and Fortification Lane, foundry erected by William McKinnon, 1868 (Montreal Herald, 9 Dec. 1868, 1)

(works in Toronto)

CUSTOM HOUSE, Front Street West at Yonge Street, 1872-73; demol. 1919 (Mail [Toronto], 4 Dec. 1872, 4, descrip.; Globe [Toronto], 5 June 1873, 4, descrip.; 13 Aug. 1874, 4, descrip.; J.R. Robertson, Landmarks of Toronto, i, 1894, 258-60, illus. & descrip.; W. Dendy, Lost Toronto, 1978, 1, illus.)
MILL STREET, new buildings and boiler house for the Consumers Gas Co. Works, 1873 (Globe [Toronto], 5 June 1873, 4)
LAKE SHORE, boathouse for the Argonaut Club, 1873 (Mail [Toronto], 11 Feb. 1873, 3, t.c.)


(works in Hamilton unless noted)

MAIN STREET EAST, residence for William P. Moore, 1874 (Spectator [Hamilton], 17 Jan. 1874, 2, t.c.)
ST. JOHN'S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, King Street East at Emerald Street, new Sunday School, 1874 (Spectator [Hamilton], 13 Feb. 1874, 2, t.c.)
JAMES STREET, between Main Street and King Street, store for Alex Harvey, 1874 (Spectator [Hamilton], 24 March 1874, 2)
GORE STREET, residence for Dr. George L. MacKelcan, 1874 (Spectator [Hamilton], 26 March 1874, 2, t.c.)
ZION TABERNACLE, Napier Street at Pearl Street North, 1874-75 (Spectator [Hamilton], 21 Feb. 1874, 2, t.c.; Canadian Methodist Magazine [Toronto], i, April 1875, descrip. and plate illus.)
TORONTO, ONT., All Saints Anglican Church, Sherbourne Street at Dundas Street East, 1874; Sunday School, 1882 (Mail [Toronto], 28 Feb. 1874, 4, descrip.; Daily Mail [Toronto], 29 March 1883, 8, descrip.; J.R. Robertson, Landmarks of Toronto, iv, 1904, 45-51, illus. & descrip.; Fiftieth Anniversary of All Saints Church, 1872-1922, 1923, illus.)


(works in Toronto)

ST. MATTHEW'S ANGLICAN CHURCH, De Grassi Street at First Avenue, 1875 (Globe [Toronto], 12 March 1875, 3, t.c.; 13 July 1875, 1, with correction to previous article in The Globe on 12 July in which the design was incorrectly credited to William G. Storm)
QUEEN CITY FIRE INSURANCE OFFICE, Church Street at Colborne Street, 1876-77; demol. (Mail [Toronto], 2 May 1877, 2, descrip.)
ST. STEPHEN'S-IN-THE-FIELD ANGLICAN CHURCH, College Street at Bellevue Avenue, additions and alterations, 1878 (Mail [Toronto], 23 Nov. 1878, 4, descrip.)
GEORGE STREET PUBLIC SCHOOL, addition, 1878 (Annual Report of the Inspector of Public Schools of the City of Toronto for 1878, 1879, 81)
BLEEKER STREET, north of Carlton Street, three houses for A. McLean Howard, 1882 (Toronto b.p. 7, 13 Jan 1882)
FIRE HALL NO. 11, Rose Avenue at Howard Street, 1884 (Globe [Toronto], 30 Aug. 1884, 12, t.c.)
BOULTON AVENUE SCHOOL, at First Avenue, 1885-86 (Toronto Morning News, 4 May 1886, 4, descrip.; Annual Report of the Inspector of Public Schools of the City of Toronto for 1885, Appendix, 3)
MORSE STREET SCHOOL, near Queen Street East, 1885-86 (Annual Report of the Inspector of Public Schools of the City of Toronto for 1885, Appendix, 3)
ST. ALBAN THE MARTYR ANGLICAN CHURCH, Howland Avenue at Barton Avenue, 1885-89; Ketchum Hall, 1897; church altered 1911 by Ralph A. Cram of Boston (Dominion Churchman, 20 May 1886, 308, illus. & descrip.; Telegram [Toronto], 4 Dec. 1886, 7, descrip.; Toronto World, 10 Nov. 1890, 1, descrip.; Monograph of the Cathedral of St. Alban the Martyr, 16-17, illus.; dwgs. at Anglican Archives, Toronto Diocese)
ST. AUGUSTINE'S ANGLICAN CHURCH, Parliament Street at Spruce Street, 1887-88 (Toronto Evening News, 1 Oct. 1887, 1, illus. & descrip.; Dominion Churchman, 18 Oct. 1888, 662, descrip.)

(works outside Toronto)

MEAFORD, ONT., Christ Church (Anglican), 1876 (Meaford Monitor, 2 June 1876, 2, descrip.; H. Appleyard, Christ Church Meaford-The First Ninety Years 1859-1949, illus.)
BELLEVILLE, ONT., Post Office & Custom House, Bridge Street at Pinnacle Street, 1882-83 (Toronto Daily Mail, 30 Aug. 1881, 6, t.c.; Canada, Sessional Papers, 1882, 'Report of the Chief Architect', Appendix 3, 22; Daily Intelligencer [Belleville], 20 Oct. 1882, 2, descrip.)
ST. CATHARINES, ONT., Post Office & Custom House, King Street at Queen Street, 1882-83; demol. 1957-58 (Toronto Daily Mail, 30 Aug. 1881, 6, t.c.; Canada, Sessional Papers, 1883, 'Report of the Chief Architect', Appendix 3, 26; E. Julian et al, St. Catharines: Our Built Heritage, 2005, 145, illus.)
OAKVILLE, ONT., St. Jude's Anglican Church, 1883 (Dominion Churchman, 12 July 1883, 444)
GALT, ONT., Trinity Anglican Church, Blair Road, new tower, porch, and extensive renovations, 1885-86 (Galt Reporter, 2 Oct. 1885, 1; Dominion Churchman, 8 April 1886, 214)
ERINDALE, ONT., St. Peter's Anglican Church, Springfield-on-Credit, Dundas Street West at Mississauga Road, 1887; tower 1910 by others (Metro Toronto Reference Library, Baldwin Room, T.A. Reed Coll. M43; inf. Paula Wubbenhorst, City of Mississauga)
UXBRIDGE, ONT., St. Paul's Anglican Church, 1887-88 (Canadian Churchman, 11 March 1909, 152, illus.)
GUELPH, ONT., St. James Anglican Church, Glasgow Street at Paisley Street, 1890-92 (Guelph Daily Mercury, 23 Oct. 1891, 1, descrip.; Canadian Churchman, 5 May 1892, 280-81, descrip.)
ORANGEVILLE, ONT., new tower for St. Mark's Anglican Church, 1892 (Canadian Churchman, 25 Aug. 1892, 501)


MONTREAL, QUE., St. George's Anglican Church, Stanley Street, 1867. Six architects from Montreal submitted designs for this church, but the design by Windeyer was set aside in favour of the winning scheme by William T. Thomas. Windeyer was given $100 for his effort (inf. Virginia Nixon, Concordia Univ., Montreal)
TORONTO, ONT., All Saint's Anglican Church, Sherbourne Street, 1874. Windeyer was one of six architects invited to submit plans for this commission, but only four architects accepted the invitation, and the plans by Windeyer were selected by the Building Committee (Anglican Diocese Archives, Toronto, All Saints Church, Minutes of the Vestry, Jan.-Feb. 1874)