MacBeth, Robert Ian

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MacBeth, Robert Ian (1891-1978), a successful architect in St. Catharines, Ont. where he lived and worked for nearly fifty years, either under his own name, or in partnership with others in the following offices:

Robert Ian Macbeth, Architect, Inverness, Scotland, 1912-1914
Nicholson & Macbeth, St. Catharines, 1921-1931
Robert Ian Macbeth, St. Catharines, 1931-1946
Macbeth, Salter & Scott, St. Catharines, 1946-1948
Macbeth & Williams, St. Catharines, 1949-1964
Macbeth, Williams, Woodruff & Hadaway, St. Catharines, 1964 -

Born in Inverness, Scotland on 15 March 1891, he was the son of Robert John Macbeth (1857-1912), F.R.I.B.A., a prominent architect in Inverness and partner in the firm of Ross & Macbeth. Robert Ian Macbeth graduated from Edinburgh University in 1907 at the age of 17 years and joined his father in Inverness as an assistant in early 1908. When his father died suddenly on 6 April 1912, Robert Ian M. was left to complete works begun by his late father, and to accept commissions under his own name from April 1912 until early 1914. He was active in Inverness until May 1914 when he, his mother and two other brothers emigrated to Canada. They took up residence in the small town of St. Catharines, Ont. in the Niagara Peninsula. There, he found a job as a draftsman with Arthur E. Nicholson (in 1918-20), after which he moved to nearby Toronto to gain more professional experience, and was employed by Wickson & Gregg, and by the local Toronto office of Thomas W. Lamb, architect of New York City and a well-known designer of several theatre projects in Canada in the period of 1920-21.

In late 1921 Macbeth returned to St. Catharines and was invited by his former employer A.E. Nicholson to form a new partnership (see list of works under Nicholson & Macbeth). Together, their partnership flourished, and their firm can be credited with over thirty designs for impressive private residences for wealthy but conservative clients in the Niagara region. They became adept at employing a refined Tudor Revival style which was bold in its massing, and impeccably detailed with massive brick walls, leaded windows and English half-timber framing. After the dissolution of their firm in 1931, both partners continued to successfully operate their own offices in St. Catharines. Macbeth introduced a more modernist style to his work, best seen in the Art Deco fa├žade of the St. Catharines City Hall (1936-37), and in the stripped modernist design of the Atlas Steel Co. Office Building in Welland, Ont. (1940-41). In 1946 he added new partners Wilson A Salter and Arthur B. Scott, and in 1949 formed another partnership, this time with Robert H. Williams.

Macbeth was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Inst. of Canada in 1941, and retired from the profession in 1961. He died in St. Catharines on 31 March 1978 (obituary St. Catharines Standard, 1 April 1978, 2; inf. Ontario Association of Architects, Toronto; inf. Harald Ensslen, St. Catharines; inf. David Roepke, St. Catharines).

(works in St. Catharines unless noted)

ST. PAUL STREET, at William Street, row of four stores and apartments, 1933 (C.R., xlvii, 24 May 1933, 36, t.c.)
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ONT., residence for Taylor Wettlaufer, Johnson Street, 1933 (C.R., xlvii, 8 Nov. 1933, 35-6)
PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION, Head Street at Race Street, Storage & Testing Building, 1934 (St. Catharines b.p. 4005)
OAKVILLE, ONT., residence for W. Harry MacKendrick, Lake Shore Highway East, 1936 (C.H.G., xiv, Jan.-Feb. 1937, 32-3, 73, illus.)
CITY HALL & POLICE BUILDING, Church Street at James Street, 1936-37 (Daily Commercial News [Toronto], 20 Aug. 1936, 5, illus. & descrip.; St. Catharines Standard, 7 Aug. 1937, 11-12, illus. & descrip.; R.A.I.C. Journal, xvi, Oct. 1939, 15, illus. in advert.; E. Julian et al, St. Catharines: Our Built Heritage, 2005, 141-2, illus.)
PORT COLBORNE, ONT., High School, Steel Street, 1939 (C.R., lii, 5 April 1939, 37)
HILLCREST AVENUE, residence for John G. Walker, 1939 (St. Catharines b.p. 5027)
FONTHILL, ONT., residence for Roy H. Davis, 1939-40 (C.H.G., xvii, Dec. 1940, 34-8, 40, illus.)
WELLAND, ONT., Atlas Steels Ltd., Centre Street, office building and staff facilities, 1940 (C.R., liii, 30 Oct. 1940, 34)
ANN STREET, at Cherry Street, residence for Marjorie Marquis, 1942 (St. Catharines b.p. 5002.2)
GENEVA STREET, at Linden Street, residence for Edgar Moir, 1943 (St. Catharines b.p. 5099, 1943)
NIAGARA PENINSULA SANATORIUM, Merrittville Highway, addition, 1945 (C.R., lviii, March 1945, 172)
BELL TELEPHONE BUILDING, King Street at Helliwell's Lane, 1946 (St. Catharines b.p. 1067.3, 1946)
MAMMY'S BREAD CO., Yale Crescent, warehouse, 1946 (St. Catharines b.p. 1029, 1946)
YALE & TOWNE MFR. CO., Yale Crescent, brass foundry, 1946 (St. Catharines b.p. 1056, 1946)
CHIPPAWA, ONT., Norton Co., research laboratory, 1946 (C.R., lix, June 1946, 141)
CENTRAL FIRE HALL, Geneva Street at Niagara Street, 1949 (C.R., lxii, Jan. 1949, 190)
HARDING HOUSE HOTEL, James Street, 1949 (St. Catharines b.p. 1058, 1949)
LONG BEACH, ONT., summer residences for Gregory Deck, 1949 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxvi, July 1949, 210-11, illus.)
FORT ERIE, ONT., residence for R.G. Bardol, additions, 1949 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxvi, July 1949, 220)
ONTARIO STREET, near College Street, office for Dr. Alex S. Malcolmson, 1950 (St. Catharines b.p. 5098, 1950)
WALDAS TERRACE APARTMENTS, Geneva Street at Russell Street, for Joseph Podasky, 1950 (St. Catharines b.p. 5138, 1950)