Walsh, William James

WALSH, William James (1885-1952) was born in Hamilton on 5 August 1885 and was educated at public school and at the Hamilton Art School. He did not obtain a formal university education in architecture but gained experience by working for several Hamilton architects including Stewart McPhie (in 1904-08), Charles Mills (in 1908-11), Prack & Perrine (in 1911-12) and for Stewart & Witton from 1912 until 1920. Upon the dissolution of the latter partnership Walsh was invited by William P. Witton to become a partner in the new firm of Witton & Walsh which remained active until 1927 when Walsh commenced practise under his own name. During the next thirteen years he executed a variety of distinctive and assured designs for civic, institutional and ecclesiastical works in the Hamilton and Dundas area. His talent as an interpreter of the modern Gothic style is underrated; his finest ecclesiastical work is undoubtedly that for St. Paul's United Church in Dundas (1932-33), a mature and carefully studied essay in stone which is finely proportioned and impeccably detailed throughout. It may be claimed that he was an early 'contextualist' architect who responded with sensitivity to the neighbourhood in which he built. This is evident in his clever adaptation of the domestic Tudor style to mask an ugly Hydro transformer situated in the middle of the wealthy residential neighbourhood along Aberdeen Avenue in Hamilton (1931).
With his apparent success it is unclear why he chose to close his office and join the staff of the provincial Department of Public Works after completing his War service in 1945. He was assigned to supervise the construction of the Ontario Hospital for the Mentally Retarded in Smiths Falls and died there on 26 March 1952 (obituary in the Spectator [Hamilton], 27 March 1952, 7; inf. Donald Walsh; Ms. M.J. Rigby, Hamilton, Ont.; Ontario Assoc. of Architects)


HAMILTON ROWING CLUB HOUSE, Bay Shore Road, 1927 (C.R., xli, 16 Feb. 1927, 47)
HOME FOR THE AGED AND INFIRM, Guise Street at John Street North, new extension, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 13 June 1928, 69, 72)
ST. CLAIR BOULEVARD, near Cumberland Avenue, residence for George Bentley, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 28 March 1928, 51)
CONNAUGHT MOTOR CO., Main Street East near John Street, showroom and garage, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 18 July 1928, 49)
HAMILTON UNITED MOTOR SALES, Main Street East at Walnut Street, showroom, garage and office, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 12 Sept. 1928, 53, t.c.)
SCHULTE UNITED LTD., James Street North at King William Street, retail store, 1929 (inf. M.J. Rigby)
ALL SAINTS ANGLICAN CHURCH, King Street West at Queen Street North, additions and alterations, 1929 (C.R., xliii, 6 March 1929, 51)
HAMILTON CITY HOSPITAL, Barton Street at Victoria Avenue North, 1929 (C.R., xliii, 31 July 1929, 59, t.c.)
ANSHE SHOLOM SYNAGOGUE, Hughson Street, 1931 (C.R., xlv, 28 Oct. 1931, 1307)
HYDRO SUB-STATION, Aberdeen Avenue at Mount Royal Avenue (disguised as a Tudor house), 1931 (C.R., xlvi, 27 Jan. 1932, 84, illus. & descrip.)
QUEEN MARY SCHOOL, Cannon Street East at Province Street North, addition, 1931-32 (inf. Hamilton Board of Education)
WESTDALE THEATRE, King Street West near Paisley Avenue, 1932 (C.R., xlvi, 13 July 1932, 46; Globe & Mail [Toronto], 21 July 2017, G3, illus. & descrip.)
BORDEN'S FARM PRODUCTS, John Street North near Cannon Street East, additions and alterations to dairy plant, 1932 (C.R., xlvi, 13 July 1932, 47)
JAMES STREET NORTH, theatre for E.L.M. Barnett, 1936 (C.R., l, 17 June 1936, 32)
CONSOLIDATED SALES BOOK CO., Burlington Street East, factory, 1938 (C.R., l, 15 Dec. 1937, 30)
HAMILTON ARMOURIES, James Street North, addition, 1936-38 (Building in Canada, March 1938, 29, illus.)
ST. PETER'S INFIRMARY, Maplewood Avenue at Norway Avenue, addition, 1938-39 (C.R., li, 4 May 1938, 35)


KITCHENER, ONT., Robin Hood Garage and Service Station, King Street at Francis Street, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 13 June 1928, 68)
BRANTFORD, ONT., The Dufferin Apartments, Dufferin Avenue, 1928 (C.R., xlii, 20 June 1928, 57)
DUNDAS, ONT., Dundas District High School, King Street West, 1929; converted to residential lofts in 2013-14 (C.R., xliii, 24 April 1929, 63, t.c.; Acorn- Journal of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario [Toronto], xli, No. 2, Autumn 2016, 30-32, illus. & descrip.)
DUNDAS, ONT., St. Paul's United Church, Cross Street at Park Street East, 1932-33 (C.R., xlvii, 20 Dec. 1933, 1143-50, illus. & descrip.; Const., xxvii, Jan.-Feb. 1934, 3, 25-8, illus. & descrip.)
SIMCOE, ONT., addition to the High School, 1934 (C.R., xlviii, 7 March 1934, 200)