In August, we were thrilled to welcome relatives of Stirling architect Ronald Walker (1858-1911), who were visiting Stirling to connect with their family history. Ronald Walker, who worked alongside Andrew McLuckie (1843-1911), designed over 200 buildings in Stirling, including Allan’s Primary School, most of the villas on Manse Crescent, and even the Bridge Street Clock Tower.
In 2020 we produced an exhibition celebrating the life and work of Mcluckie & Walker, which has since been on display in Made In Stirling and The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum, so when the Walker clan got in touch, we took it out of storage for their perusal.
Ronald Walker was born on the 10th of December in 1858 at Kilberry in Argyle. His father, a weaver, was also named Ronald Walker. After a terrible storm in 1896, the family had to move to Glasgow in search of work; Killberry’s pier was swept away, which meant there was no way to transport the finished cloth of local weavers for sale in Glasgow.
Ronald went on to serve his apprenticeship as an architect in Glasgow, and then secured a position working for William Simpson (c.1809-1890) in Stirling. When he died in 1911 Ronald was living at 12 Allan Park with his wife Elizabeth McLachlan and their three children; Effie, Ronald and Archibald. He is buried in the Valley Cemetery by Stirling Castle and his obituary gives the impression of a gregarious man who was at the centre of the community:
Mr Walker was secretary, and afterwards president, of the Stirling Burns Club, and, possessing a nice tenor voice, he often sang at concerts and other gatherings, and knowing Gaelic he was in request to lead the praise at Gaelic services. Mr Walker executed a large amount of work for Ninians School Board, and at the meeting of the Board yesterday sympathetic reference was made his ability as an architect and his personal good qualities.
Dundee Courier, Friday 7th July 1911
Ronald’s descendants generously shared lots of brilliant photographs and stories with us, which helped us get to know of Ronald as a person. He owned one of the first cars in Stirling, and McLuckie & Walker also designed the first motor garages in Stirling, one for Menzies Bros at 33 Port Street, and another for the Henderson Bros at 21 Barnton Street, both in 1908. Maybe he was able to get a great deal on his car?
We look forward to continuing our research into the life and work of Ronald Walker, alongside the Walker family.
Thank you soooooo much for meeting with us all at the Barracks and for showing us all the amazing research and material on our great grandpa Ronald Walker. I was so moved and touched by all the work you and your organisation have done in finding out more about him – Louise Jack
If you’d like to find out more about McLuckie & Walker, you can pick up one of our heritage trails of the city centre from The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum. You can also check out our online exhibition McLuckie and Walker – the men who built Stirling – Stirling City Heritage Trust from the comfort of your own home.