Stirling Architecture

DavidStirlingSeatedPublicArchivesROPEIAcc3218#324David Stirling

In the mid-nineteenth century, David Stirling established himself as one of the principal architects of Nova Scotia. He was born in Galashiels, Scotland, as the son of a stonemason. He emigrated first to St. John’s, Newfoundland, and then came to Halifax in 1850 to design the Bank of British North America. In 1852, he designed the Pictou County Court House and, a few years later, he worked on the central part of Osgoode Hall in Toronto. During the 1860s and 1870s, Stirling, in partnerships with William Hay and later Andrew Dewar, designed numerous prestigious buildings in Halifax including the Halifax Club, Keith Hall, Fort Massey Church and the Grafton Street Methodist Church (now St. David’s Presbyterian). Around the province, he received several important commissions, including King’s College Library at Windsor, as well as the Pictou Bank, the Customs House, and the Probate Office in Pictou.

It was David Stirling who designed the rare, four-storey, granite Kenny Warehouse with its horizontal string courses and strong bracketed cornice. The understated, yet strong, classical building was designed in 1863 and constructed in 1864. Because of the quality and range of David Stirling’s work, he was appointed architect for the Dominion government in Nova Scotia with responsibility for federal buildings in the province.

Stirling moved to Prince Edward Island, where he designed some notable churches. This photograph is reproduced with permission from the Public Archives and Record Office of Prince Edward Island, and bears Accession Number 3218/234. Note the remarkable sideburns!

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