Henry Blackadder (1882-1968) and Alexander Sinclair Wemyss Mackay (1878-1940) were both born in Scotland and trained as architects in England. By 1912, with both men residing in Canada, they established their architectural firm, Blackadder & MacKay in Lower Lonsdale (1912-1927). They were known on the north shore for residential work in the British Arts and Crafts style, such as the design of Howard & Renee Archibald residence (1914), Tudor Revival’s including the Thomas Nye residence (1912) and Cyril Ames residence (1925) as well as the construction of North Vancouver’s J.P. Fell Armoury (1914) and the Cenotaph in Victoria Park (1923). In addition to being architects, both men were also Lieutenants who served overseas in the First World War. After the war ended in 1918, Blackadder and MacKay returned to North Vancouver and the partnership continued to grow with new projects, both residential and commercial.
Drawing upon Blackadder’s early work with the prominent British architectural firm, George & Yeates, the fourth Lynn Valley School was designed in the sophisticated Edwardian Baroque style. George Baynes and William McLeod Horie, the leading Vancouver-based contractors of the time, were hired for their eminent skills in construction of commercial and school buildings.
The school’s alternating bands of brick and sandstone are a perfect illustration of Baynes & Horie’s talent.
The banding and the bull’s-eye windows on the east and west sides of the school draw attention to the building and accentuate its grandeur.
The fourth Lynn Valley School is considered to be Blackadder and MacKay’s most important public building. Its character defining elements include: hipped roofs, the metal cornice, the flagpole and the stone & brick quoins, as well as the carved stone signage of the boys and girls entrances on the west side of the building. All of these elements speak to its service to the community and its embodiment of childhood memories.
While Mackay moved to New Zealand in the late 1920s, his partner Blackadder continued designing houses, monuments and commercial buildings, in part shaping the character of North Vancouver. During the latter part of the Second World War, Blackadder worked in the drawing office of Burrard Dry Docks and Wallace Shipyards, before returning to private practice. During those years, he was vice-president of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada (RAIC) and president of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC).