Richard Palin Blakey

The elder brother of the architectural duo Blakey & Blakey, Richard Palin Blakey completed the Alberta Legislature and designed Government House.

Blakey & Blakey (1925-1928)

Blakey & Symonds (1929-1934)

Richard P. Blakey (1935-1946)

Blakey, Blakey, & Ascher (1947-1960)

Richard Palin Blakey was born in County Durham, England in 1879. When Blakey was sixteen he articled under George Thomas Brown in Sunderland for five years, then worked in Oswestry, Leeds, and Newcastle-on-Tyne before emigrating to Canada in 1907. A year later Blakey joined the Alberta Department of Public Works as an architect under the supervision of Allen Merrick Jeffers. Blakey was a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects as well as of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. At 32 years of age Richard Palin Blakey was appointed Provincial Architect of Alberta; until that department was dissolved fourteen years later in 1925 he oversaw the design of all provincial government buildings. It was during this tenure that Blakey was first elected as the President of the Alberta Association of Alberta, presiding in this capacity from 1916-1920. He held this office for a second term between 1935-1938. As was the case with many Canadians, the Great War disrupted Blakey’s career; he enlisted in the Active Mission of Alberta and served with the 19th Alberta Dragoons both in Canada and England from 1914-1917. Following his provincial position Blakey first partnered with his younger brother and fellow architect William George Blakey, and then moved on to open an office with Robert McDowell Symonds. He ran his own private practise from 1935 to 1946. Blakey reunited with his brother and together they invited Rudolph Ascher to their firm, working collaboratively for thirteen years until Ascher’s death expedited the retirement of their practise in 1960. The firm was taken over by Howard Bouey and Robert Bouey who had previously joined their company for a time.

One of Blakey’s defining commissions with the province was his 1911 design of the one-room Alberta school house which became signature pieces of prairie architecture. His best known works, however, began in some controversy when he was appointed Provincial Architect before Jeffers, the previous architect, had in fact resigned. Jeffers left the position due to questions surrounding the management and construction of the Alberta Legislature Building. With the structure unfinished, Blakey became responsible for the staircase, Rotunda, and South Wing of the Legislature, as well as for Government House, the mansion of the Lieutenant Governor in Edmonton. These two structures, along with Edmonton’s 1912 Court House and St. Joseph’s College emanate from Blakey’s traditional English architectural training.


Full Name

Richard Palin Blakey

Character Defining Elements

Balcony, Balustrade, Bay window, Carving, Clinker brick, Columns, Coping, Corbelling, Crenellated parapet, Cupola, Dome, Entablature, Flag pole, Flat roof, Gabled parapet, Giant columns, Hipped roof, Intersecting gable roof, Irregular footprint, Keystone, Nailed frame structure, One storey, Pediment, Pilaster, Porch, Porte cochere, Portico, Quoins, Rock-faced stone, Round headed dormer, Rusticated stone, Smooth stone, Stone structure, T shape footprint, Three storeys or more


Subscribe to our newsletter