These spacious flats were designed by McLuckie and Walker, Architects, of Stirling and built by John Steel, probably as an investment, in 1896.
Steel was a very well-known figure in Stirling at this time. Born in Edinburgh, he came to Stirling as a young man and began an apprenticeship as a pharmacist with W. Moore at his shop in King Street. Steel was asked to assist with his stepfather’s plumbing business when the latter became ill and took over the workshop of Frater and Steel at 22 Murray Place on Mr Steel senior’s death in the late 1880s. The fact that he was able to invest in building work of such a high standard indicates just how successful he was in his business dealings. Steel himself lived in the large house at 3 Park Avenue in the King’s Park, not far from this building.
The 6 flats are well appointed and would have been regarded as very modern at the time that they were built with their indoor bathrooms and wash houses. They were intended as housing for the prosperous middle classes of the town.
John Steel was very active in public life, working with the YMCA as a young man and serving as a Sunday School teacher at the Erskine United Free Church. Steel then stood for election to the Town Council in 1897, around the time that these flats were built, and was the Councillor for Port Street Ward until 1911. He was elected Bailie in 1899 and served in that capacity until 1906.
As Convener of the Council’s Works Committee, John Steel was instrumental in bringing electric lighting to the streets of Stirling in the early 20th century.
Like all well to do Stirling businessmen at this time, John Steel was a Burgess and a member of the Stirling Guildry, being entered into the fraternity on 22nd September 1892.
In 1907, Steel was elected as Dean of Guild and served for 12 years in that capacity until 1918, at that time a record period for the office being held by one man.
Steel died in February 1925 and there are full obituaries for him in both the Stirling Journal and Stirling Observer newspapers.