Basic Biographical Details

Name: Abercrombie & Maitland
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1923
Ended: 1963
Bio Notes: Thomas Graham Abercrombie was born in Paisley, the son of a well-connected banker, William Abercrombie, who was of the family of Abercrombie of Tullibody, Clackmannan and his wife Robina Andrews Graham. He was articled to John Hutchison of Glasgow, an architect with Paisley connections, in 1876 and at the end of the apprenticeship he emigrated to the USA, location not known. By 19 May 1886 he had returned to Paisley and set up practice with £19 10s advanced by his father. The first year he is said to have had little or no work but in 1887 he took on an assistant, his brother-in-law Robert S Symington who became a partner in 1888. In that year the practice won a competition for Greenlaw Church, Paisley, but in July the following year Symington emigrated to the USA as manager of Clark's Thread Mills at Newark. The Greenlaw church design was modelled on Burnet's Barony Church and in or about 1890 Abercrombie took on as his chief assistant William Kerr (1866-1940) from the office of Burnet Son and Campbell, the work of the practice taking on a still more Burnetian character with the Clark Memorial Church, Largs (1892) which in several respects derives from Burnet's competition design for the Coats Memorial Church in Paisley.

Kerr was not invited to become a partner in the practice and in 1902 he left to become a partner in the practice of John Melvin and Son at Alloa. Thereafter Abercrombie continued with well-selected assistants until 1921 when he took into partnership James Steel Maitland. Maitland had been born at Strone, Argyllshire, on 27 August 1887, of a well-connected family: his mother Kate Coats Steel being an adopted sister of the thread magnate George H Coats, and his father James Maitland was a master grocer with a substantial business. He had been educated at Kilblain Academy in Greenock and at Glasgow High School, and had hoped to become an artist but parental disapproval had resulted in his being articled to William Leiper in 1903. During his time at Leiper's, Maitland had attended Glasgow School of Art, from 1904 under Eugène Bourdon. At the School, then in Rose Street, his particular friends had been Andrew Noble Prentice and the sculptor Albert Hodge, but the latter moved to London c.1903. At the end of his apprenticeship in 1909 Maitland had gone to London to see John James Burnet in the hope of employment on the British Museum but Burnet already had a full staff and could only agree to take him on as an unpaid assistant for two years. In the event Maitland found employment instead in the office of Brown & Vallance in Montreal, on Leiper's recommendation. In 1913, whilst still in the employment of Brown & Vallence, he had travelled in France and in 1914 had married the embroider Ellison J F Young. He had served in the British Royal Naval Air Service during the First World War, following which, early in 1920, he had joined Abercrombie's office in Paisley as principal assistant.

The partnership proved brief as Abercrombie died suddenly at his home, Redholme, Castlehead, on 16 February 1926, Maitland continuing the practice alone thereafter under the existing name of Abercrombie & Maitland. Another James Maitland (born 1906), presumably a relative, joined the practice as an apprentice in September 1921, remaining as assistant until April 1927 when he moved to the firm of Cullen, Lochhead & Brown for a brief period before settling in the office of James Taylor. The younger Maitland had no further connections with the Abercrombie & Maitland practice thereafter, and remained with Taylor until the Second World War, following which he commenced practice on his own account in London.

James Steel Maitland was admitted LRIBA in late 1931 and FRIBA in early 1932, his proposers on both occasions being McNab, George Arthur Boswell and John Keppie. He became the burgh architect of Renfrew in the early 1930s.

Maitland was a painter, wood-carver, theatrical scene painter and costume designer as well as architect and among his many interests he was President of the Paisley Burns, Rotary and Bohemian Clubs, and in his later years became committed to the conservation of Paisley, leading the unsuccessful campaign to save New Street.

Maitland gradually wound down the practice in the early 1960s and closed it in 1963. It was then still based in Abercrombie's office at County Place. He died at the house he had designed for himself, Littlecroft, 21 Stonefield Avenue Paisley on 27 February 1892. His wife having predeceased him in 1949, he was cared for in his last years by his daughter Helen.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 21, County Place, Paisley, Renfrewshire, ScotlandBusiness19231963 
Item 2 of 2Gilmour Street, Paisley, Renfrewshire, ScotlandBusiness1934 Is this the same address as County Place?

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 10James Christopher Rogerson192310 May 1924Assistant 
Item 2 of 10Hugh Smith19234 June 1925Apprentice 
Item 3 of 10Thomas Graham Abercrombie19231926Partner 
Item 4 of 10James Maitland1923c. 1926Apprentice 
Item 5 of 10John Wellwood Manson19231930Assistant 
Item 6 of 10James Steel Maitland19231963Partner 
Item 7 of 10Archibald Douglas Holmes1 August 192518 March 1930Apprentice 
Item 8 of 10James Maitlandc. 1926April 1927Assistant 
Item 9 of 10George Gordon McDonaldSeptember 1931September 1936Apprentice 
Item 10 of 10George Gordon McDonaldSeptember 1936March 1937Assistant 

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 421923Anchor Recreation Club, BlackhallPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 2 of 42After 1923Sports pavilion for Messrs Clark & CoPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 3 of 421924House at PotterhillPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 4 of 421924LittlecroftPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 5 of 421924Offices, St James StreetPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 6 of 421924Shops and warehouse for ArnottsPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 7 of 421925Russell InstitutePaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 8 of 421926St John's Church HallPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 9 of 421927Robert Cochrane's WarehousePaisley RenfrewshireScotlandFaçade and extensive alterations
Item 10 of 421928Duncan Macpherson HospitalGourock RenfrewshireScotlandExtension
Item 11 of 421928Glasgow Maternity Hospital  GlasgowScotlandOriginal (Baldie) building converted into nurses' home
Item 12 of 421929Greenock Royal Infirmary Convalescent HomeGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 13 of 421929LittlecroftPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandAdditions
Item 14 of 421930Four Square Tobacco FactoryPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandExtension and reconstruction
Item 15 of 421930HousingRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 16 of 421931Ferguson Street HousingRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 17 of 421931Lochwinnoch SanatoriumLochwinnoch RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 18 of 421931Newark HousePaisley RenfrewshireScotlandExtension
Item 19 of 421932Fulbar Lane Housing SchemeRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 20 of 421932Porterfield Road Housing Schemes 1, 2, 3 and 4Renfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 21 of 421932Royal Alexandra InfirmaryPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandCasulaty Department
Item 22 of 421933Warehouse for Bryce & CoPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 23 of 421934Ferguslie ParkPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandReconstruction as auxiliary hospital
Item 24 of 421936House, PotterhillPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 25 of 421936LittlecroftPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandAdditions
Item 26 of 421937Dyeworks for A Bell & Sons, HawkheadPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 27 of 421937Offices for J Kirkpatrick & SonPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 28 of 421937Porterfield Road Housing Scheme 5Renfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 29 of 421937Woodside CrematoriumPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 30 of 421939Kelvin HousePaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 31 of 421939Pavilion and Caretaker's houseRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 32 of 421939Porterfield Road Housing Schemes 6 and 7Renfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 33 of 421940Cocklesloan Housing SchemeRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 34 of 421940St Christopher Hall ChurchNether Pollok GlasgowScotlandOriginal hall church; now attached to 1960s church
Item 35 of 421944Public Housing, West Avenue areaRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 36 of 421947Four Square Tobacco FactoryPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandFurther work? Or completition delayed because of the war?
Item 37 of 421949Penilee St Andrew's Church Halls  GlasgowScotlandHalls including original church
Item 38 of 421949St Andrews Church hallPenilee GlasgowScotland 
Item 39 of 421949St Christopher Hall ChurchNether Pollok GlasgowScotlandExtension
Item 40 of 421951Priesthill Parish Hall-ChurchPollok GlasgowScotland 
Item 41 of 421951Royal Alexandra InfirmaryPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandTo prepare plans for reconstruction and additions
Item 42 of 421952Robertson Park, Old Men's CabinGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 

References

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Builder13 July 1951  p69