Basic Biographical Details

Name: Frank Burnet & Boston
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1889
Ended: After 1951
Bio Notes: Frank Burnet was born in 1846 in Melrose in Roxburghshire, the son of a builder, Francis Burnet, and his wife Janet Learmonth. He was educated at Melrose Parish School and Glasgow School of Art. He learned the business of building with his father, but in 1871 he joined the office of John Carrick, the City Master of Works in Glasgow, dealing with Dean of Guild and the New Buildings Department there and gaining experience of tenement design for the City Improvement Trust and forming contacts which were to be useful later. In or about 1877 he spent a year abroad travelling as far as Egypt and the Holy Land. In 1878 he commenced practice on his own account, his main business being tenements of which the firm built 540 between 1884 and 1906 in Dalmarnock, Parkhead, Alexandra Place, Queen's Park, Battlefield and Woodside, many of them were for himself and other members of the Burnet family. Others were for private clients, often in the licensed trade together with a number of schemes erected under the Artisans Dwelling Act. Their output was exceeded only by J C McKellar who built 640 between 1890 and 1910. Burnet also did considerable work as a valuator and witness in railway and property compensation cases and also as an arbiter and oversman in arbitration cases.

In August 1889 Burnet took into partnership his assistant, William James Boston, born in Tradeston on 9 June 1861 the son of Thomas Boston, artist seal-engraver, but the character of the practice did not significantly change except for a marked growth in industrial clients in the engineering, baking and printing trades. The firm moved rapidly into the premier league in 1897-98, largely as a result of distilling and licensed trade connections, but the actual design work was by then mainly in the hands of James Carruthers who designed in a manner influenced by John James Burnet - to whom Frank was not related - and Burnet's partner John A Campbell; Carruthers had entered the firm as an apprentice in 1886, studied at Glasgow School of Art and subsequently travelled in France, Itlay, Canada and the USA. He was briefly a partner from 1901 until 1908 when a sudden decline in the volume of business seems to have brought about his leaving to set up practice on his own account at 147 Bath Street. The practice then reverted to being Frank Burnet & Boston.

Frank Burnet married Mary Russell McGregor, and their son Frank Russell Burnet was born on 26 June 1891 in Kilmacolm. He was educated at Fettes College from 1906 to 1909 and subsequently at Glasgow School of Architecture, and served his articles in his father's firm. He served as a Major in France with the Royal Garrison Artillery from 1916 to 1918, and commenced practice as a partner in his father's firm in 1919. He married Margaret Roxburgh Taylor, daughter of the former architect, later politician, Sir Andrew Thomas Taylor, in 1920.

Neither Burnet nor Boston ever sought membership of the RIBA; Carruthers sought election as a Licentiate in 1911 after he left the practice. Frank Burnet died on 6 February 1923 at Earlston, Kilmacolm. Boston, who had married Elizabeth Frith Watson in 1910, died of influenza, bronchitis and vascular problems at Glenlee, Clarkston, Glasgow on 1 February 1937. The practice was continued thereafter by Frank Russell Burnet who then took James Bell into partnership, although the practice title remained unchanged as Frank Burnet & Boston until 1961 when it became Frank Burnet, Bell & Partners. Bell had been born on 14 September 1910 and had been articled to James Miller of Glasgow from 1927 to 1932, concurrently studying at Glasgow University where he was awarded a second-class honours BSc in 1931 and at the Royal Technical College where he received his diploma in 1932. He had been admitted ARIBA in the latter year, his proposers being Miller, Thomas Harold Hughes and George Arthur Boswell. He had remained with Miller until 1934, when he had joined Frank Burnet & Boston as an assistant.

During the Second World War Bell commanded 554 Field Company the Royal Engineers and was awarded the DSO and mentioned in dispatches. While he was on war service Burnet opened an office in Greenock in 1943. In the post-war years he and Bell had a very large practice in which they were assisted by Hamish Hill and James Rennie. From 1975 William Douglas joined as partner. Bell and Burnet were both elected FRIBA on 10 February 1948, both proposed by Alexander Nisbet Malcolm, William McCrea and James Steel Maitland.

Burnet was active in public life, serving in 1934-35 as Deacon of Masons. This post was also held by Bell, who was active in both public and professional life, being a member of the RIBA Council, vice-chairman of the Governors of Glasgow School of Art, member of convocation of the University of Strathclyde, chairman of the Governors of Kelvinside Academy and Controller of Civil Defence for Bute.

Bell died at the early age of fifty-six on 19 April 1967. Burnet died in June 1980 at Port Glasgow, his normal residence being Enterkin at Kilmacolm.

(NB: See Burnet, Boston and Carruthers for works executed between 1901 and 1907.)

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 369, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18881891 
Item 2 of 3180, Hope Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1897After 1948 
Item 3 of 32, Wallace Place, Greenock, Renfrewshire, ScotlandBusiness1953 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.


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 27James Carruthers1886c. 1890Apprentice 
Item 2 of 27Frank Burnet18891901Partner 
Item 3 of 27William James Boston18891901Partner 
Item 4 of 27James Carruthersc. 18901901Assistant 
Item 5 of 27John NisbetBefore 1891Before 1900Assistant(?)Unclear
Item 6 of 27Thomas Kyle1894 * Assistant 
Item 7 of 27George White18981899Assistant 
Item 8 of 27David Henry Hunter18981900Assistant 
Item 9 of 27Arthur James Stewart18981901Assistant 
Item 10 of 27Gilbert McGarvaJuly 19001901Assistant 
Item 11 of 27William Ross10 April 1905c. 1910Apprentice 
Item 12 of 27Frank Russell Burnetc. 1906(?)c. 1911(?)Apprentice 
Item 13 of 27Frank Burnet19081923Partner 
Item 14 of 27William James Boston19081937Partner 
Item 15 of 27William Rossc. 19101913Junior AssistantDescribed as 'draughtsman' in RIBA papers
Item 16 of 27Frank Russell Burnetc. 1911(?)1915(?)Assistant 
Item 17 of 27William John Brockie Wrightc. 1912c. 1914Assistant 
Item 18 of 27Frank Russell Burnet19191961Partner 
Item 19 of 27John Gairns Laskie19251926Assistant 
Item 20 of 27James Bell19341937Assistant 
Item 21 of 27James Bell19371961Partner 
Item 22 of 27James Newton Rennie1944 Apprentice 
Item 23 of 27Donald Cameron1947 Apprentice 
Item 24 of 27Stuart Lothian Barclay1950 Assistant 
Item 25 of 27Alexander Stewart McGregor195023 September 1956Architect(?) 
Item 26 of 27Graham Couper LawAfter 1951Before 1954  
Item 27 of 27John MillarBefore 1960 Assistant 

* earliest date known from documented sources.


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 103After 1889Whitehall Restaurant  GlasgowScotland 
Item 2 of 1031890Victoria Bolt & Rivet Works  GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 1031891Campbellfield Twisting Works  GlasgowScotlandExtensions
Item 4 of 1031891Miller's BakerySpringburn GlasgowScotlandWith W B Whitie
Item 5 of 1031893Kelvindale Mills  GlasgowScotlandStore
Item 6 of 1031895Terraced houses, Glencairn Drive and Shields Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 7 of 1031896176-178 Hope Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 1031896Business premises and tenements, Wellington Street and Argyle Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 9 of 1031896Warehouse, Brunswick Lane  GlasgowScotland 
Item 10 of 1031897188-190 St Vincent Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 11 of 1031897Bonded Store, Ballater Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 1031897Robert Sinclair's Warehouse  GlasgowScotland 
Item 13 of 103189896-100 St Vincent Street  GlasgowScotlandAlterations or additions, perhaps not executed
Item 14 of 1031898Carlton BuildingsHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 15 of 1031898Castle Chambers and Palace Restaurant  GlasgowScotland 
Item 16 of 1031898Clyde Rivet Works  GlasgowScotland 
Item 17 of 103After 1898(?)F & J Smith Tobacco Factory  GlasgowScotlandProbably involved, but may be by James Ritchie
Item 18 of 103c. 1898(?)Paxtons Hotel  GlasgowScotlandProbably involved, but may be by James Ritchie
Item 19 of 1031899Herriot Hill Printing Works  GlasgowScotlandAdditions, mansard attic.
Item 20 of 1031899Oil works for Rowley & Dick  GlasgowScotland 
Item 21 of 1031899Public house and shop with flats over for George Honeyman Farmer  GlasgowScotlandOriginal scheme
Item 22 of 1031900Battlefield Gardens Tenements  GlasgowScotland 
Item 23 of 1031900Battlefield Road Tenements  GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 1031900Campbellfield Twisting Works  GlasgowScotlandAdditions
Item 25 of 1031900City Flint Glass Works and Hecla Foundry  GlasgowScotland 
Item 26 of 1031900Royal Bank of Scotland branch office and business premises  GlasgowScotland 
Item 27 of 1031900Sinclair Drive Tenements  GlasgowScotland 
Item 28 of 1031900St George's Mansions  GlasgowScotland 
Item 29 of 1031900Tenements for Glasgow City Improvement Trust, High Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 30 of 1031900Tenements, Govan Road and Shaw Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 31 of 103c. 1900Royal Avenue MansionsCampbeltown ArgyllScotland 
Item 32 of 1031901Seven tenements Bridgeton GlasgowScotland 
Item 33 of 1031902Business Premises, corner of West Nile Street and Drury Street (South cornner)  GlasgowScotland 
Item 34 of 103c. 1907Herbertshire CastleFalkirk StirlingshireScotlandAlterations
Item 35 of 1031908Acme Machine Works  GlasgowScotlandMansard addition
Item 36 of 1031908Garnethill Established ChurchGarnethill GlasgowScotland 
Item 37 of 1031910City Manure Office, Parliamentary Road  GlasgowScotlandAlterations to stables.
Item 38 of 1031910Offices, Port Dundas Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 39 of 1031911Bonded Warehouses, Borron Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 40 of 1031911Box Factory, William Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 41 of 1031911Fa'side HouseMearns RenfrewshireScotlandAddition
Item 42 of 1031911Premises, New Sneddon Street and Wallace StreetPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 43 of 1031911Royal Exchange Assurance Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 44 of 1031911St George's Horse Bazaar  GlasgowScotlandRoofing and courtyard
Item 45 of 1031912Auchinbrae, Newark DrivePollokshields GlasgowScotlandSummerhouse and garage added
Item 46 of 1031912Green's PicturedromePossil GlasgowScotland 
Item 47 of 1031912Hydepark Bakery  GlasgowScotlandStables
Item 48 of 1031912Tenements, Gallowgate and Graham Square  GlasgowScotland 
Item 49 of 1031912Warehouse, Mitchell Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 50 of 1031913Castle Mearns  RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 51 of 1031913Port Dundas DistilleryPort Dundas GlasgowScotlandRebuilding
Item 52 of 1031914Commercial BankDunfermline FifeScotland 
Item 53 of 1031914Stables, Dobbie's Loan  GlasgowScotlandRoofing of courtyard
Item 54 of 1031914Tobacco factory, Tobago Street  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 55 of 1031914Tramcar shelter, Battlefield Rest  GlasgowScotland 
Item 56 of 1031914Tramway Offices, Bath Street  GlasgowScotlandLarge extensions
Item 57 of 1031914Warehouse, Sussex Street  GlasgowScotlandWith Bruce & Hay
Item 58 of 103After 1919Commercial Union Assurance Building, Stockwell Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 59 of 103After 1919Union Bank  GlasgowScotland 
Item 60 of 103After 1919Union Bank of Scotland, Hope Street branch  GlasgowScotland 
Item 61 of 1031923Premises, Trongate, Stockwell Street and Osborne Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 62 of 1031929Commercial Union Assurance Building, St Vincent Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 63 of 1031930sGreenock Ice RinkGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 64 of 1031931Ferguson Ltd's premises  GlasgowScotland 
Item 65 of 1031931Mill Church, suite of hallsGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 66 of 1031933Bank of Scotland, MaryhillMaryhill GlasgowScotland 
Item 67 of 1031934Buildings in New Lanark for Gourock Ropework CompanyNew Lanark LanarkshireScotland 
Item 68 of 1031934Premises in Braxfield RoadNew Lanark LanarkshireScotland 
Item 69 of 1031935Bank of Scotland, PossilparkPossilpark GlasgowScotland 
Item 70 of 1031935Building for the Distillers CompanyGovan GlasgowScotlandReconstruction and extension
Item 71 of 1031935Factory for Kennedy Robertson & Co., Renfrew Court  GlasgowScotland 
Item 72 of 1031935Workshop for W & J Martin  GlasgowScotlandNew buildings
Item 73 of 1031936RC SchoolKilmarnock AyrshireScotlandExtension
Item 74 of 1031936St Columba's SchoolKilmacolm/Kilmalcolm RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 75 of 1031936Union BankBattlefield, Langside GlasgowScotland 
Item 76 of 103c. 1936Cardonald Cemetery  GlasgowScotlandGates etc
Item 77 of 1031937J R W Laing Showrooms  GlasgowScotland 
Item 78 of 1031937Royal Bank Of ScotlandSpringtown GlasgowScotland 
Item 79 of 1031937Smiths (Wools) Ltd  GlasgowScotlandNew extension 1937, Alterations and additions 1948
Item 80 of 103After 1937Clerical Medical & General Offices  GlasgowScotland 
Item 81 of 103After 1937Housing schemeDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 82 of 103After 1937Paisley Ice RinkPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 83 of 103After 1937R Wylie Hill's warehouse  GlasgowScotlandAdditions and alterations
Item 84 of 103After 1937Royal Bank of Scotland branches  GlasgowScotlandUnspecified work
Item 85 of 1031938HotelKelvinside GlasgowScotland 
Item 86 of 103After 1939Engineering Centre  GlasgowScotland 
Item 87 of 103After 1939Glasgow Royal Asylum for Lunatics  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 88 of 103After 1939Housing estatePort Glasgow RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 89 of 103After 1939Industrial EstatePort Glasgow RenfrewshireScotlandUnspecified works
Item 90 of 103After 1939Industrial EstateUddingston LanarkshireScotlandUnspecified work
Item 91 of 103After 1939Industrial EstatePaisley RenfrewshireScotlandUnspecified work
Item 92 of 103After 1939Royal Bank of Scotland  GlasgowScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 93 of 103After 1939Royal Hospital for Sick ChildrenYorkhill GlasgowScotlandAdditions
Item 94 of 1031940Hillhead Picture House  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 95 of 1031947Killin Ltd Nitsdale Road   GlasgowScotland 
Item 96 of 1031948Finlayson (Confectioners) Limited Premises   GlasgowScotlandalterations and additions
Item 97 of 1031948Housing UddingstonUddington LanarkshireScotland 
Item 98 of 1031948Old Menís and Womenís Home  GlasgowScotland 
Item 99 of 1031948Premises Astoria Road  GlasgowScotlandAlterations and Additions
Item 100 of 1031948Works Canteen Ashtree Road  Glasgow  
Item 101 of 1031950Belvidere Hospital  GlasgowScotlandTo make plans for additions (to Belvedere Hospital)
Item 102 of 1031950Works for William Kemp & Co, Dundass and Cunningham Streets  GlasgowScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 103 of 1031974National Water Sports Training CentreMillportGreat CumbraeButeScotland 

References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 8Glasgow Contemporaries1901Glasgow Contemporaries at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century   
Item 2 of 8Hume, John R1974Industrial Archaeology of Glasgow Glasgow & London: Blackie 
Item 3 of 8Kenna and Mooney1983People's Palaces   
Item 4 of 8McKean, Charles1987The Scottish Thirties: An Architectural Introduction Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press 
Item 5 of 8Post Office Directories     
Item 6 of 8Who's Who in Architecture1914    
Item 7 of 8Who's Who in Architecture1926    
Item 8 of 8Worsdall, Frank1979The Tenement   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder12 February 1937  Obituary of Boston
Item 2 of 4Builder19 May 1950  p692
Item 3 of 4Builder25 August 1950  p263
Item 4 of 4Glasgow Herald3 February 1937  p14 Obituary of Boston

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Additional information from Iain Paterson