Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Nisbet
Designation: Architect
Born: 9 December 1868
Died: 29 October 1951
Bio Notes: John Nisbet was born at 118 Dale Street, Glasgow on 9 December 1868, the son of James Nisbet, grocer and his wife Ann Cassells. The practice to which he was articled is not known for certain but he studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1887 to 1891 and was assistant to Burnet & Boston from at least the latter year, commencing practice on his own account in 1900-01 and taking further classes at Glasgow School of Art in 1901-02. By that date he was married to Jessie Maxwell, daughter of Charles Edward Maxwell, the ceremony having taken place at the Windsor Hotel, St Vincent Street on 2 June 1898.

Nisbet's main clients were the property companies established by John Auld McTaggart, for whom he built a great many tenements of some refinement with understated Glasgow-style decorative elements, the better ones having stained glass by Oscar Paterson. The most remarkable of these was Camphill Gate, built wholly of fireproof materials with a roof garden. His best individual building was McTaggart's own house, Kelmscott in Pollokshields, quite stylish Arts and Crafts with some Glasgow-style details.

Like all other tenement specialists, Nisbet suffered the almost total loss of his practice as a result of the Finance Act of 1909: and again like many others he sought employment as one of the Inland Revenue's valuers. He was appointed District Valuer for Dunbartonshire and District and never practised architecture again, passing what was left of his practice to his senior assistant Charles James McNair.

Nisbet continued to exhibit as an etcher and painter at the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts until 1922. He died of prostate cancer at 52 Kersland Street on 29 October 1951. His profession was given as land surveyor and valuer.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 785, Dundas Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1887 *  
Item 2 of 793, Gloucester Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1888 *  
Item 3 of 7112, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1900After 1910 
Item 4 of 71, Doune Quadrant, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1901 *  
Item 5 of 750, Kersland Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1911 *  
Item 6 of 77, Dundonald Road, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1919 *  
Item 7 of 753, Kersland Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1951 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1Frank Burnet & BostonBefore 1891Before 1900Assistant(?)Unclear

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3Charles James McNair19031905Draughtsman 
Item 2 of 3Robert Norman Houghton MacKellarAugust 19041911Apprentice 
Item 3 of 3Charles James McNair19051910Senior Assistant 

Buildings and Designs

This architect 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 211901John Blair & Co Warehouse and Shops  GlasgowScotlandSurvey drawings
Item 2 of 211902KelmscottPollokshields GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 211902Tenements in Queensborough Gardens  GlasgowScotland 
Item 4 of 211902Tenements, HyndlandHyndland GlasgowScotland 
Item 5 of 211903Tenements in Allison Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 6 of 211904Commercial Bank, FalkirkFalkirk StirlingshireScotlandIn association with Alexander Gauld
Item 7 of 211904HouseWhiting BayArranButeScotland 
Item 8 of 211904Tenements, Springhill Gardens  GlasgowScotland 
Item 9 of 211905Architectural interiors     
Item 10 of 211905Great George Street/ Kersland Road Tenement  GlasgowScotlandTook over after construction was begun
Item 11 of 211905House at Maxwell ParkMaxwell Park GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 211905Tenements in Airlie Street and Novar Drive  GlasgowScotland 
Item 13 of 21After 19057 Bath Street  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 14 of 21After 1905Partick Saw MillsPartick GlasgowScotland 
Item 15 of 21After 1905Temple Sawmills (Messrs Robinson & Dunn)  GlasgowScotlandWith C J McNair as chief assistant - offices
Item 16 of 211906Alexandra Park tenements  GlasgowScotlandCompleted by C J McNair thereafter
Item 17 of 211906Tenements, Bute Gardens  GlasgowScotland 
Item 18 of 211906Tenements, Camphill Gate  GlasgowScotland 
Item 19 of 211907Four self-contained houses  GlasgowScotland 
Item 20 of 21c. 1908Forty-four cottages for English shipyard workersScotstoun GlasgowScotland 
Item 21 of 211910Zoo Electric TheatreCowcaddens GlasgowScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2RCAHMS1999Homebuilders: Mactaggart & Mickel and the Scottish housebuilding industry RCAHMSp14
Item 2 of Website of 'Glasgow - City of Scultpure', co-produced by Gary Nisbet and Tim Gardner 

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Research by Iain Paterson