© All rights reserved. Building News 4 July 1890 

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Basic Biographical Details

Name: Hugh Barclay
Designation: Architect
Born: 8 February 1829
Died: 25 November 1892
Bio Notes: Hugh Barclay was born in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire on 8 February 1829, the son of Hugh Barclay, sculptor and his wife Margaret Buchanan (W J Johnston) or Agnes R Marshall (Iain Paterson). He was articled to William Spence in 1845 and around 1854 he and another apprentice at Spence's, Alexander Watt, formed the partnership of Barclay & Watt. They established a reputation very early, first with the remarkable triple-arched cast-iron façade at 60-66 Jamaica Street in 1856-57 which took Baird and Spence's early experiments with cast-iron facades into a more three-dimensional form, and then with the refined and original classicism of the Ewing Place Church in Waterloo Street and the Corinthian Corn Exchange reconstruction on Hope Street, both in 1858. In or about 1857 James Sellars joined the practice as an apprentice, followed on 1 January 1861 by Hugh's much younger brother David, born 1846; both became members of Alexander Thomson's circle, David writing a memoir of him in 1904. The connection with Thomson was clearly a close one: David Barclay was married to Jane Ewing Walker, daughter of John E Walker, stabler and cab-hirer and Alexander Thomson's most important client. During his apprenticeship David started drawing under the painter A D Robertson and at the end of it undertook the continental study tour which was the foundation of his French and German influenced neo classicism.

The early success of the Barclay & Watt practice was not sustained into the next decade. By the mid-1860s they appear to have been seriously short of commissions. James Sellars left for James Hamilton's, although at least for a time some sort of working relationship remained, Dr Colin Sinclair (who joined the firm some years after Sellars's death) being uncertain as to its extent; and at or about the same date Alexander Watt left to re-commence practice on his own account with an office at 67 Renfield Street. But by January 1871 Hugh's business had picked up sufficiently for David to become a partner, their first joint work being the very sophisticated Italian Romanesque Duke Street United Presbyterian Church. The Convalescent Home at Kilmun followed in 1873 and in 1875 the firm made its name for a second time with the Albany Academy in Ashley Street which established their reputation for educational buildings and set a pattern for a long series of rather Germanic Italianate-profiled board schools with sophisticated neo-Schinkelesque banded rustication, pilastrades, architrave frames spanning several bays, unfluted Ionic columns and herms were their favourite motifs. Considerable numbers of their schools were built for the Glasgow area school boards throughout the later 1870s and earlier 1880s: Melville Street (1878), Pollokshields (two blocks, 1879 and 1882), Abbotsford Place, (two blocks again, 1879 and 1893), Springfield (1881), Harmony Row and Rutland Crecent (1883) and Hillhead High (1884), all in Glasgow, and Jean Street (1883) and Clune Park (1886) in Port Glasgow, the grandest of them being the privately funded new building for Glasgow Academy at Kelvinbridge (1878). Of these Rutland Crescent was virtually indistinguishable from the work of James Sellars.

In 1879 Charles Barry, Junior, President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, awarded the Barclays the commission for the new Municipal Buildings at Greenock. It was then by far the most ambitious project of the kind undertaken in Scotland, with a central public hall and an internal carriage drive closely modelled on English precedents, and one which escalated during construction when the Municipal Buildings in Glasgow threatened to put it in the shade. In deference perhaps to the assessor's known preferences, its facades were more Renaissance than Greek with domed corner towers, pedimented attic pavilions, and a 250-foot tower crowned by a Corinthian peristyle, all liberally enriched with granite-shafted columns and caryatid figures. It took the firm into the premier league and enabled it to ride out not only the severe recession of the 1880s but the professional disaster of David's arrest on a charge of culpable homicide (of which he was acquitted) following the collapse of a playshed at Pollokshields in 1882. The brothers won the competition for the unbuilt municipal buildings opposite the Clark Town Hall in Paisley in 1883 and secured the commission for the giant Sellarsesque Greek Ionic temple of St George-in-the -Fields in 1885, clearly designed as a challenge to Thomas Lennox Watson's Roman Corinthian Wellington UP Church of 1882.

In the later 1880s the Barclays abandoned pure neo-Greek detail in favour of straightforward Italian palazzo treatments first seen at Annette Street School in Govanhill in 1886, but best exemplified at Lorne Street, Govan (1892) which has Ionic aedicules, fluted dwarf attic pilasters and diamond panels. These buildings were still very chaste in design but after Hugh's death in 1892, uninhibited competition with the Northern European early Renaissance forms of architects such as James Thomson and his sons became the norm: indeed David set the pace for it in his competition win for J & P Coats Central Thread Agency Buildings on Bothwell Street in 1891, a long façade of thickly crowded aedicules, gables, turrets and chimneys which completely outdid the pioneer Glasgow examples of the genre, Thomas Lennox Watson's Citizen Building of 1889 on St Vincent Street Place and Alfred Waterhouse's Prudential Building on West Regent Street of 1890. Much more impressive as architecture than the Central Thread Agency was the giant Cumming and Smith warehouse of 1892 on Sauchiehall Street with its towering façade of deep giant arched recesses, extruded bay windows and dwarf-colonnaded eaves gallery, the arched recesses being enlarged and enriched red sandstone variants of those of his brother's cast-iron façade in Jamaica Street of thirty-five years earlier.

Hugh Barclay married Helen Thomson who was born c1836 or 1837 and they had three children: Hugh M, born c.1867, David born c.1874 and Flora, born c1878. In person Hugh Barclay was a man of impressive presence with a full beard. Unlike his brother, he never sought membership of the RIBA. He died intestate in Glasgow on 25 November 1892.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 10136, Buchanan Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18561857 
Item 2 of 10101, West Nile Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1858c. 1865 
Item 3 of 1029, Houston Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate18591861 
Item 4 of 10Sackville Place/136, Stirling's Road, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1865 or 1866  
Item 5 of 10112, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18671876 or 1877 
Item 6 of 102, Maule Terrace, Partick, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18711872 
Item 7 of 10136, Wellington Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18801891 
Item 8 of 106, Buckingham Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate18801891 
Item 9 of 106, Buckingham Street, Hillhead, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1888  
Item 10 of 10245, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1892  

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 3William Spencec. 1845c. 1850Apprentice 
Item 2 of 3Barclay & Wattc. 1854Mid 1860sPartner 
Item 3 of 3H & D Barclay18711892Partner 

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 1David Barclay1 January 1861 Apprentice 

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 641855Old Balgray Road development  GlasgowScotland 
Item 2 of 64c. 1856Business premises  GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 641857Colliseum  GlasgowScotland 
Item 4 of 641858Corn Exchange  GlasgowScotlandReconstruction
Item 5 of 641858Ewing Place Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 6 of 641865McLeod Memorial Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 7 of 641865Working Men's ClubBridgeton GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 641867Balinakill HouseClachan, North Kintyre ArgyllScotlandFrom 1867 onwards: alterations to original house
Item 9 of 641868Bryden Memorial Mission Hall and HomeSaltcoats AyrshireScotlandBegun part now called Byers House
Item 10 of 641869Campbell's Music Salon  GlasgowScotlandAlterations - vestibule and stairs
Item 11 of 641869Craigrownie UP ChurchCove DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 12 of 641872City of Glasgow Bank  GlasgowScotlandRefronting
Item 13 of 641872Convalescent HomeKilmun ArgyllScotland 
Item 14 of 641872Duke Street UP Church  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 15 of 641872Houses for North British Railway CompanyCowlairs GlasgowScotland 
Item 16 of 641873Mission SanatoriumSaltcoats AyrshireScotland 
Item 17 of 64187413, 15 Turnberry Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 18 of 6418745-11 Turnberry Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 19 of 641874Bryden Memorial Mission Hall and HomeSaltcoats AyrshireScotlandAddition
Item 20 of 641874Corner tenement, Turnberry Road and Hyndland Road  GlasgowScotlandJoint architect with John Baird the Second, but not in partnership
Item 21 of 641874Mansion House for Charles ConnellWhiteinch GlasgowScotland 
Item 22 of 641874Village of Dwellings for Steel Company of Scotland, HillsideCambuslang LanarkshireScotland 
Item 23 of 641875Albany Academy  GlasgowScotlandDavid Barclay mainly responsible
Item 24 of 641875Bank at East KilbrideEast Kilbride LanarkshireScotland 
Item 25 of 641875Church at BallantraeBallantrae AyrshireScotland 
Item 26 of 641875Tenement of mansion flats, Hamilton CrescentPartick GlasgowScotland 
Item 27 of 641876Bank at KilsythKilsyth StirlingshireScotland 
Item 28 of 641876Wellington Place Baptist Church  GlasgowScotlandCompetition design
Item 29 of 641877City of Glasgow Bank, New StreetDalry AyrshireScotland 
Item 30 of 641877Established ChurchCleland LanarkshireScotland 
Item 31 of 641877Glasgow AcademyKelvin Bridge GlasgowScotland 
Item 32 of 641877Partick AcademyPartick GlasgowScotlandDavid Barclay mainly responsible
Item 33 of 641877Regent Place UP ChurchDennistoun GlasgowScotland 
Item 34 of 641878Abbotsford School  GlasgowScotlandDavid Barclay mainly responsible
Item 35 of 641879Greenock Municipal BuildingsGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandWon competition and secured job
Item 36 of 641879St Andrew's Free ChurchGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 37 of 641880Polmadie Public SchoolPolmadie GlasgowScotlandDavid Barclay mainly responsible
Item 38 of 64c. 1880Grove Street School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 39 of 6418811-7 Hughenden Terrace, Hughenden Road and 6 Montague Lane  GlasgowScotland 
Item 40 of 641882Albert Road Academy  GlasgowScotland 
Item 41 of 641882Pollokshields School  GlasgowScotlandMelville Street building
Item 42 of 641882Springfield School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 43 of 64188310-20 Hyndland Road and 1 Montague Lane  GlasgowScotland 
Item 44 of 64188317-45 Cleveden Road and 1-98 Beaconsfield Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 45 of 641883Govan High SchoolGovan GlasgowScotland 
Item 46 of 641883Harmony Row SchoolGovan GlasgowScotland 
Item 47 of 641883Paisley Municipal BuildingsPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandScheme only
Item 48 of 641883Rutland Crescent School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 49 of 641884Hillhead High SchoolHillhead GlasgowScotland 
Item 50 of 641884Jean Street SchoolPort Glasgow RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 51 of 641885Hartwood AsylumShotts LanarkshireScotlandCompetition design, selected but not successful
Item 52 of 641886Clune Park SchoolPort Glasgow RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 53 of 641886Govanhill School Annette StreetGovanhill GlasgowScotland 
Item 54 of 641886Lamlash and Kilbride Parish ChurchLamlashArranButeScotland 
Item 55 of 641886St Georges in the Fields Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 56 of 641888Clydesdale Paint, Colour and Oil Works  GlasgowScotland 
Item 57 of 641889Bryden Memorial Mission Hall and HomeSaltcoats AyrshireScotland 
Item 58 of 641889City of Glasgow District Asylum for Pauper LunaticsGartcosh GlasgowScotlandSecond premiated competition design (£100 premium)
Item 59 of 641889Hillhead Congregational Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 60 of 641890Stewartville SchoolPartick GlasgowScotland 
Item 61 of 641891Cumming & Smith's warehouse  GlasgowScotlandCompleted by David Barclay after Hugh's death
Item 62 of 641891Glasgow Art Gallery and MuseumKelvingrove GlasgowScotlandCompetition design - unplaced
Item 63 of 641891J & P Coats Offices  GlasgowScotlandWon competition and secured job (completed by David Barclay after Hugh's death)
Item 64 of 641891Renton Parish ChurchRenton DunbartonshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 1Post Office Directories     

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder1892v63 p446 (Obituary)
Item 2 of 4Building Industries15 December 1892  Obituary
Item 3 of 4Building News4 July 1890  Article With portraits, pp10, 30 Nisbet;s Glasgow Sculpture website gives 4 April 1890)
Item 4 of 4Glasgow HeraldNovember 1892  Exact date to be checked

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1New Register HouseWills and Testaments  


© All rights reserved. Building News 4 July 1890 

© All rights reserved. Building News 4 July 1890