Basic Biographical Details

Name: Alexander Watt
Designation: Architect, Surveyor
Born: c. 1827
Died: After 1890
Bio Notes: Alexander Watt was born in Glasgow c. 1827 and articled to William Spence in Glasgow. About 1854 another apprentice at Spence's, Hugh Barclay, formed a partnership with him under the title of Barclay & Watt. They established a reputation very early, first with the remarkable triple-arched cast-iron fašade 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. In the mid-1860s it appears 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; and at or about the same date Alexander Watt left to re-commence practice on his own account, first of all at 67 Renfield Street and from c.1884 at 131 West Regent Street.

Watt painted in watercolours as well as practising as an architect. He appears to have visited the USA by the early 1860s: he married an American, Caroline B____, born in Connecticut, and their daughter Caroline was born c. 1865. In 1870 he exhibited a watercolour of rocks at Fredericksburg, Texas at the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect, surveyor:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 11136, Buchanan Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1856 *  
Item 2 of 1116, Cleland Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1857 *  
Item 3 of 11101, West Nile Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18581860 or 1861 
Item 4 of 11166, New City Road, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1860 *  
Item 5 of 1183, St Georges Place, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1861 *1862 
Item 6 of 11Dalreoch, Dunbartonshire, ScotlandPrivate1861 *1862 
Item 7 of 1167, Renfield Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 18651877 
Item 8 of 11Lenzie, Dunbartonshire/Lanarkshire, ScotlandPrivate1875 *  
Item 9 of 1110, Queen Mary Avenue, Cathcart, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1881 *  
Item 10 of 11131, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1884After 1888 
Item 11 of 11Lenzie, Dunbartonshire/Lanarkshire, ScotlandPrivate1887 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect, surveyor (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2William Spencec. 1850(?)c. 1854(?)Apprentice(?) 
Item 2 of 2Barclay & Wattc. 1854Mid 1860sPartner 

Buildings and Designs

This architect, surveyor 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 181857Colliseum  GlasgowScotland 
Item 2 of 181858Commercial Bank of Scotland, KilwinningKilwinning AyrshireScotland 
Item 3 of 181858Ewing Place Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 4 of 181864Kent Road UP Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 5 of 181866Dalmoak House; also gate lodges and stable courtyardRenton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 6 of 181867Langbank UP ChurchLangbank RenfrewshireScotlandCompetition design
Item 7 of 181867Lenzie Public hallLenzie Dunbartonshire/LanarkshireScotlandOriginal building
Item 8 of 181870Kipperoch HouseRenton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 9 of 181872Elgin Street UP Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 10 of 181874UP ChurchSkelmorlie AyrshireScotland 
Item 11 of 181875Broomloan Road Public SchoolGovan GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 181875Cumbrae Board SchoolMillportGreat CumbraeButeScotland 
Item 13 of 181876Slamannan Primary SchoolSlamannan StirlingshireScotlandOriginal building
Item 14 of 18187723-25 Belmont Street and 27 and 31 La Crosse Terrace  GlasgowScotland29 and 31 La Crosse Terrace
Item 15 of 181877Bonnybridge ChurchBonnybridge StirlingshireScotland 
Item 16 of 181878Grahams Road UP ChurchFalkirk StirlingshireScotland 
Item 17 of 181887Grain Store  GlasgowScotland 
Item 18 of 181887Regent Flour MillsPartick GlasgowScotlandOriginal buildings


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect, surveyor:
Item 1 of 3Architect's List1883Architect's List (sic- BAL)   
Item 2 of 3Architects Engineers and Building Trades Directory1868Architect's, Engineer's and Building Trades' Directory London, Wyman 
Item 3 of 3Kelly's Building Trades1886Kelly's Building Trades   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect, surveyor:
 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