© All rights reserved. Building Industries 16 December 1919 (Who 

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Basic Biographical Details

Name: (Dr) Colin Sinclair
Designation: Architect
Born: 1879
Died: 26 October 1957
Bio Notes: Colin Sinclair was born in Glasgow in 1879, the son of John Sinclair, shipwright and Annie McGregor. His family came from Glassary in mid Argyll and in his youth he spent much of his time there with his grandparents. He was educated at Bellahouston Academy and articled to H & D Barclay just before Hugh's death in November 1892 and remained as an assistant after completing his apprenticeship in 1897. During that period he attended the University of Glasgow where he graduated MA and studied at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College and Glasgow School of Art under Professor Charles Gourlay and William James Anderson, his travels during the holidays seemingly being limited to Normandy. In 1907 he became assistant to Gourlay at the Royal Technical College, lecturing on both philosophical and constructional subjects, but he remained part-time senior assistant in the Barclay practice. Surprisingly he either did not sit or did not pass the qualifying exam, being admitted LRIBA on 6 June 1910, his proposers being Barclay, Robert William Horn and James Campbell Reid.

Sinclair's FRIBA nomination papers state that he commenced practice on his own account in 1911, which suggests that he became a junior partner in the Barclay firm at that date; in any case, he remained with the same firm until 1917 when he inherited it on David's death, continuing it under the same name thereafter. His practice was small and chiefly in Argyll but this was no barrier to him being admitted FRIBA in early 1921, proposed by William Brown Whitie, John Keppie and John Watson. By that time he had become involved in several professional societies, having been a president of the Architectural Craftsmen's Society, served as a member of the council of the Glasgow Institute of Architects, and become a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. In the inter-war years he was in partnership with John Begg Campbell (born 1882) who had also been articled to David Barclay, remaining in the office for twelve years and subsequently spending a year as Clerk of Works for Stranraer High School before being appointed designer of ship interiors for the Fairfield Shipbuilding Company Ltd in Govan.

The partnership of Sinclair & Campbell ended in 1940 when Sinclair again became sole partner. Although he kept the office open he had little architectural work and was chiefly occupied in scholarly pursuits related to West Highland culture which brought him a PhD, whose title was 'Celtic Art in Architecture'. He was one of the Scottish delegates to UNESCO from 1947 and published 'The Thatched Houses of the Old Highlands' in 1953. He was also a painter 'of some ability' in both oils and watercolours according to his RIBA obituarist and a composer. Sinclair was also the architect behind the Highland Clachans at both the 1911 and 1938 Empire Exhibitions and the Highlanders Institute at 27 Elmbank Street, Glasgow.

Sinclair married Jessie Wilson McIntyre, daughter of John Lindsay McIntyre of the school board offices, at 193 Bath Street on 24 June 1913. Their son Iain was living at Station House, Giffen, Beith at the time of Sinclair's death at his home 50 Ralston Avenue Crookston on 26 October 1957; he left estate of 5,255 19s 7d.

Publications (before 1920):
'Housing in the Highlands', in collaboration with Miss Campbell of Succoth
'Buildings and Dress in the Old Highlands'

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 843, McLean Street, Govan, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1892 *  
Item 2 of 8245, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1898After 1920 
Item 3 of 810, Gower Street, Ibrox, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1910After 1913 
Item 4 of 835, Clifford Street, Bellahouston, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1920 *  
Item 5 of 8440, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1924 *  
Item 6 of 8121, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 19291953 
Item 7 of 8Municipal Buildings, Inverary, ScotlandBusiness(?)1951  
Item 8 of 850, Ralston Avenue, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1957 *  

* 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 5H & D Barclay18921897Apprentice 
Item 2 of 5H & D Barclay18971900Assistant 
Item 3 of 5H & D Barclay19001911Senior AssistantPart-time, whilst assisting Charles Gourlay at the Royal Technical College
Item 4 of 5H & D Barclay1911After 1932Partner(?) 
Item 5 of 5Sinclair & Campbellc. 1919(?)1940Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6David Barclay6 June 1910for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 6Robert William Horn6 June 1910for Licentiateship
Item 3 of 6John KeppieEarly 1921for Fellowship
Item 4 of 6James Campbell Reid6 June 1910for Licentiateship
Item 5 of 6John WatsonEarly 1921for Fellowship
Item 6 of 6William Brown WhitieEarly 1921for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 9John Duncan Allan9 March 1948For Licentiateship
Item 2 of 9William BaillieLate 1922for Associateship
Item 3 of 9Herbert Mayer Barker22 April 1942for Fellowship
Item 4 of 9Sidney Wesley Birnage8 March 1937for Associateship
Item 5 of 9Donald John Cameron10 January 1956For Fellowship
Item 6 of 9Murdoch Currie29 March 1926for Associateship
Item 7 of 9Duncan Macpherson Hunter4 March 1941for Associateship
Item 8 of 9John McNab (or John MacNab)Late 1930 or early 1931for Licentiateship
Item 9 of 9Robert Sutherland7 May 1946For Associateship

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 35 Croftfoot School  GlasgowScotlandDate unknown
Item 2 of 351898The GarrochtyKingarthButeButeScotlandAs assistant to H & D Barclay
Item 3 of 351899Technical Higher Grade and Primary SchoolDunfermline FifeScotlandAs assistant to H & D Barclay
Item 4 of 351900Queen's Park Higher Grade School  GlasgowScotlandAs chief assistant to H & D Barclay
Item 5 of 35Late 1900 or early 1901Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College  GlasgowScotlandAs chief assistant to H & D Barclay, who won competition to secure job, after being invited to submit design
Item 6 of 351901J & P Coats Offices  GlasgowScotlandAs chief assistant to H & D Barclay - final phase of building (54-62 Bothwell Street)
Item 7 of 351903Bellahouston AcademyBellahouston GlasgowScotlandAddition of swimming pool and gymnasium block - with Samuel Preston as clerk of works
Item 8 of 351903Govan District AsylumGovan GlasgowScotlandAdditions - infirm ward pavilions and homes
Item 9 of 351908Swedenborgian New Jerusalem Church  GlasgowScotlandAs senior assistant to H & D Barclay
Item 10 of 351908Watt Memorial SchoolGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandAs assistant with H & D Barclay
Item 11 of 351911Scottish Exhibition of National History, Art and Industry, 1911, Highland Village (An Clachan)Kelvingrove GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 351912Glasgow University, Officers' Training Corps Headquarters  GlasgowScotland 
Item 13 of 351913Jordanhill Teacher Training CollegeJordanhill GlasgowScotlandBarclay won competition to secure job; Sinclair worked with him and completed construction after his death
Item 14 of 351913Ormidale HouseLoch Riddon ArgyllScotlandAdditions
Item 15 of 35After 1919Housing schemeBishopbriggs LanarkshireScotland 
Item 16 of 35After 1919Housing schemeInveraray ArgyllScotland 
Item 17 of 35After 1919Housing schemeTobermoryMullArgyllScotland 
Item 18 of 351920Office block for Blythswood Shipbuilding CompanyScotstoun GlasgowScotland 
Item 19 of 351920Royal Technical College War Memorial (within Barclay building)  GlasgowScotlandExecution
Item 20 of 351920War MemorialScarinish ArgyllScotland 
Item 21 of 351926Govan Combination Poorhouse and AsylumGovan GlasgowScotlandNurses' home extended, original asylum extended and Female Defectives Home built
Item 22 of 351930Memorial cairn to Evan McColl, Gaelic poetKenmure ArgyllScotland 
Item 23 of 351932Chemical WorksSt Rollox GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 351934Croftpark Public School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 25 of 351935Monument to Neil MunroCladich, Glen Aray ArgyllScotland 
Item 26 of 351938Dunvegan CastleDunveganSkyeInverness-shireScotlandRepairs to SW wing after fire damage
Item 27 of 351938Dunvegan Castle gatesDunveganSkyeInverness-shireScotland 
Item 28 of 351938Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College  GlasgowScotlandAdditions
Item 29 of 351938Stag HotelLochgilphead ArgyllScotland 
Item 30 of 35c. 1938Glasgow International Exhibition of 1938, design for a Highland clachan  GlasgowScotland 
Item 31 of 351944Design for a war memorial for the Gaelic Isles   ScotlandDesign exhibited
Item 32 of 351947H Pooley & Sons Limited  GlasgowScotlandAlterations and Additions
Item 33 of 351951Housing, Barn ParkInverary ArgyllshireScotland 
Item 34 of 35c. 1952Council Housing, Lochnell StreetLochgilphead ArgyllScotland 
Item 35 of 3517 July 1953Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College  GlasgowScotlandNew building


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 3RIBA1930The RIBA Kalendar 1930-1931 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 2 of 3RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 3 of 3RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 6Builder1 June 1951  p803
Item 2 of 6Builder8 June 1951  p837
Item 3 of 6Builder1 August 1952  p180
Item 4 of 6Builder17 July 1953  p121
Item 5 of 6Oban Times2 November 1957  Obituary
Item 6 of 6RIBA JournalApril 1958 London: Royal Institute of British ArchitectsObituary p212

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Family and address information from research by Iain Paterson
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers L v1 no54 (microfilm reel 29); F no1825 (microfilm reel 15)


© All rights reserved. Building Industries 16 December 1919 (Who 

© All rights reserved. Building Industries 16 December 1919 (Who's who series) (Courtesy of Iain Paterson)