Basic Biographical Details

Name: George Bell I
Designation: Architect
Born: 31 July 1814
Died: 4 January 1887
Bio Notes: George Bell was born on 31 July 1814 in Jedburgh, (the son of John Bell and Agnes Donaldson -W J Johnston- probably erroneous) and James Bell, builder and his wife Margaret Briggs (Iain Paterson), and joined the office of William Burn, having previously worked in the London office of Archibald Elliot II and his brother Alexander. In 1841 he made a joint competition entry with William Clarke (born 1809), while both were still in Burn's employ, for Lanarkshire County Buildings and the Merchant's House of Glasgow in which it was 'a condition…that each of the buildings was to have its individuality, but that together they would be in harmony'. Their design - what seems to be their perspective is now in NMRS - appears to have drawn inspiration from Harvey Lonsdale Elmes's original designs for St George's Hall and The Assize Courts in Liverpool when these were separate projects: Bell may have seen these when still in London. As a result of their success in the competition they formed a partnership which at once attained a place in the foremost rank of Scottish architects, a position consolidated by being premiated in the Edinburgh Free Church College competition two years later. The commission for the latter was, however, given to William Henry Playfair. By at least 1843 Clarke and Bell had opened an office in Glasgow at 135 Buchanan Street which seems to have also been their home address, a move further encouraged by the first of several commissions for the reconstruction of the Justiciary Courts in 1845. Together with Baird and Wilson, Clarke and Bell were the principal beneficiaries of the collapse of the D & J Hamilton/James Smith partnership in 1844.

Of the two partners, Clarke was the more active in public affairs. It was, however, Bell who sought membership of the RIBA during the Charles Barry Jun. - John Honeyman recruiting campaign, Clarke being by then sixty-nine and nearing retirement. Bell was admitted FRIBA on 16 December 1878, his proposers being John Baird II, John Honeyman and James Thomson.

Clarke's is the more readily identifiable architectural personality, with a marked predilection for shallow relief and Corinthian pilasters, his style changing little during his long career. The more three-dimensional columnar treatments and richer detail of the Caledonian and North British Insurance buildings were probably Bell's. In contrast to their refined classicism, their Gothic buildings were spiky, angular and hard-edged, perhaps influenced by the work of Billings.

Bell married twice; first to Beatrice Turnbull and then to Eliza Jenkins Turner. He died of encephalitis on 4 January 1887 at Invereoch Cottage, Kilmun. The practice, by then a loose partnership with Robert Alexander Bryden, (b. 1841), was continued by his son George Bell II (b. 1854), who had been articled to the firm in 1869 and became a partner in 1880.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 12Invereoch Cottage, Kilmun, Argyll, ScotlandPrivate 1887 
Item 2 of 12Tyne Castle Cottage, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate18401841May be George Bell I of Clarke & Bell who moved to Glasgow to undertake the building of the City & County Buildings after winning the competition.
Item 3 of 12Edgerston, Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, ScotlandPrivate1841  
Item 4 of 12135, Buchanan Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate/business18431845 
Item 5 of 12Lower Mosesfield, Springburn, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate18511854 
Item 6 of 1251, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18511856 
Item 7 of 12Florence Place, Stanley Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1856  
Item 8 of 122, Bank Street, Hillhead, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1860  
Item 9 of 1237, West Nile Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18601875 
Item 10 of 122, St Bernard Place, Hillhead, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1862  
Item 11 of 124, Viewfield Terrace, Hillhead, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1864  
Item 12 of 12212, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18801887and to after 1930 for Clarke & Bell)

Employment and Training

Employers

The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 4William BurnAfter 1820(?)1841Assistant 
Item 2 of 4Archibald Elliot IIc. 1820(?)Before 1841(?)ApprenticeIn office of Elliot with Elliot's brother Alexander.
Item 3 of 4Clarke & Bell1841Before 1887Partner 
Item 4 of 4Clarke & Bell and R A Bryden1875(?)Before 1887Partner 

RIBA

RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3John Baird the Second16 December 1878for Fellowship
Item 2 of 3John Honeyman16 December 1878for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3James Thomson16 December 1878for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 2David Barclay3 January 1881for Fellowship
Item 2 of 2John Bennie Wilson28 February 1910for Fellowship

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 120 Agricultural College  GlasgowScotlandExtensions - date unknown
Item 2 of 120 Blackburn, feuing planAyr AyrshireScotlandDate unknown (1915 plans appear to be by another hand), therefore it is uncertain which partners were involved
Item 3 of 120 Earlston SchoolEarlston BerwickshireScotlandDate unknown
Item 4 of 120 Manse at CoveCove  ScotlandDate unknown
Item 5 of 1201842City and County Buildings and second Merchants' House  GlasgowScotlandS & W sections including second Merchants' House
Item 6 of 1201844(?)National Bank of Scotland and Square of Business ChambersShawlands GlasgowScotlandCompetition design (probably), though it may relate to Municipal Buildings proposal of 1873
Item 7 of 1201846Abattoir, north side  GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 1201846Dodridge Farm HouseHopetoun West LothianScotland 
Item 9 of 1201846St LeonardsAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 10 of 120After 1846Abattoirs and Meat Market  GlasgowScotlandOriginal abbatoirs
Item 11 of 1201848Anderston Free Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 1201848Barony PoorhouseForesthill GlasgowScotlandOriginal building (including porter's lodge)
Item 13 of 1201848InverdonAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 14 of 1201848Victoria Park feuingAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 15 of 1201849Justiciary Court Houses  GlasgowScotlandReconstruction
Item 16 of 1201849SchoolAlloway AyrshireScotland 
Item 17 of 1201849SchoolhouseAlloway AyrshireScotland 
Item 18 of 1201850s(?)Cambusdoon HouseAlloway AyrshireScotlandPlans drawn up for vinery
Item 19 of 1201852Triangular block of shops, Jail Square  GlasgowScotland 
Item 20 of 1201853North British Insurance (Assurance) Office  GlasgowScotland 
Item 21 of 1201854Ayr Fort feuingAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 22 of 1201854Jedburgh Free ChurchJedburgh RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 23 of 120c. 1854Caledonian Insurance Office  GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 1201855Market Inn  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 25 of 120c. 1855Bakery buildings   Scotland 
Item 26 of 120c. 1855Brisbane Villa  Ayrshire?ScotlandPorch
Item 27 of 120c. 1855Dalziel Parish SchoolDalziel LanarkshireScotland 
Item 28 of 120c. 1855Dolphinton House and lodge  PeeblesshireScotlandGate lodge - perhaps prepared plans for work on house as well and certainly for greenhouse.
Item 29 of 120c. 1855Gatelodge for Mr KerrGareloch DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 30 of 120c. 1855Gothic villa for Mr Montgomrie [sic]     
Item 31 of 120c. 1855Hayston House, LodgeKirkintilloch DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 32 of 120c. 1855Hunthill HouseJedburgh? Roxburghshire?ScotlandAlterations, screen in corridor etc
Item 33 of 120c. 1855Hunthill House, stable officesJedburgh RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 34 of 120c. 1855Italian villa for Robert Henderson  BelfastNorthern Ireland 
Item 35 of 120c. 1855Kayenne CottageDunoon ArgyllScotland 
Item 36 of 120c. 1855Lady Belhaven's SchoolWishaw LanarkshireScotland 
Item 37 of 120c. 1855Mission Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 38 of 120c. 1855Mission ChurchGorbals GlasgowScotlandPlans drawn up - not selected
Item 39 of 120c. 1855Monument to Mr RobertsonDunoon ArgyllScotland 
Item 40 of 120c. 1855Royal Theatre  GlasgowScotland 
Item 41 of 120c. 1855Shopfront for Arnott & Co  GlasgowScotland 
Item 42 of 120c. 1855Stanley VillaPollokshields GlasgowScotland 
Item 43 of 120c. 1855Tombstone for J S FlemingCampsie StirlingshireScotland 
Item 44 of 120c. 1855VillaCampsie StirlingshireScotland 
Item 45 of 120c. 1855Villa for Mr Murdoch     
Item 46 of 120c. 1855Villa for Thomas ReidGarliston Lanarkshire?Scotland 
Item 47 of 1201857LedcamerochBearsden GlasgowScotland 
Item 48 of 1201857LochbraeBearsden GlasgowScotland 
Item 49 of 1201858Baronscourt Church  UlsterNorthern Ireland 
Item 50 of 1201859Abington House  LanarkshireScotland 
Item 51 of 1201859Justiciary Court Houses  GlasgowScotlandFurther reconstruction work
Item 52 of 1201860sAbattoir, south side  GlasgowScotlandPlans drawn up
Item 53 of 1201860sHawick Corn ExchangeHawick RoxburghshireScotlandPlans drawn up - not executed
Item 54 of 1201860sMotherwell First (United) UP ChurchMotherwell LanarkshireScotlandPrepared pans - but John Grahame Peat secured commission
Item 55 of 1201860Arkleton HouseLangholm DumfriesshireScotlandOriginal house
Item 56 of 1201860Corn ExchangeJedburgh RoxburghshireScotland'Builder' says he was responsible
Item 57 of 1201860Darlington Place UP ChurchAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 58 of 1201860Milton Rooms  GlasgowScotlandConversion of Milton Rooms to Magnet Music Hall
Item 59 of 1201860Water Office  GlasgowScotland 
Item 60 of 1201861Glasgow Royal Infirmary Surgical Hospital  GlasgowScotlandAdded to Adam's infirmary
Item 61 of 1201861Hamilton Burgh BuildingsHamilton LanarkshireScotland 
Item 62 of 120c. 1862Scottish National Albert Memorial  EdinburghScotlandCompetition design
Item 63 of 1201863Blantyre Parish ChurchBlantyre LanarkshireScotland 
Item 64 of 1201863Slaughter Houses, Market Street  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 65 of 1201866Property at High Street and Exchange StreetJedburgh RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 66 of 120c. 1866Manchester Town Hall  ManchesterEnglandCompetition design
Item 67 of 1201867Alexandra Music HallCowcaddens GlasgowScotland 
Item 68 of 1201867Langbank UP ChurchLangbank RenfrewshireScotlandCompetition design
Item 69 of 1201867Theatre Royal  GlasgowScotlandOriginal building
Item 70 of 1201868City and County Buildings and second Merchants' House  GlasgowScotlandAdditions to the east (Brunswick Street)
Item 71 of 1201868Jamestown Parish ChurchJamestown DunbartonshireScotlandBlantyre design reused
Item 72 of 120c. 1870Girvan UP ChurchGirvan AyrshireScotland 
Item 73 of 1201871City and County Buildings and second Merchants' House  GlasgowScotlandNorthern section - Council Chambers and Municipal Offices in Ingram Street
Item 74 of 1201871St Andrews Free ChurchKirkintilloch DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 75 of 1201872Hillhead Town Hall  GlasgowScotland 
Item 76 of 1201873Fish Market  GlasgowScotland 
Item 77 of 1201873Johnstone Memorial ChurchSpringburn GlasgowScotland 
Item 78 of 1201874Dunoon UP ChurchDunoon ArgyllScotland 
Item 79 of 1201874Lenzie Chapel of EaseLenzie Dunbartonshire/LanarkshireScotland 
Item 80 of 1201874Premises, Cadogan Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 81 of 1201875Clyde Spinning Mill  GlasgowScotland 
Item 82 of 1201875Home for Destitute Children  GlasgowScotland 
Item 83 of 1201875Partick, Hillhead and Maryhill Joint Hospital for Infectious Diseases  GlasgowScotlandOriginal building
Item 84 of 1201876Western Baths  GlasgowScotland 
Item 85 of 120c. 1876Established Church, HamiltonHamilton LanarkshireScotland 
Item 86 of 1201877Ayr Town HallAyr AyrshireScotlandExtension to High Street, and alterations - placed second in competition
Item 87 of 1201877Drill Hall and Headquarters for 1st Lanark Rifles  GlasgowScotland 
Item 88 of 120June 1877Trades House  GlasgowScotlandPlans for new building submitted for invited competition; subsequently abandoned after failure to reach a decision
Item 89 of 1201878Ayr AcademyAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 90 of 1201880Dunoon Infants' SchoolDunoon ArgyllScotland 
Item 91 of 120c. 1880RedheughKilbirnie AyrshireScotland 
Item 92 of 1201881Trochraigue HouseGirvan AyrshireScotlandAddition
Item 93 of 120c. 1881Glasgow Municipal Buildings  GlasgowScotlandCompetition design entered under the pseudonym Clutha
Item 94 of 1201884Dalnair HouseDrymen StirlingshireScotlandBuildings of Scotland wrongly ascribes this to James Bell, as does HS List
Item 95 of 1201884Dalnair House LodgeDrymen StirlingshireScotland 
Item 96 of 120c. 1884Seaman's Institute  GlasgowScotland 
Item 97 of 1201885AdamtonMonkton AyrshireScotland 
Item 98 of 1201886Broughton Parish ChurchCalzeat PeeblesshireScotlandRebuilding
Item 99 of 120Mid 1800sBonhill Parish ChurchBonhill DunbartonshireScotlandPlans for alterations?
Item 100 of 120Mid 1800sBothwell UP ChurchBothwell LanarkshireScotlandPlans drawn up
Item 101 of 120Mid 1800sCampbell's Music Salon  GlasgowScotlandNew entrance
Item 102 of 120Mid 1800sCommercial Bank of Scotland, Trongate  GlasgowScotlandPlans drawn up
Item 103 of 120Mid 1800sDesign for a villa for Mr McNeillAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 104 of 120Mid 1800sEast Kilbride UP ChurchEast Kilbride LanarkshireScotland 
Item 105 of 120Mid 1800sHotel   ScotlandPlans drawn up
Item 106 of 120Mid 1800sHouse   ScotlandPlans prepared
Item 107 of 120Mid 1800sHouse   ScotlandPlans drawn up
Item 108 of 120Mid 1800sLeck's Property  GlasgowScotlandPlans drawn up
Item 109 of 120Mid 1800sManseWishaw LanarkshireScotland 
Item 110 of 120Mid 1800sMr Adam Bryden's Cottage, Rachan MillBiggar (near) LanarkshireScotland 
Item 111 of 120Mid 1800sMr Bannatyne's house     
Item 112 of 120Mid 1800sMr Keir's VillaGarscadden GlasgowScotland 
Item 113 of 120Mid 1800sMr McCubbin's VillaLangside Hill GlasgowScotland 
Item 114 of 120Mid 1800sMr Monteith's villaAscogButeArgyll & ButeScotland 
Item 115 of 120Mid 1800sMr Robert Bell's villaWishaw LanarkshireScotland 
Item 116 of 120Mid 1800sOffices, West Nile Street  GlasgowScotlandAlterations?
Item 117 of 120Mid 1800sRachanBiggar LanarkshireScotland 
Item 118 of 120Mid 1800sReformed Presbyterian Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 119 of 120Mid 1800sRobertson Memorial Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 120 of 120Mid 1800sSpringburn ManseSpringburn GlasgowScotland 

References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Architects Engineers and Building Trades Directory1868Architect's, Engineer's and Building Trades' Directory London, Wyman 
Item 2 of 3Post Office Directories     
Item 3 of 3Scotlands People Website Wills & Testaments  Dunoon Sheriff Court Sc51/32/35

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Builder22 January 1887  Obituary
Item 2 of 2Builder12 November 1887   

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 Additional information from Iain Paterson
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v5 p121, microfiche 92/F6 - no job list