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Basic Biographical Details

Name: George Arthur Boswell
Designation: Architect
Born: 1879
Died: 15 January 1952
Bio Notes: George Arthur Boswell was born in 1879, the son of James Boswell, draper, and Isabella Vallence. In June 1895 he was articled to William Edwards of Wolverhampton, remaining there as assistant until 1901. In the latter year he moved to the office of Messrs Welman and Street (Samuel Welman) of Godalming, Surrey, and finally in 1902 to James Miller's in Glasgow before setting up in practice at that city in 1905. In the following year he was working in partnership with James Macintyre (or McIntyre - sources vary), of whom no details are known. The partnership appears to have been short-lived, their only known work being the reconstruction of the former Britannia Music Hall in Trongate, Glasgow to form the Panopticon. The client for this was the building's new owner A E Pickard - "a 'character' who drove a Buick with a windscreen which could only be seen out of so that the car apparently travelled along Sauchiehall Street driverless… he discharged his accounts in threepenny pieces in canvas bags". Within a few years Boswell had established himself as a cinema specialist, with Pickard as his main client. Boswell's early work was strongly influenced by Miller, particularly in the use of faience, his best cinema being the La Scala in Dundee which had a tower surmounted by a golden globe. Boswell apparently continued to assist Miller during his earliest years of independent practice as Ninian Rutherford Jamieson Johnston, who joined the practice c.1934, knew that Boswell had been largely responsible for James Miller's New Savoy Theatre in Hope Street (1911), also carried out in faience.

Boswell was elected LRIBA in the mass intake of 20 July 1911, proposed by John Bennie Wilson and the Glasgow Institute of Architects. He was admitted FRIBA in late 1920 or early 1921, his proposers being John Watson, William Brown Whitie and John Keppie. By this time he was designing industrial buildings and his FRIBA nomination papers state that his practice was occupied with factory contracts during the First World War.

Boswell was President of the Glasgow Institute of Architects c.1930. During the following decade he became one of Glasgow's most accomplished modernist designers as at the 1934 and 1936 blocks at Templeton's Carpet Factory, but he was an equally accomplished designer of period detail as can be seen in the refined metal work of Ciro's shopfront on Buchanan Street of 1926-27. From October 1931 onwards he also ran a branch office in Wolverhampton, of which the English architect Albert Hartwell was in charge.

Boswell was slightly eccentric wearing yellow clothes and hand-made leather shoes. In August 1985 Ninian Johnston recalled that 'he sketched, freehand, on any old piece of paper, which he then gave to an assistant to develop. He supervised the development of the assistant's board with attention to detail and construction (he had a wide knowledge of construction and many original ideas)'. The drawings in the office were 'done in ink in the crisp style of that period'. The best presentation drawings were the work of Archibald Paton, later County Architect of Inverness-shire.

After the Second World War the practice became George A Boswell & Partners when Ninian Johnston and Peter Mitchell were taken into partnership. Boswell died of prostate cancer on 15 January 1952 at White House, Milliken, which he had converted for his own use. He was survived by his wife Margaret Louise Napier whom he had married in 1910. The firm was continued by the surviving partners as Boswell, Mitchell & Johnston.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 56, Doune Quadrant, Kelvinside, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1911 *  
Item 2 of 553, Bothwell Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1911 *  
Item 3 of 519, Waterloo Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness19111915 
Item 4 of 5256, West George Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1917 *1952 
Item 5 of 5White House, Milliken, Renfrewshire, ScotlandPrivate19201952 

* 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 7William EdwardsJune 1895c. June 1900ApprenticeRemained as assistant 1900-01.
Item 2 of 7William Edwardsc. June 1900c. May 1901Assistant 
Item 3 of 7Welman & Streetc. May 1901c. May 1902Assistant 
Item 4 of 7Samuel Welmanc. 1901c. 1902  
Item 5 of 7James Millerc. May 1902c. November 1905Assistant 
Item 6 of 7Boswell & Macintyre (or Boswell & McIntyre)c. 1906Before 1910Partner 
Item 7 of 7George A Boswell & Partners19431952Partner 

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 13Malcolm Livingston McIsaac  Assistant 
Item 2 of 13Stephen Welsh1912 or 19131914AssistantDate unclear on Associateship paper
Item 3 of 13John Wellwood Manson19171922Apprentice 
Item 4 of 13Duncan Macpherson HunterAfter 1918Before 1920Assistant 
Item 5 of 13William Grant Weir19191924Apprentice 
Item 6 of 13Walter Welsh Forsythe19211926Apprentice 
Item 7 of 13William Grant Weir19241928Assistant 
Item 8 of 13Archibald Gilchrist PatonBefore 1930Before 1935Assistant(?) 
Item 9 of 13Albert HartwellOctober 1931After 1945Chief AssistantIn charge of Boswell's Wolverhampton office
Item 10 of 13Ninian Rutherford Jamieson Johnston19341943Assistant 
Item 11 of 13Stella Marcia Scott (Miss)19351936AssistantFor 9 months
Item 12 of 13Adam Paton19361936Assistant 
Item 13 of 13Gordon Buchanan Biggar1939 Second Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 4John KeppieLate 1920 or early 1921for Fellowship
Item 2 of 4John WatsonLate 1920 or early 1921for Fellowship
Item 3 of 4William Brown WhitieLate 1920 or early 1921for Fellowship
Item 4 of 4John Bennie Wilson20 July 1911for Licentiateship - as President of the Glasgow Institute of Architects

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 37George Boag Baird15 October 1930for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 37James BellLate 1932for Associateship
Item 3 of 37John Alexander Browning5 March 1934for Associateship
Item 4 of 37Archibald Thomson Caldwell1930 or 1931for Licentiateship
Item 5 of 37James Gavin Callander11 August 1930for Licentiateship
Item 6 of 37James Carrick6 February 1939for Fellowship
Item 7 of 37Henry ('Harry') CookLate 1930 or early 1931for Licentiateship
Item 8 of 37Henry ('Harry') Cook1931for Fellowship
Item 9 of 37William CowieLate 1933 or early 1934for Fellowship (proposed 10 July 1933, elected on unknown date, signed declaration 2 January 1934)
Item 10 of 37Mary Elizabeth Currie (Mrs Taylor) 20 April 1941for Associateship
Item 11 of 37Andrew Douglas15 October 1930for Licentiateship
Item 12 of 37(Colonel) George Hunter Gardner-McLeanEarly 1931for Licentiateship
Item 13 of 37James Nisbet GilmoreLate 1930 or early 1931for Licentiateship
Item 14 of 37Archibald Sinclair Gold1931for Licentiateship
Item 15 of 37Andrew Hamilton1931for Fellowship
Item 16 of 37Andrew HamiltonEarly 1931for Licentiateship
Item 17 of 37Albert Hartwell4 January 1945for Licentiateship
Item 18 of 37Andrew Graham HendersonLate 1930for Fellowship
Item 19 of 37Duncan Macpherson Hunter4 March 1941for Associateship
Item 20 of 37Ninian Rutherford Jamieson Johnston6 February 1951For Fellowship
Item 21 of 37Alexander Hodge LivingstoneEarly 1932for Associateship
Item 22 of 37James Steel MaitlandLate 1931for Licentiateship
Item 23 of 37James Steel MaitlandEarly 1932for Fellowship
Item 24 of 37Alexander McAnally (sometimes misspelt McNally or Macannally)20 December 1950for Fellowship
Item 25 of 37John McNab (or John MacNab)Late 1930 or early 1931for Licentiateship
Item 26 of 37Henry Sloan McNair15 October 1930for Licentiateship
Item 27 of 37Alexander MillerEarly 1933for Associateship
Item 28 of 37Richard Mervyn Noad (or simply Mervyn Noad)10 October 1950for Fellowship
Item 29 of 37Adam Paton8 March 1937for Associateship
Item 30 of 37John Alistair RossEarly 1931for Licentiateship
Item 31 of 37George Ferguson Smellie Shanks11 March 1947for Fellowship
Item 32 of 37William Fraser Tytler Stewart15 October 1930for Licentiateship
Item 33 of 37James TaylorEarly 1931for Licentiateship
Item 34 of 37Alastair Frew Wallace (or Alexander Frew Wallace)10 October 1950for Fellowship
Item 35 of 37William Grant Weir4 June 1928for Associateship
Item 36 of 37Edward Grigg Wylie11 March 1947for Fellowship
Item 37 of 37Frederick Robert Wylie11 March 1947For 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 66 RanfurlyScotstounhill GlasgowScotland 
Item 2 of 661902(?)Central Station Hotel  GlasgowScotlandExtension - as assistant to James Miller
Item 3 of 661902(?)Glasgow Central Station  GlasgowScotlandExtension - as assistant to James Miller
Item 4 of 661902(?)Glasgow Royal Infirmary  GlasgowScotlandAs assistant to James Miller
Item 5 of 66After 1902Mansion Houses of Lord Inverclyde   ScotlandReconstruction - as assistant to James Miller
Item 6 of 66After 1905CinemaDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 7 of 66After 1905CinemaCarlisle CumberlandEngland 
Item 8 of 66After 1905House for George H HalleyScotstounhill GlasgowScotland 
Item 9 of 66After 1905House for J Campbell Fyfe EsqKilmacolm/Kilmalcolm RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 10 of 66After 1905House for William McCulloch GrantCreetown KirkcudbrightshireScotland 
Item 11 of 66After 1905HousesWhitecraigs GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 66After 1905Shops and houses for Co-Operative SocietyUddingston LanarkshireScotland 
Item 13 of 66After 1905Shops and houses for Co-Operative Society, TannochsideUddingston LanarkshireScotland 
Item 14 of 66After 1905Skating RinkGovan GlasgowScotland 
Item 15 of 66After 1905Skating RinkFalkirk StirlingshireScotland 
Item 16 of 66After 1905TenementsKilbowie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 17 of 66After 1905TenementsPort Glasgow RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 18 of 661906Campbell's Music Salon  GlasgowScotlandAlterations for cinema use. Proposed new staircases - plans submitted to Dean of Guild 1906
Item 19 of 661909Bridgeton Cross Picture TheatreBridgeton GlasgowScotland 
Item 20 of 661909Charing Cross Picture Theatre  GlasgowScotland 
Item 21 of 661909Dennistoun Roller Skating RinkDennistoun GlasgowScotlandRoller skating rink
Item 22 of 661910Argyle Picture Theatre  GlasgowScotland 
Item 23 of 661911Casino Cinema  GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 661911Dennistoun Roller Skating RinkDennistoun GlasgowScotlandConversion of roller skating rink into dance hall and cinema
Item 25 of 66After 1911Halley's Industrial Motor Works and officesYoker GlasgowScotland 
Item 26 of 66After 1911Parkhead Forge, office blocks for William Beardmore & CompanyParkhead GlasgowScotland(also other work for same company)
Item 27 of 66After 1911Woodside Engineering Works  GlasgowScotland 
Item 28 of 661912Paisley Picture HousePaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 29 of 661913La Scala Cinema  DundeeScotland 
Item 30 of 661913La Scala Picture Theatre  DundeeScotland 
Item 31 of 661913St Enoch Picture Theatre  GlasgowScotland 
Item 32 of 661914Seamore Cinema  GlasgowScotlandWith R A Thomas
Item 33 of 661916Savoy Music Hall  GlasgowScotlandReconstruction as New Savoy
Item 34 of 661919New Grand Cinema  GlasgowScotland 
Item 35 of 661920Black Cat CinemaBridgeton GlasgowScotland 
Item 36 of 66c. 1923The White House of MillikenBrookfield Renfrewshire Orginally factor's house, bought by Goerge Arthur Boswell and enlarged using the materials from Milliken House.
Item 37 of 661924Mount Florida Parish Church, War Memorial hall  GlasgowScotland 
Item 38 of 661926Ciro Shopfront and fittings  GlasgowScotland 
Item 39 of 661927Templeton's Carpet Factory  GlasgowScotlandVarious additions (see events) including 'new factory' in Craignestock Place
Item 40 of 661930Goldberg's Warehouse  GlasgowScotlandNew warehouse?
Item 41 of 661931Templeton's Carpet Factory  GlasgowScotlandOffices and warehouse for James Templeton & Co
Item 42 of 661934Hydepark Bakery  GlasgowScotland 
Item 43 of 661934Templeton's Carpet Factory  GlasgowScotlandRailway Mill, Bridgeton, extension
Item 44 of 661935Goldberg's Warehouse  GlasgowScotlandExtension?
Item 45 of 661936Ard LussHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandMaids' quarters
Item 46 of 661936Confectionery works at Anniesland for Birrell LtdAnniesland GlasgowScotland 
Item 47 of 661936St Enoch Picture Theatre  GlasgowScotlandNew building on same site proposed but scheme may have been abandoned.
Item 48 of 661936Williamfield   Scotland 
Item 49 of 661937Eastwood Secondary SchoolGiffnock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 50 of 661938Argyle Picture Theatre  GlasgowScotlandRebuilding as Argyle Picture House.
Item 51 of 661939Abercorn SchoolPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandAnnexe
Item 52 of 661939Dalmuir Trading Estate  GlasgowScotland 
Item 53 of 661939Newall Ltd Engineering WorksPossil GlasgowScotlandExtension
Item 54 of 661939Perryston house and farm buildingsFisherton AyrshireScotlandWith Ninian Johnston as assistant
Item 55 of 661940Newall LtdPossil GlasgowScotland 
Item 56 of 661941Country House at Miliken Estate  GlasgowScotland 
Item 57 of 661945Balmore Road  GlasgowScotlandExtension
Item 58 of 661945Queenslie Industrial EstateQueenslie GlasgowScotland 
Item 59 of 661947Richard Crittall Ltd Premises  GlasgowScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 60 of 661948Lomond Street  GlasgowScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 61 of 66Before 1951Bellsmyre site developmentDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 62 of 66Before 1951Castlehill site layout with houses, schools, shops, churches etcDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 63 of 66Before 1951Crosslet Residential NurseryDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 64 of 66Before 1951Ferguslie SchoolPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandAdditions
Item 65 of 66Before 1951Milton Primary School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 66 of 66Before 1951Milton Secondary School  GlasgowScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 3British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 3RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 3 of 3Walker, Frank Arneil1986South Clyde Estuary: An Illustrated Architectural Guide to Inverclyde and Renfrew  p14, p78

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 4H M Register HouseDeath Register  
Item 2 of 4National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSNMRS Architects Index  
Item 3 of 4Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Recollections by Ninian Johnston, August 1985
Item 4 of 4RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers L v16 no1132; F no1756 (microfilm reel 14)


© All rights reserved. © Courtesy of bmj architects 

© All rights reserved. © Courtesy of bmj architects