Basic Biographical Details

Name: Smith & Baird
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1846
Ended: Early 1800s
Bio Notes: James Smith was born on 12 October 1808 at Alloa where his father, John Smith, married to Betsy Thomson, built the parish church to Gillespie Graham's designs in 1814-15. The father is said by Morland to have been originally a crofter. In 1826 the family moved to Glasgow where Smith senior was contractor for the Royal Exchange and the Royal Bank Buildings. He had an office there, and by 1830 a workshop at 100 Renfrew Street. It was probably through this connection that James Smith Junior met and, in March 1833, married David Hamilton's daughter Janet. By about 1837 he seems to have taken over from his father, appearing as an architect and builder at 4 Royal Bank Place with a house at Bedford Place on Renfrew Street, and designing in that year the Public Baths on West Nile Street. John Burnet, writing in the APSD, stated that Smith was associated with Hamilton in the design of the buildings at Royal Bank Place while the Sasines show that their ownership extended into Royal Exchange Square. The development did not sell and was let. In the early 1840s he moved house to Birkenshaw Cottage, Eastwood. Following David Hamilton's death in 1843, his son James Hamilton entered into a partnership with Smith, but in the following year the firm was sequestrated, apparently as a result of money owing on the Royal Exchange Square development. Smith survived but Hamilton withdrew from practice as a principal, thereafter apparently working for his brother-in-law as an assistant.

In 1846 Smith took John Baird the younger into partnership. Baird, no relation of John Baird 'Primus', had been born in November 1816 at Ayr, the son of Alexander Baird, shoemaker, and his wife Elizabeth Grange. About 1830 he was articled to James Watt, but after Watt's death in 1832 he completed his apprenticeship with John Herbertson. Thereafter he worked with John Fisher until Spring 1837 when he joined David and James Hamilton where he was very unusually allowed to put his name in the Directory. He remained with Hamilton & Smith after the formation of their partnership following David Hamilton's death, but commenced practice on his own account after the sequestration of the firm before rejoining Smith in partnership three years later.

The Smith & Baird partnership was not a success (presumably a financial failure) and was formally dissolved on 3 April 1848, the two partners practising separately thereafter. Baird formed another partnership with his brother-in-law, Alexander Thomson, in the following year.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness   

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3John Baird the Second18461848Partner 
Item 2 of 3Thomas Gildard1846(?)1848Assistant(?)It is possible, but by no means certain, that Gildard remained in the firm during this period
Item 3 of 3James Smith18461848Partner 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 4APSD The Dictionary of Architectureed Wyatt PapworthThe Architectural Publication Society (8v 1852-1892) 
Item 2 of 4Gildard, Thomas1895An Old Glasgow Architect on some Older OnesXXVIProceedings of the Royal Philosophical Society of GlasgowBaird
Item 3 of 4Morland, Nigel That Nice Miss Smith   
Item 4 of 4Worsdall, Frank1963Article on James SmithDecember 1963Scottish Field, December 1963 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Building News*  Check date of Smith obituary
Item 2 of 3Building News15 January 1864  Obituary of Smith
Item 3 of 3Perry's Bankrupt Gazette3 April 1848