© All rights reserved.  courtesy of Glasgow Institute of Architects © All rights reserved.  courtesy of Glasgow Institute of Architects © All rights reserved. RIAS Quarterly No43 Summer 1933 

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Basic Biographical Details

Name: Ninian Rutherford Jamieson Johnston
Designation: Architect
Born: 6 March 1912
Died: 11 November 1990
Bio Notes: Ninian Rutherford Jamieson Johnston was born at 2 Thornwood Drive, Partick on 6 March 1912, the son of John Neil Johnston, ship's engine patternmaker and his wife Agnes Connor who came from Dundee. He was engaged by Alfred George Lochhead as his office boy - the only member of staff - in 1926 and attended Glasgow High School's continuation classes until he reached university matriculation level at the age of sixteen. He then became Lochhead's articled apprentice and as the practice was seldom notably busy much time was devoted to his instruction in draughtsmanship and watercolour presentation. Concurrently he took evening classes at the Glasgow School of Architecture under _____ Adam, Jack Coia and later Mervyn Noad. In or about 1931 he obtained a scholarship to attend the School's full-time day course under Harold Hughes, to which Lochhead agreed only if he could continue to supervise his work, as Hughes was too often absent and he had a poor opinion of the teaching: his last task for Lochhead was to arrange the music stands for a quartet which met in his office.

Johnston had a distinguished record at the School, becoming deputy editor of 'Vista' and writing for the RIAS Quarterly. He obtained his diploma in June 1934 and was admitted ARIBA on 3 December of that year, his proposers being Thomas Harold Hughes, William James Smith and James Lochhead. Shortly thereafter he was engaged as an assistant by George Arthur Boswell at 10 a month 'generally paid late'.

Teaching at Glasgow School of Art's evening classes sufficiently supplemented his income for him to marry Helen Jackson in the same year, but by 1939 disagreements with Adam over the teaching at the School induced him to forgo the emoluments and resign.

In 1940 Johnston was called up and sent to north-west India with the Royal Engineers in which he rose to the rank of captain. He remained officially employed by Boswell throughout and returned to the office as a partner in 1943, the practice title becoming George A Boswell & Partners. Peter Mitchell was taken on as a third partner two years later. Within a very few years the partnership was firmly under Johnston's control as lead designer, securing major housing developments in Dumbarton and at Woodside and Pollokshaws in Glasgow. These were followed by a large number of schools and colleges in Glasgow, Hamilton, Falkirk, Callander and Aberdeen, the practice also continuing to maintain its pre-war reputation for high-quality industrial buildings with factories for Scottish Industrial Estates, IBM and Ciba-Geigy. Johnston was admitted FRIBA in 1951. Either shortly before this time or upon Boswell's death in 1952, the practice title became Boswell Mitchell & Johnston.

In person Johnston was of medium height, slightly built and distinguished looking, always fastidiously clad and unfailingly courteous. As his obituarist Frank Campbell observed there was 'an unswerving pursuit of integrity in everything he did'. He was President of the Glasgow Institute of Architects in 1966-68. The quality of his architecture brought election as ARSA in 1959, RSA in 1966 and membership of the Royal Fine Art Commission in 1969. Failing health compelled him to retire slightly earlier than he would have wished in 1976. The Johnstons then moved to the kinder climate of Compton Abdale in the Cotswolds where he practised - uncommercially - as a watercolourist and a designer of ecclesiastical fabrics. He died at Bourton-on-the-Water on 11 November 1990, survived by his wife, a son and two daughters.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 4117, Loanfoot Avenue, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1934 *  
Item 2 of 4Castle Chambers/55, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1934 *  
Item 3 of 45 (or 6), Glenbank Road, Lenzie, Dunbartonshire/Lanarkshire, ScotlandPrivate1939 or 1940 *After 1951 
Item 4 of 4256, West George Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1951 *  

* 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 5Mitchell, Johnston & Co  Partner 
Item 2 of 5Alfred George Lochhead19291931Apprentice 
Item 3 of 5George Arthur Boswell19341943Assistant 
Item 4 of 5George A Boswell & Partners19431950 or 1952PartnerBailey does not agree with this - says 1947
Item 5 of 5Boswell, Mitchell & JohnstonAfter 1951After 1970PartnerPartner from 1943 with George Boswell & Partners


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6George Arthur Boswell6 February 1951For Fellowship
Item 2 of 6Andrew Graham Henderson6 February 1951For Fellowship
Item 3 of 6Thomas Harold Hughes3 December 1934for Associateship
Item 4 of 6James Lochhead3 December 1934for Associateship
Item 5 of 6(Professor) William James Smith3 December 1934for Associateship
Item 6 of 6Edward Grigg Wylie6 February 1951For Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 10John Philip Boys4 February 1970For Fellowship
Item 2 of 10Alexander Buchanan Campbell6 December 1955For Fellowship
Item 3 of 10Frank Campbell1964For Fellowship
Item 4 of 10Richard Rudolphe Chitham De'Ath5 June 1968for Fellowship
Item 5 of 10Archibald Macintosh Doak17 July 1968For Fellowship
Item 6 of 10Sidney Thomas Gynn (erroneously found as Glynn)17 July 1968For Fellowship
Item 7 of 10Archibald Hunter McCartney (sometimes misspelt MacCartney)12 October 1954For Licentiateship
Item 8 of 10Thomas Russell Scott5 June 1968For Fellowship
Item 9 of 10James Boyne Watson2 March 1954For Licentiateship
Item 10 of 10Alistair Robertson Whitelaw (or Alexander Robertson Whitelaw)17 August 1968For 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 56 Eastmuir School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 2 of 56 Hamilton Teacher Training CollegeHamilton LanarkshireScotland 
Item 3 of 561934Templeton's Carpet Factory  GlasgowScotlandWas responsible for perspective showing 1934 addition (as assistant to Boswell)
Item 4 of 561939Perryston house and farm buildingsFisherton AyrshireScotlandAs assistant to Bowell - mainly responsible
Item 5 of 561945Queenslie Industrial EstateQueenslie GlasgowScotlandAs assistant to George Boswell
Item 6 of 561948Lomond Street  GlasgowScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 7 of 561950s(?)Adult Occupational Centre for Clydebank BurghClydebank DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 8 of 561950Chirnsyde School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 9 of 56c. 1950Chirnside Primary School and Janitor's House  GlasgowScotland 
Item 10 of 56Before 1951122 houses, Round Riding RoadDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandAs partner in charge
Item 11 of 56Before 1951Bellsmyre site developmentDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandAs partner responsible
Item 12 of 56Before 1951Castlehill site layout with houses, schools, shops, churches etcDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 13 of 56Before 1951Crosslet Residential NurseryDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandAs partner mainly responsible
Item 14 of 56Before 1951Ferguslie SchoolPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandAdditions - mainly responsible
Item 15 of 56Before 1951Milton Primary School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 16 of 56Before 1951Milton Secondary School  GlasgowScotlandMainly responsible
Item 17 of 561952International Business Machines (IBM) Factory at Spango ValleySpango Valley, Greenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 18 of 561953The White House of MillikenBrookfield Renfrewshire Further work
Item 19 of 561954Garthamlock Secondary School, Garthamlock Housing District (Site 1)Garthamlock GlasgowScotland 
Item 20 of 561956Concert Hall, Pavilion and Restaurant, Castle GardensDunoon ArgyllScotland 
Item 21 of 561957Hutchesons' Boys Grammar SchoolCrossmyloof GlasgowScotland 
Item 22 of 561958Woodcroft Primary SchoolGarthamlock GlasgowScotland 
Item 23 of 567 November 1958Auchentoshan School and Occupational UnitAuchentoshan DunbartonshireScotlandper Builder p773
Item 24 of 56Early 1950sHousing for BurghDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 25 of 561960sCowlairs Industrial Estate for SIECCowlairs GlasgowScotland 
Item 26 of 561960sDistrict HospitalGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 27 of 561960sHousing at NorwoodBearsden GlasgowScotland 
Item 28 of 561960sMcLaren High SchoolPerth PerthshireScotland 
Item 29 of 561960sPort Glasgow High SchoolPort Glasgow RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 30 of 561960sQueenslie Industrial EstateQueenslie GlasgowScotlandFurther units built?
Item 31 of 561960sQueen's Park School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 32 of 561960sRenfrew High SchoolRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 33 of 561960sSpecial SchoolBarlanark GlasgowScotland 
Item 34 of 561960sStudent residences for Craigie CollegeAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 35 of 561960sStudent residences for Hamilton CollegeHamilton LanarkshireScotland 
Item 36 of 561960sStudent residences for the College of Education  AberdeenScotland 
Item 37 of 561960sTourist CentreBannockburn StirlingshireScotland 
Item 38 of 561960sUniversity of Glasgow, Microbiology Unit  GlasgowScotland 
Item 39 of 561960Sacred Heart RC SchoolCumbernauld LanarkshireScotland 
Item 40 of 561960Woodside CDAWoodside GlasgowScotland 
Item 41 of 561961Block of Luxury FlatsKelvinside GlasgowScotland 
Item 42 of 561962Pollokshaws CDA Unit 2 housing, police station, library, schoolsPollokshaws GlasgowScotland 
Item 43 of 561962Seafar Primary SchoolCumbernauld LanarkshireScotland 
Item 44 of 56c. 1964Premises of James Anderson & Co (Colours) Ltd, Hawkhead RoadPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandLaboratory building
Item 45 of 561966Borestone Development Scheme, Phase 2Bannockburn StirlingshireScotland 
Item 46 of 5615 April 1966Cultural Centre for Glasgow, Buchanan St  GlasgowScotlandIndependent architect brought in to discuss possible modifications and alterations to city architect A. G. Jury's design following public and professional concern over the appearance of the building
Item 47 of 561968Perth Technical CollegePerth PerthshireScotlandBrahan Building
Item 48 of 561970Dumfries & Galloway Royal InfirmaryDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 49 of 561972Rutherglen Hospital and Health CentreRutherglen GlasgowScotland 
Item 50 of 56c. 1973Woodside Flats, St George's Road  GlasgowScotlandPartner in Charge
Item 51 of 56Before 1975McLaren High SchoolCallander PerthshireScotland 
Item 52 of 56Before 1975Premises for the Clydesdale Bank  GlasgowScotland 
Item 53 of 56Before 1975Shop for MothercarePerth PerthshireScotland 
Item 54 of 56Before 1975Shop for MothercarePaisley RenfrewahireScotland 
Item 55 of 56Before 1975Shop for MothercareAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 56 of 561977Inverclyde Royal Hospital  GlasgowScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 5Bailey, Rebecca M1996Scottish architects' papers: a source book Edinburgh: The Rutland PressAppears to give incorrect date for Rutherford's entering into partnership with Boswell
Item 2 of 5Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp29 Inverclyde Royal Hospital
p41 Photograph of Woodside Area B
p46 Pollokshaws CDA Unit 2 Photograph
Item 3 of 5Glendinning, Miles and Muthesius, Stefan1994Tower Block: Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland Yale University Press: New Haven and Londonp228 Pollokshaws CDA Unit 2
Item 4 of 5McKean, Charles1987The Scottish Thirties: An Architectural Introduction Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press 
Item 5 of 5RIBA1950The 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 7Builder4 March 1955  p396
Item 2 of 7Builder28 April 1961  'Glasgow Institute of Architects' p829 - appointed as member of council along with J A Kirkwood, C Fyfe, J A Coia and W H Sanders
Item 3 of 7Industrialised Building Systems and ComponentsOctober 1964  p71 Woodside CDA
Item 4 of 7InterbuildNovember 1961  p36-9 Pollokshaws CDA Unit 2
Item 5 of 7Official Architecture and PlanningMarch 1958  p126-9 Pollokshaws CDA Unit 2
Item 6 of 7RIAS NewsletterJanuary 1991v2, no5 Death note
Item 7 of 7The Independent22 November 1990  Obituary

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 Manuscript recollections of the 1930s written to Charles McKean; personal recollections of David M Walker; additional research by Iain Paterson
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no5538 (stored under F4584, combined box 23); F no4584 (combined box 23)


© All rights reserved.  courtesy of Glasgow Institute of Architects 

© All rights reserved. courtesy of Glasgow Institute of Architects

© All rights reserved.  courtesy of Glasgow Institute of Architects 

© All rights reserved. courtesy of Glasgow Institute of Architects

© All rights reserved. RIAS Quarterly No43 Summer 1933 

© All rights reserved. RIAS Quarterly No43 Summer 1933