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Basic Biographical Details

Name: Peter Macgregor Chalmers
Designation: Architect
Born: 14 March 1859(?)
Died: 15 March 1922
Bio Notes: Peter Macgregor Chalmers was born on 14 March 1859, the son of George Chalmers, mechanical engineer, and his wife Jane Macgregor. He was educated at Glasgow Secular School and articled to John Honeyman.

Chalmers commenced business on his own account in Glasgow in 1887, his first building being the Established Church at Cardonald. Fairly early in his career Chalmers secured the patronage of the Rev John MacLeod of Govan, resulting in a number of commissions for extension churches within Govan Parish.

Chalmers' practice was almost exclusively church work, his only significant secular commission being Neptune Buildings, a design of great originality with Romanesque-inspired detail. Most of his churches were in a distinctive Romanesque manner which appears to have its origin in the church work of William Henry Lynn of Belfast in the mid-1880s but Chalmers' details were generally Scottish rather than Irish in origin, St Regulus at St Andrews being a particular source of inspiration for his towers. In some of his later churches continental inspiration is more in evidence, German at St Margaret's Episcopal Newlands and Italian at St Ann's Corstorphine.

Chalmers' literary output as an author was considerable and was notable for a marked tendency to disagreement with John Honeyman which erupted in the Glasgow Herald between 11th and 22nd March 1898 on the subject of the Govan sarcophagus and with Thomas Lennox Watson on the subject of the double choir of Glasgow Cathedral. The more important of his writings were 'Glasgow Cathedral' in Bell's Cathedral series, 'A Scots Medieval Architect' (John Morro) (1895), 'St Ninian's Candid Casa', 'The Govan Sarcophagus', 'Dalmeny Kirk', 'The Shrine of St Constantine' and 'The Shrines of St Margaret and St Kentigern'.

Chalmers married Barbara Greig Steel (1860-1939) of 7 Annfield Terrace, Partick in her home on 15 March 1905. She was the daughter of a decorator, also described as a calenderer and packer.

Chalmers had travelled in France, Morocco and the Unites States by 1909, and was a collector of Scottish mediaeval objets d'art. He was made an Hon LLD of the University of Glasgow in 1920. He suffered from angina and died suddenly of a heart attack at 1 Merchiston Bank Gardens, Edinburgh on 15 March 1922 when on a visit to his cousin The Rev R H Fisher. His funeral was held on 18 March 1922 and he was buried in the Glasgow Necropolis. He left moveable estate of 5,267 13s 4d.

Chalmers never sought admission to the RIBA, but his reputation was such that an obituary was published on his death. Although not an architect, his wife was active in the business and continued it with her nephew, Chalmers' pupil John Jeffrey Waddell: Chalmers' larger commissions at the time of his death, the restoration of Paisley Abbey and the completion of St Ann's Cathedral Belfast, were not retained by the practice.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 811, Lilybank Gardens, Hillhead, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate   
Item 2 of 816, Hayburn Crescent, Partick, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1888 *1891 
Item 3 of 8176A, Hope Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 18881897(?)Sources vary: Bath Street or Hope Street?
1888 PO directory states 176 Hope Street
Item 4 of 8176 1/2, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1889After 1895Sources vary: Bath Street or Hope Street?
Item 5 of 895, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 18971922 
Item 6 of 852, Lawrence Place, Dowanhill, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1900 *  
Item 7 of 82, Hillend Gardens, Partick, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1905 *  
Item 8 of 8Bath Hotel, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1922 *  

* 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 1John Honeymanc. 1874(?) Apprentice 

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 17John Gillespie  Apprentice 
Item 2 of 17Thomas McGill Cassels18911895Principal Assistant 
Item 3 of 17John Jeffrey Waddellc. 1891(?)c. 1896(?)Apprentice 
Item 4 of 17James Carrick4 June 1893March 1899ApprenticeRemained as assistant
Item 5 of 17James Carruthers Walker18981900Assistant 
Item 6 of 17Alexander Cochran DennyMarch 1899November 1899Assistant 
Item 7 of 17Walter Alexander1901c. 1906Apprentice 
Item 8 of 17Archibald Sinclair Gold19061913Apprentice 
Item 9 of 17Walter Alexanderc. 19061911Assistant 
Item 10 of 17Graham Conacher YoungAfter 19091913Assistant 
Item 11 of 17Duncan Turner Thomson1913 * Assistant 
Item 12 of 17(Colonel) Herbert Morgan Smail19131914Assistant 
Item 13 of 17Thomas Peach Weir Young1913 or 1914After 1921Assistant 
Item 14 of 17Robert WilsonAfter 1915 Assistant 
Item 15 of 17George William Robertson19171922Apprentice 
Item 16 of 17John Jeffrey1920c. 1925Apprentice 
Item 17 of 17George William Robertson19221924Assistant 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 146 Glasgow golf clubhouse  GlasgowScotlandDate unknown
Item 2 of 146 Penpont Parish ChurchPenpont DumfriesshireScotlandPanelling in chancel (date uncertain)
Item 3 of 1461887Cardonald Established ChurchCardonald GlasgowScotland 
Item 4 of 1461888Cottage for J & P CoatsPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 5 of 1461888Design for small country church     
Item 6 of 1461889Victoria Park, Fossil HousePartick GlasgowScotland 
Item 7 of 1461891Iona Abbey IonaArgyllScotlandProposed restoration - not carried out
Item 8 of 1461891Jedburgh Parish ChurchJedburgh RoxburghshireScotlandAdditions, chancel etc
Item 9 of 1461892Crailing ChurchCrailing RoxburghshireScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 10 of 1461892Stables, Old Sneddon Street and West Croft StreetPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandAlterations
Item 11 of 1461893Abercorn Parish ChurchAbercorn West LothianScotlandRestoration
Item 12 of 1461894Gailes Club House  AyrshireScotland 
Item 13 of 1461894Jedburgh AbbeyJedburgh RoxburghshireScotlandPartial excavation at east end of church
Item 14 of 1461895Design for a proposed new church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 15 of 1461896Marine Biological Station, Keppel PierMillportGreat CumbraeButeScotlandJournal reference
Item 16 of 1461896Willowbank Bowling ClubDowanside GlasgowScotland 
Item 17 of 146c. 1896Five tenements in Crow Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 18 of 1461897Kilchoman New Parish ChurchBruichladdichIslayArgyllScotland 
Item 19 of 1461897Morvern Church  ArgyllScotland 
Item 20 of 1461897Old Kilpatrick Parish ChurchOld Kilpatrick DunbartonshireScotlandChancel furnishings
Item 21 of 1461897St Bride's ChurchPartick GlasgowScotland 
Item 22 of 1461897St Kiaran's ChurchPort CharlotteIslayArgyllScotland 
Item 23 of 1461897St Margaret's Church, halls and mansePolmadie GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 1461897St Mark's ChurchMorningside EdinburghScotland 
Item 25 of 146c. 1897St Kenneth's ChurchGovan GlasgowScotland 
Item 26 of 1461898Glenluce Abbey  WigtownshireScotlandRestoration
Item 27 of 1461898Keil ChurchLochaline ArgyllScotlandAttribution by 'Buildings of Scotland ' and HS
Item 28 of 1461898LaundryKelvinside GlasgowScotland 
Item 29 of 1461898South Queensferry Parish ChurchSouth Queensferry West LothianScotlandRepairs and refurnishing
Item 30 of 1461898St Ninian's ChapelIsle of Whithorn WigtownshireScotlandRestoration
Item 31 of 146c. 1898Stepps Established ChurchStepps LanarkshireScotland 
Item 32 of 146189965-73 Highburgh Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 33 of 1461899Carnoustie Parish ChurchCarnoustie AngusScotland 
Item 34 of 1461899St Monans Parish ChurchSt Monans/St Monance FifeScotlandExtensive repairs and vestry
Item 35 of 1461900Ardwell ChurchWigtown WigtownshireScotland 
Item 36 of 1461900Inverkeithing Parish ChurchInverkeithing FifeScotlandRefurnishing, reconstruction and repairs
Item 37 of 146c. 1900Kilmun Parish ChurchKilmun ArgyllScotlandReconstruction and addition of hall.
Item 38 of 146c. 1900Kirk Yetholm Parish ChurchKirk Yetholm RoxburghshireScotlandNew fittings and vestry
Item 39 of 1461901Maryculter Church, Monument to Rev. George DuncanMaryculter AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 40 of 1461901Public House, 6-8 Sinclair StreetHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandAlterations
Item 41 of 1461901Scoonie Parish ChurchLeven FifeScotlandRebuilding of 1775 church
Item 42 of 1461901Tenement in Dundas Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 43 of 1461902Forres ChurchForres MorayshireScotlandCompetition desgn (unsuccessful) Journal reference
Item 44 of 1461902Holy Trinity Parish ChurchSt Andrews FifeScotlandRestoration and reconstruction (planned 1902, executed 1907-9) - cost 23,000
Item 45 of 1461902St Leonard's Church and manseSt Andrews FifeScotlandBuilding supervised by David Henry
Item 46 of 1461903Glasgow Cathedral, Grainger Memorial nave pulpit  GlasgowScotland 
Item 47 of 1461903St Columba's ChurchBlackhall EdinburghScotland 
Item 48 of 1461903St Leonard's Church and hallDunfermline FifeScotland 
Item 49 of 1461903TaymouthSkelmorlie AyrshireScotland 
Item 50 of 1461904Kilmore Parish ChurchDervaigMullArgyllScotland 
Item 51 of 1461904St Ninian's ChurchPrestwick AyrshireScotland 
Item 52 of 1461904St Serf's Parish ChurchTullibody ClackmannanshireScotland 
Item 53 of 1461905Culross Abbey ChurchCulross FifeScotlandRestoration - apparently completing restoration begun by R R Anderson. Also new organ case (executed by Mackay & Co)
Item 54 of 1461905Elie Parish ChurchElie FifeScotlandEast porch, vestry and organ chamber
Item 55 of 1461905Hoselaw ChapelLinton RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 56 of 1461905Saline Parish ChurchSaline FifeScotlandRepairs and refurnishing
Item 57 of 1461905St Columba's ChurchElgin MorayshireScotland 
Item 58 of 146c. 1905Melrose AbbeyMelrose RoxburghshireScotlandVarious repairs
Item 59 of 1461906Dennistoun Established ChurchDennistoun GlasgowScotland 
Item 60 of 1461906Kirn Parish ChurchDunoon ArgyllScotland 
Item 61 of 1461906Neptune Buildings  GlasgowScotland 
Item 62 of 1461906St Andrew's Parish Church  GlasgowScotlandRepairs (chancel etc) .
Item 63 of 1461906St Cuthbert's Parish ChurchSaltcoats AyrshireScotland 
Item 64 of 1461907Bowden Parish ChurchBowden RoxburghshireScotlandRestoration
Item 65 of 1461907Crailing ChurchCrailing RoxburghshireScotlandFurther work
Item 66 of 1461907Kilmichael Glassary Parish ChurchKilmichael Glassary ArgyllScotlandReconstruction with new chancel
Item 67 of 1461907Rafford Parish ChurchRafford MorayshireScotlandAdditions and alterations, hexagonal vestry
Item 68 of 1461907St Luke's Parish Church and Halls  EdinburghScotlandChurch and furnishings.
Item 69 of 1461907Strone ChurchStrone ArgyllScotlandRadical rebuilding of church
Item 70 of 146October 1907Braes of Rannoch Church  PerthshireScotland 
Item 71 of 146c. 1907City Churches, St Clement's Church and St Mary's Tower  DundeeScotlandUnexecuted scheme for refacing to match the eastern churches of 1841-44. Took over scheme from Ross & MacGibbon
Item 72 of 1461908Carriden Parish ChurchCarriden West LothianScotland 
Item 73 of 1461908Dunino Parish ChurchDunino FifeScotlandProposal for transepts and chancel; not carried out
Item 74 of 1461908Iona Abbey IonaArgyllScotlandRebuilding of nave and furnishings
Item 75 of 1461908Renfrew Parish ChurchRenfrew RenfrewshireScotlandNew chancel
Item 76 of 1461908St Margaret's Episcopal ChurchNewlands GlasgowScotlandHall vestries completed
Item 77 of 1461909Ardrossan Parish ChurchArdrossan AyrshireScotlandFont and communion table
Item 78 of 1461909Bargrennan Parish ChurchBargrennan KirkcudbrightshireScotlandInterior refurnished
Item 79 of 1461909Colvend ChurchColvend KirkcudbrightshireScotland 
Item 80 of 1461909Larbert Old ChurchLarbert StirlingshireScotlandChancel, organ chamber and vestry added
Item 81 of 1461910Glenapp ChurchGlenapp AyrshireScotlandRemodelling. W porch and chancel added
Item 82 of 1461910Glenluce Abbey  WigtownshireScotlandRepairs to Chapter House
Item 83 of 1461910Jordanvale Parish ChurchWhiteinch GlasgowScotland 
Item 84 of 1461910St Leonard's Parish ChurchAyr AyrshireScotlandNew chancel and hall
Item 85 of 1461910St Margaret's Episcopal ChurchNewlands GlasgowScotlandNave and bottom of tower
Item 86 of 1461911Linton Parish ChurchLinton, Morebattle RoxburghshireScotlandRestoration and rebuilding of chancel
Item 87 of 1461911Parish ChurchSprouston RoxburghshireScotlandMajor reordering
Item 88 of 1461911St Anne's ChurchCorstorphine EdinburghScotlandFrom 1911 onward
Item 89 of 1461911St Kiaran's ChurchAchnacarry Inverness-shireScotland 
Item 90 of 146c. 1911Caddonfoot Parish ChurchCaddonfoot SelkirkshireScotlandNew oak roof and chancel fittings
Item 91 of 1461912Auchtermuchty Parish ChurchAuchtermuchty FifeScotlandRefurnishing and partial re-arrangement
Item 92 of 1461912Dargavel House, BishoptonBishopton RenfrewshireScotlandReconstruction (Design exhibited 1912)
Item 93 of 1461912High KirkStranraer WigtownshireScotlandPorch added and furnishings at East end of interior
Item 94 of 1461912Holy Trinity ChurchMerrylee GlasgowScotlandBuilding completed by 11 September 1915.
Item 95 of 1461912Isle of Canna Church of Scotland CannaInverness-shireScotland 
Item 96 of 1461912Lady Glenorchy's Church and halls  EdinburghScotlandJob taken over, church built and pulpit also designed 1913 - removed to Nicolson Square Methodist Church
Item 97 of 1461912Whitsome Church and ManseWhitsome, Chirnside BerwickshireScotlandNew chancel
Item 98 of 1461912 or 1913Duthil Parish ChurchDuthil Inverness-shireScotlandRecasting of interior
Item 99 of 1461912 or 1913Paisley AbbeyPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandRestoration (acted as architect for the Abbey until 1922)
Item 100 of 1461913Abdie Parish ChurchAbdie FifeScotlandPrepared report on ventilation
Item 101 of 1461913Dailly Parish ChurchDailly AyrshireScotlandRestoration including pulpit and communion table
Item 102 of 1461913Iona Abbey IonaArgyllScotlandProposed caretaker's house
Item 103 of 1461913Kinnaird HouseLittle Dunkeld PerthshireScotlandNew wing
Item 104 of 1461913Peebles Parish ChurchPeebles PeeblesshireScotlandPulpit
Item 105 of 1461913Tarbrax ChurchTarbrax LanarkshireScotland 
Item 106 of 1461913Whitehall  GlasgowScotlandBilliard room addition
Item 107 of 1461913Wigtown Parish ChurchWigtown WigtownshireScotlandOrgan chamber and extension to west vestry
Item 108 of 1461914Kingussie Parish ChurchKingussie Inverness-shireScotlandAdditions and renovations. (Journal reference)
Item 109 of 1461914Pollokshields Established ChurchPollokshields GlasgowScotlandPulpit
Item 110 of 1461914St Modan's ChurchFalkirk StirlingshireScotland 
Item 111 of 1461914St Ninian's Parish Church of WhithornIsle of Whithorn DumfriesshireScotlandPorch or porches added
Item 112 of 1461914Urr Parish ChurchUrr KirkcudbrightshireScotland 
Item 113 of 146August 1914University of St Andrews, Chapel of St SalvatorSt Andrews FifeScotlandUnexecuted plans for refitting of chapel including addition of three traceried windows in north wall, arcading behind altar, redesigning of cloister, and construction of attached turreted examination hall to north
Item 114 of 1461915Errol Parish ChurchErrol PerthshireScotlandPartitioning under galleries in E & W transepts to provide vestry & other accommodation
Item 115 of 1461915Falkirk Free ChurchFalkirk StirlingshireScotlandCommunion table
Item 116 of 1461915Langholm Parish ChurchLangholm DumfriesshireScotlandReseated
Item 117 of 1461915St Andrew's Parish ChurchLochgelly FifeScotlandReconstruction of church of 1854-55 with new aisles, hall and porch
Item 118 of 1461916Dunfermline AbbeyDunfermline FifeScotlandNew paving to nave, showing outline of the original 12th-century church recently excavated by Chalmers
Item 119 of 1461917Iona Nunnery IonaArgyllScotlandScheme for complete restoration only repair of North chapel and sacristy carried out, work completed 1923
Item 120 of 1461919Cambuslang Parish ChurchCambuslang LanarkshireScotlandChancel rebuilt to designs of 1913 and war memorial
Item 121 of 1461919Dalmeny KirkDalmeny West LothianScotlandProposals for restoration work
Item 122 of 1461919Greyfriars Episcopal ChurchKirkcudbright KirkcudbrightshireScotlandRebuilt reusing old parts
Item 123 of 1461919Morebattle Parish ChurchMorebattle RoxburghshireScotlandSouth African War Memorial at west end
Item 124 of 1461919St Ann's Cathedral  BelfastNorthern IrelandDesign - crossing piers carried out after Chalmers' death by R M Close.
Item 125 of 1461919St David's UF ChurchKirkintilloch DunbartonshireScotlandFirst scheme (unexecuted)
Item 126 of 1461919Symington Parish ChurchSymington AyrshireScotlandRestoration completed
Item 127 of 1461920Burntisland Parish Church, War MemorialBurntisland FifeScotland 
Item 128 of 1461920Kelvinside Free ChurchKelvinside GlasgowScotlandWar memorial
Item 129 of 1461920St Cuthbert's Parish Church  EdinburghScotlandMemorial chapel
Item 130 of 146c. 1920War MemorialWest Linton PeeblesshireScotland 
Item 131 of 1461921Abbey Parish Church, war memorialKilwinning AyrshireScotlandWar Memorial
Item 132 of 1461921Barony Church, Cunliffe Chapel, War Memorial  GlasgowScotland 
Item 133 of 1461921Dyke Parish Church, churchyard, war memorial gate archDyke and Moy MorayshireScotlandWAr memorial gate arch
Item 134 of 1461921Holy Trinity ChurchMerrylee GlasgowScotlandAddition of south aisle and transept
Item 135 of 1461921Pollokshields Established Church, War Memorial  GlasgowScotland 
Item 136 of 1461921St Andrew's Parish Church  GlasgowScotlandBaptistry
Item 137 of 1461921St Cuthbert Parish Church, War Memorial Chapel  EdinburghScotland 
Item 138 of 1461921St Modan's Parish ChurchRosneath / Roseneath DunbartonshireScotlandMemorial reredos and repairs
Item 139 of 1461921Tillicoultry Parish ChurchTillicoultry ClackmannanshireScotlandNew gallery, communion tabel and pulpit
Item 140 of 1461921University of St Andrews, Chapel of St SalvatorSt Andrews FifeScotlandAlterations 'as war memorial' - removal of plaster from walls, and insertion of arcade of pillars in apse, containing mosaic panels by Douglas Strachan behind communion table
Item 141 of 1461921War memorialCrieff PerthshireScotland 
Item 142 of 146c. 1921Hillhead Established ChurchHillhead GlasgowScotlandInterior redesigned
Item 143 of 1461922Ardrossan War MemorialArdrossan AyrshireScotland 
Item 144 of 1461922St Nicholas Parish ChurchUphall West LothianScotlandWar memorial window
Item 145 of 146c. 1922(?)Camelon Church of ScotlandFalkirk StirlingshireScotlandDesigned chancel addition (executed posthumously by John Jeffrey Waddell)
Item 146 of 1461923Kenmore Parish ChurchKenmore PerthshireScotlandTracery of south transept window and removal of Breadalbane Gallery


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 3Walker, Frank Arneil1986South Clyde Estuary: An Illustrated Architectural Guide to Inverclyde and Renfrew  p7, p96, p106
Item 2 of 3Who's Who in Architecture1914    
Item 3 of 3Who's Who in Glasgow1909   States that his mother's name was Macgregor, indicating that the lower-case 'g' is correct in his middle name, although other sources vary

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 8Builder20 May 1922   
Item 2 of 8Building News24 March 1922CXXII p 198 - obituary
Item 3 of 8Glasgow Herald24 December 1900  Article entitled 'Four Govan Churches'
Item 4 of 8Glasgow Herald16 March 1922   
Item 5 of 8RIAS Quarterly1923AutumnRoyal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)p10 (by J Jeffrey Waddell)
Item 6 of 8RIBA Journal20 May 1922 London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp440 (by James Lochhead)
Item 7 of 8The Bailie10 September 1919   
Item 8 of 8The Bulletin16 March 1922   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Mitchell Library, Glasgow RoomGlasgow Necropolis Interment Register on fiche p27 1922
Item 2 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Research by Iain Paterson; letter from Tom Davidson Kelly to Kitty Cruft, 26 March 2006, quoting from list given by Macgregor Chalmers to Paisley Abbey prior to his involvement there


© All rights reserved.  Courtesy of RCAHMS. Licensor www.rcahms.gov.uk (Glasgow Contemporaries at the Dawn of the XXth Century) 

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of RCAHMS. Licensor www.rcahms.gov.uk (Glasgow Contemporaries at the Dawn of the XXth Century)