Basic Biographical Details

Name: Alex Cullen, Lochhead & Brown
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1908
Ended: January 1911
Bio Notes: Alexander Cullen was born on 18 June 1856 at Craigneuk, Wishaw, the son of William Cullen and his wife Mary Hill. Initially he was apprenticed to a builder, but he then attended Glasgow University and set up practice in Clyde Street, Motherwell in the early 1880s.

In 1889 Colonel H H Robertson Aikman commissioned him to reconstruct The Ross at Hamilton as a major house in the David Bryce manner: it was exhibited at the RSA and the RGI and was widely published, establishing his reputation. An office in Quarry Street, Hamilton was established to build it and undertake other work in the Hamilton area, Cullen having become architect to the standing joint committee of the County of Lanarkshire.

Cullen was admitted FRIBA in November 1898 on the recommendation of the Glasgow Institute of Architects: his proposers are not known as the relevant sheet is missing. By that date he had already been admitted FRSE, a very unusual distinction for a provincial architect.

In 1898-99 Cullen designed Brandon Chambers, Hamilton as his main office and Motherwell became a branch office. His practice prospered and by 24 June 1902 the business was so extensive with many commissions both public and private in the counties of Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire that he took into partnership his chief and senior assistants James Lochhead and William Brown.

Of the partners, Lochhead had been born in 1870 in Johnstone, the son of J Lochhead, a furniture dealer in Hope Street, Ayr, and had been educated at Ayr Grammar School and subsequently Ayr Academy. He had served his articles with Allan Stevenson of Ayr from 1884, remaining as an assistant until 1891. He had then moved to become chief draughtsman in the practice of Henry Higgins of Glasgow, attending classes at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College where he had received the Bronze Medal in Building Construction in 1892 and had been a Queen's Prizeman in Architecture and Architectural Design in 1893. In the latter year he had entered the Office of Public Works in Glasgow whilst continuing his studies, and in 1894-98 he had acted as assistant lecturer to Professor Gourlay in the Architectural Classes at the College. He had passed the qualifying exam to become ARIBA on 11 June 1894, his proposers being John Honeyman, Campbell Douglas and Thomas Lennox Watson. He had joined Cullen's practice as chief draughtsman and prospective partner in 1898.

William Brown had been born in 1873 and had been articled to Cullen in 1888, attending technical and art classes at Hamilton Academy from 1889 to 1894, and had remained as assistant after completing his apprenticeship. After being taken into partnership, Brown was put in charge of the Motherwell office of Cullen's firm at 4 Clyde Street.

After Lochhead's arrival the work of the practice became extremely accomplished Edwardian Baroque and classical. Initially the practice name remained as Alex Cullen; it won the major competition for Hamilton Municipal Buildings in 1903, and a Glasgow office was established at Atlantic Chambers in Hope Street to supervise the Western District Hospital, a by-product of the competition for the Eastern District Hospital in which Cullen and Lochhead had been placed first but did not receive the commission. From 1908 onwards the practice was known as Alex Cullen, Lochhead & Brown.

Cullen had wide interests and was well read in architectural history as well as contemporary architecture and this is reflected in the varied nature of the practice's large library. In 1907 he gifted a proportion of this library to Hamilton District Libraries. Although these books have now been dispersed, the catalogue shows that in addition to the publications of Pugin, Scott, Fergusson, the Audsleys, Starforth and G A T Middleton, Cullen subscribed to 'The American Architect' and bought books on Japanese and Mexican architecture; and among his continental books was a copy of Guimard's 'Le Castel Beranger'. Cullen himself was the author of many articles on a variety of subjects and his book 'Adventures in Socialism', a history of New Lanark, was published in 1910. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and at the time of his death he was President of the Architectural Section of the Glasgow Philosophical Society.

Lochhead was active in public life. In 1896 he became the first President of the Royal Technical College (Glasgow) Craftsman's Society; he also served as President of Hamilton Arts & Crafts Society for two years, and was President of the Glasgow Architectural Association from 1906 to 1907. He wrote many articles and delivered numerous papers to these societies as well as to the Edinburgh Architectural Association, Glasgow Philosophical Society, Glasgow Scientific Society and Ayr Sketch Club.

Cullen died at the relatively early age of 54 on 21 January 1911 and was buried at Bent Cemetery, Hamilton. His moveable estate amounted to 9,238 11s 2d, a very large sum for an architect at that date. He was survived by his widow, Barbara Rodger, and by three sons and two daughters. His youngest son, Alexander (born 1892), was one year into his articles with the firm at the time. Lochhead and Brown continued the practice thereafter, dropping Cullen's forename from the practice title which then became simply Cullen, Lochhead & Brown.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 34, Clyde Street, Motherwell, Lanarkshire, ScotlandBusiness   
Item 2 of 3Atlantic Chambers, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness   
Item 3 of 3Brandon Chambers, Hamilton, Lanarkshire, ScotlandBusiness1911 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 12James McLellan Brown1908c. 1909Apprentice 
Item 2 of 12Malcolm Sinclair McCallum19081910Assistant 
Item 3 of 12Alexander Cullen1908January 1911Partner 
Item 4 of 12James Lochhead1908January 1911Partner 
Item 5 of 12William Brown1908January 1911Partner 
Item 6 of 12Hugh Dykes Simpson1908January 1911Assistant 
Item 7 of 12William Mair Bishop1908January 1911Senior Assistant 
Item 8 of 12Alexander Mair1 August 1909January 1911Assistant 
Item 9 of 12James McLellan Brownc. 1909January 1911Assistant 
Item 10 of 12John Donaldson19191921Apprentice 
Item 11 of 12Allan Barrowman Wilson19341938Assistant 
Item 12 of 12John ('Jack') McCall DickLate 1950s(?) Architect 

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice 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 46 Craigneuk Police StationCraigneuk LanarkshireScotlandAttribution; date unknown
Item 2 of 46 Greenfield SchoolHamilton LanarkshireScotlandAttribution; date unknown
Item 3 of 46 Lanark Fire StationLanark LanarkshireScotlandAttribution; date unknown
Item 4 of 46 Merry Street SchoolMotherwell LanarkshireScotlandAttribution; date unknown
Item 5 of 46 Motherwell Police StationMotherwell LanarkshireScotlandAttribution; date unknown
Item 6 of 46 Shettleston Fire StationShettleston GlasgowScotlandAttribution; date unknown
Item 7 of 46 Shettleston Police StationShettleston GlasgowScotlandAttribution; date unknown
Item 8 of 461898Beckford Street SchoolHamilton LanarkshireScotlandPlans for alterations; plans for new cookery classroom and additions to infant department
Item 9 of 461903Electric TheatreFalkirk StirlingshireScotland 
Item 10 of 461904Bothwell Police StationBothwell LanarkshireScotland 
Item 11 of 461904Kirklands Mental HospitalBothwell LanarkshireScotlandNurses' home and cottages
Item 12 of 461906Russell Memorial HallBothwell LanarkshireScotland 
Item 13 of 461908Academy SchoolHamilton LanarkshireScotlandProposed alterations and additions
Item 14 of 461908Hamilton Municipal Buildings and Public LibraryHamilton LanarkshireScotlandContinued job after competition win in 1903, before practice title changed (municipal offices only built before First World War)
Item 15 of 461908Langloan UF ChurchCoatbridge LanarkshireScotland 
Item 16 of 461908Masonic TempleHamilton LanarkshireScotlandSecured commission in competition
Item 17 of 461908Primitive Methodist ChurchHamilton LanarkshireScotland 
Item 18 of 461908Quarter Police StationQuarter LanarkshireScotland 
Item 19 of 461908Salvation Army CitadelHamilton LanarkshireScotland 
Item 20 of 461908Tarbert UF ChurchTarbert ArgyllScotland 
Item 21 of 461909Blackpool Central Library and Art GalleryBlackpool LancashireEnglandWon in open competition
Item 22 of 461909Burgh HospitalMotherwell LanarkshireScotland 
Item 23 of 461909ChapeltounDunlop AyrshireScotland 
Item 24 of 461909Duthill UF ChurchCarrbridge Inverness-shireScotland 
Item 25 of 461909East Kilbride Public SchoolEast Kilbride LanarkshireScotlandAdditions
Item 26 of 461909Gourock Higher Grade SchoolGourock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 27 of 461909Hamilton Academy (and house at school)Hamilton LanarkshireScotlandWon competition and secured the job.
Item 28 of 461909House at BothwellBothwell LanarkshireScotland 
Item 29 of 461909Low Waters Infant SchoolHamilton LanarkshireScotland 
Item 30 of 461909Tenements for Caledonian Railway Company  GlasgowScotlandBar to north
Item 31 of 461910Cambuslang Police StationCambuslang LanarkshireScotland 
Item 32 of 461910Club House, Hamilton Golf ClubHamilton LanarkshireScotland 
Item 33 of 461910Co-operative Society premisesWishaw LanarkshireScotlandExtensions
Item 34 of 461910Donald InstituteBothwell LanarkshireScotlandSecured commission by competition
Item 35 of 461910House at KnowetopMotherwell LanarkshireScotland 
Item 36 of 461910Saffronhall UF ChurchHamilton LanarkshireScotlandExtension
Item 37 of 461910South Dalziel Parish Church HallsMotherwell LanarkshireScotland 
Item 38 of 461911Bellshill Police Station and Fire StationBellshill LanarkshireScotland 
Item 39 of 461911Bluevale SchoolHaghill GlasgowScotland 
Item 40 of 461911UF ChurchMotherwell LanarkshireScotland 
Item 41 of 461911West Highland Cottage HospitalOban ArgyllScotlandExtensions - new operating theatre, laundry etc
Item 42 of 46Before 1911(?)Co-operative Society premisesHamilton LanarkshireScotlandExtensions (date uncertain: Alex Cullen, Lochhead & Brown if before 1911, but Cullen, Lochhead & Brown if between 1911 and 1914)
Item 43 of 46Before 1911(?)County of Lanark SanatoriumStonehouse LanarkshireScotlandExtensions? - probably including 20 additional beds and additions to administration block (date uncertain: Alex Cullen, Lochhead & Brown if before 1911, but Cullen, Lochhead & Brown if between 1911 and 1914)
Item 44 of 46Before 1911(?)Shotts Fever HospitalShotts LanarkshireScotlandExtension. Further extensions later - 16 beds with addition to administration block (date uncertain: Alex Cullen, Lochhead & Brown if before 1911, but Cullen, Lochhead & Brown if between 1911 and 1914)
Item 45 of 46193070 housesHamilton LanarkshireScotland 
Item 46 of 46c. 1912Blantyre Police StationBlantyre LanarkshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 2Bailey, Rebecca M1996Scottish architects' papers: a source book Edinburgh: The Rutland Press 
Item 2 of 2Walker, Frank Arneil1986South Clyde Estuary: An Illustrated Architectural Guide to Inverclyde and Renfrew  p140

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Glasgow Herald23 January 1911  Obituary of Alexander Cullen
Item 2 of 3Hamilton Advertiser28 January 1911  Obituary of Alexander Cullen
Item 3 of 3Lanarkshire [Newspaper] Check25 January 1911  Obituary of Alexander Cullen

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Cullen Lochhead & Brown ArchitectsCullen Lochhead and Brown Archive  
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v13 p13 (microfiche 117/E5) (Cullen's paper)