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

Larger versions of these images are located at the foot of the page.

Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Campbell McKellar
Designation: Architect
Born: 1 November 1859
Died: 27 March 1941
Bio Notes: John Campbell McKellar was born in Glasgow on 1 November 1859, the son of Robert McKellar, bleacher, dyer and property speculator of Newlandsfield, Pollokshaws, and Janet McNeilage. He was educated at Queen's Park Collegiate School and articled to James Milne Monro in 1875, remaining as an assistant. In 1881 to 1882 he spent a year as assistant to Frank Burnet to gain experience in the building of tenement housing. Early in 1883 he established his own practice in West George Street and in 1884 took on house factoring and property management as well. At first the practice consisted mainly of industrial work and alterations to tenements but from 1888, presumably with family capital, he began to build tenements speculatively. These tenements were mainly concentrated in Crossmyloof and in the Kelvinside-Maryhill area where his father had already laid out Bilsland Drive. David Barclay in McKellar's FRIBA nomination paper of 3 December 1906, for which his other proposers were James Milne Monro, Henry Edward Clifford and C J MacLean, stated that McKellar had 'designed successfully a large proportion of the street properties of shops and dwelling houses in the extension of the City of Glasgow'.

In 1894 McKellar entered into partnership with the house-factor John McKellar, presumably a relative and formerly of Robert Stobo and Co., who had considerable property holdings of his own. But in 1896 McKellar and McKellar was dissolved; John Campbell McKellar then formed a limited liability company John C McKellar Ltd with a capital of 40,000, which held the 33 tenements McKellar had retained out of the 89 he had built. In 1899 the capital was increased to 100,000, and by 1901 the Crossmyloof properties had been sold to concentrate on higher quality development in Kelvinside, Hyndland and Partick where their housing tended to be strategically located in relation to industry. The programme extended from tenements to self-contained houses at Hillington Park in 1906, but despite aggressive 'become your own landlord' marketing, these were slow to sell, only thirty houses being built, and the construction of new property was brought to a close by the introduction of Increment Duty in The Finance Act of 1909 and the Rent and Mortgage Restriction Act of 1914, subjects on which McKellar gave evidence to the Royal Commission on Housing in 1913, stating that 'during the last five years I have not been able to lay one stone upon another'.

Associated with the move up-market was the recruitment, to the architectural practice, of George Gunn and William Stephen Gibson, both from Alexander Cullen's office, in or before 1902. Gunn had been born in 1873 and articled to James Ritchie 1886-91 concurrently attending classes at Glasgow School of Art, whereafter he sought more up-to-date experience first with Stark and Rowntree and then with James A Morris and James Kennedy Hunter in Ayr in 1894. The latter firm had a London office, which provided a useful base from which Gunn passed the qualifying exam in that year. Gunn was admitted ARIBA on 11 March 1895, his proposers being James A Morris, William Forrest Salmon and Thomas Lennox Watson. Gunn was no doubt prospective partner, but an actual partnership did not materialize until the practice became dependent on commissioned work rather than that of John C McKellar Ltd.

The partnership of McKellar Davis & Gunn was not formed until 1911 or 1912, but the background of George B Davis has so far proved untraceable. Davis appears to have withdrawn or died in 1914 as thereafter the practice was known as McKellar & Gunn. This continued until the later 1920s when Gunn took rooms of his own in Burnet's new building for the North British & Mercantile Company at 200 St Vincent Street, Glasgow.

McKellar's personal interests were the Conservative Party, yachting, golf, and a number of other property and insurance directorships. In 1910 he established the West Mexcian Mines Ltd to to buy mines in Mexico from the Rosario Mines Company of Arizona. His first wife Jessie Nisbet Hood, daughter of the Rev Robert Hood, died in 1925; he later remarried, to Jeanette Lochhead. McKellar himself died suddenly of coronary thrombosis at 'Ardery', Kilcreggan on 27 March 1941, the property company but not the architectural practice continuing in the hands of his only son Robert H McKellar, who had earlier been a partner of Archibald McKechnie as estate agents, factory and property valuers.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 10Redclyffe, Pollokshields, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate  Date unclear
Item 2 of 10West George Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1883Before 1889 
Item 3 of 10Woodland Terrace, Langside, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1887  
Item 4 of 1048, Herriot Street,, Pollokshields, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1888  
Item 5 of 10112, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1888After 1895 
Item 6 of 108, Glencairn Drive, Pollokshields, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1891  
Item 7 of 10103, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1899 *  
Item 8 of 10Gresham Chambers/45, West Nile Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1901After 1935 
Item 9 of 10224, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1905 *  
Item 10 of 1040, Montgomerie Drive, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1906 *  

* 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 6James Milne Monro18751879Apprentice 
Item 2 of 6James Milne Monro1879c. 1881Draughtsman 
Item 3 of 6Frank Burnet18811882Assistant 
Item 4 of 6McKellar & McKellar18941896Partner 
Item 5 of 6McKellar Davis & Gunn1911 or 1912c. 1914Partner 
Item 6 of 6McKellar & Gunnc. 1913Before 1929Partner 

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 8John Ballantine1889c. 1894(?)Apprentice 
Item 2 of 8John Ballantinec. 1894(?)1902Assistant 
Item 3 of 8George Sinclair1896c. 1896  
Item 4 of 8John King18971902ApprenticeWorked under the supervision of George Gunn.
Item 5 of 8William Kerr19011904Assistant 
Item 6 of 8William Stephen GibsonNovember 1902May 1907AssistantSecond Assistant
Item 7 of 8George GunnBefore 19021911 or 1912Principal Assistant 
Item 8 of 8William Meek Page19051907Chief Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 4David Barclay3 December 1906for Fellowship
Item 2 of 4Henry Edward Clifford3 December 1906for Fellowship
Item 3 of 4C J MacLean3 December 1906for Fellowship
Item 4 of 4James Milne Monro3 December 1906for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 2John Ballantine20 March 1911for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 2William Stephen Gibson20 July 1911for Licentiateship

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 26c. 1880Glasgow Municipal Buildings  GlasgowScotlandCompetition design entered under the pseudonym St Mungo Tempus Fugit
Item 2 of 261886Two tenements, Herriet StreetPollokshields GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 261890Tenements of Mansion FlatsHyndland GlasgowScotland 
Item 4 of 261897Ferguson Memorial ChurchSpringburn GlasgowScotland 
Item 5 of 261899The Knowe and LodgePollokshields GlasgowScotlandAddition
Item 6 of 261901Dalmarnock Congregational ChurchDalmarnock GlasgowScotland 
Item 7 of 261902ArderyTroon AyrshireScotland 
Item 8 of 261902Commercial buildings, Ayr StreetTroon AyrshireScotland 
Item 9 of 261902Luncarty Village HallLuncarty PerthshireScotland 
Item 10 of 261902OaklandsPollokshields GlasgowScotland 
Item 11 of 261902RedhillsPollokshields GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 26After 1902House for John Campbell McKellarKelvinside GlasgowScotland 
Item 13 of 261903Mansion Flats, 25-53 Lancaster Avenue  GlasgowScotland 
Item 14 of 261904Gresham Chambers  GlasgowScotland 
Item 15 of 261904Savings Bank Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 16 of 261904Terrace of houses, Montgomery DriveKelvinside GlasgowScotland 
Item 17 of 261905Dean HouseHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandAlterations
Item 18 of 261905LochgreenSouthwood, Troon AyrshireScotlandExhibited designs on which house was based
Item 19 of 261905Tenements, Parkhead Cross, Tollcross Road and Westmuir Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 20 of 261906Thirty villas, Hillington ParkHillington GlasgowScotland 
Item 21 of 26Before 1906Hood Memorial ChurchBridgeton GlasgowScotland 
Item 22 of 2619078, 9 Lancaster CrescentKelvinside GlasgowScotland 
Item 23 of 261909Church (unidentified)  GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 261911Dalmarnock Congregational Church HallDalmarnock GlasgowScotland 
Item 25 of 261913Botchergate KinemaCarlisle CumberlandEngland 
Item 26 of 261924Redlands Terrace  GlasgowScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography  volume 2 pp150-153
Item 2 of 2Post Office Directories     

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Building Industries16 November 1920   
Item 2 of 2The Bailie*  p 2762

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 4Courtesy of Michael MossInformation sent via 'Contact us' on DSA website Sent October 2012.
Item 2 of 4Glasgow UniversityGlasgow University Archives GUA UGD/208 John C McKellar
Item 3 of 4Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Additional research (family information and addresses) by Iain Paterson
Item 4 of 4RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v17 no 1164 (microfilm reel 12)


© All rights reserved.  Glasgow Institute of Architects 

© All rights reserved. Glasgow Institute of Architects

© 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)