Basic Biographical Details

Name: Alexander McGibbon
Designation: Architect
Born: 5 February 1861(?)
Died: 5 December 1938
Bio Notes: Alexander ('Sandy') McGibbon was born at 11 Pitt Street, Anderston on 5 February 1861, the son of Alexander McGibbon, engine fitter and maritime engineer, and his wife Jane Cameron Selkirk. He was articled to Harry Blair in Glasgow c.1875, studying at Glasgow School of Art and although not mentioned in his nomination paper, his obituary states that he was an assistant in the office of Campbell Douglas & Sellars. In 1882 according to his own account he obtained a place as a draughtsman in the office of John Honeyman and in 1884 was one of the earliest Scottish architects to take the qualifying exam. He was admitted ARIBA on 9 June the same year, his proposers being Honeyman, David Barclay and Campbell Douglas. In 1889 he moved to Burnet Son & Campbell where he is recorded as having worked alongside A N Paterson; the Honeyman & Keppie staff photograph showing him with McNair, Mackintosh and Whitelaw probably commemorated his departure from that office.

In 1890 McGibbon commenced practice on his own account and was appointed to the staff of Glasgow School of Art as assistant to William James Anderson. The census of the following year recorded him as living with his three unmarried sisters: Christina, a teacher; Annie Jane, described as a housekeeper; and Margaret Helen, a music teacher. Of these Annie Jane subsequently married.

In 1893-94 he contributed to 'The Builder' a series of illustrations of the Scottish cathedrals which established his reputation as a brilliant perspective draughtsman, and his practice thereafter was more as perspectivist than architect. Between 1894 and 1920 he maintained an office, at 109 Hope Street from 1894 to about 1905 and at 248 West George Street thereafter. He succeeded William James Anderson as Director of Glasgow School of Art on the latter's death in 1900 with the title of Professor. Harold Hughes who taught with him in 1920-26 provided a sketch of his years at the School:

'As a teacher McGibbon was indefatigable, and there must be very many architects now in practice who can remember with gratitude his inspiring marginal sketches, kind words and his never failing encouragement. He was a tremendous worker. His practice when at the School of Art was to reach the School in the middle of the morning having had a somewhat late breakfast. He stayed without a break till half-past five. Should be become hungry, he would chew nuts, of which he always carried an ample supply in his pocket. At half-past five he would leave for the good old-fashioned Elizabethan dinner, and returned night after night to the School at seven o'clock, where he stayed till ten o'clock. At ten o'clock he would retire to his small private office and make perspective drawings up to two, three or even four o'clock in the morning. His perspectives were turned out with remarkable rapidity, and the accounts rendered for these perspectives were never in proportion to the work he put into them. If he felt a man could not well afford to pay for the perspectives, McGibbon would most certainly forget to send an account'.

McGibbon retired in 1926 when his portrait was painted by Maurice Greiffenhagen. He never married. Although big-built he was short in stature, the hem of his coats being just above his toecaps. His main interest outwith the profession was St George's Church where he was an elder for 49 years, superintendent of its Sunday school and Convener of its St Michael's Mission Committee. He died of myocarditis at his house, 51 Kessington Road, Bearsden on 5 December 1938.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 61, Westbank Quadrant, Hillhead, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1891 *  
Item 2 of 6109, Hope Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1894After 1904 
Item 3 of 6248, West George Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1910 *  
Item 4 of 610, Albert Road, Langside, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1924 *  
Item 5 of 610, Tantallon Road, Langside, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1929After 1931 
Item 6 of 651, Kessington Road, Bearsden, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivateBefore 19345 December 1938 

* 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 4Harry Blairc. 1875c. 1880(?)Apprentice 
Item 2 of 4Campbell Douglas & Sellarsc. 1880(?)Before 1882Assistant 
Item 3 of 4John Honeyman18821889Draughtsman 
Item 4 of 4Burnet Son & Campbell18891890Assistant 

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 1William Barclay19021903Junior Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3David Barclay9 June 1884for Associateship
Item 2 of 3Campbell Douglas9 June 1884for Associateship
Item 3 of 3John Honeyman9 June 1884for Associateship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 17John Balfour Symington Abercrombie (or Balfour Abercrombie)4 July 1910for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 17John Armour (junior)Early 1911for Licentiateship
Item 3 of 17John Armour (junior)Late 1920 or January 1921for Fellowship
Item 4 of 17Andrew Francis Stewart Bryden20 July 1911for Licentiateship
Item 5 of 17Robert Whitelaw Caldwell24 June 1912for Licentiateship
Item 6 of 17John Austin DempsterLate 1920 or early 1921for Associateship
Item 7 of 17William Ferguson (junior) (or William Moncrieff Ferguson, or Willie Ferguson)24 June 1912for Licentiateship
Item 8 of 17Joseph Browne Dick GormanLate 1910for Licentiateship
Item 9 of 17Henry HigginsEarly 1911for Licentiateship
Item 10 of 17John Alfred Taylor Houston18 July 1910for Licentiateship
Item 11 of 17William Kerr24 June 1912for Licentiateship
Item 12 of 17James Miller12 June 1912for Licentiateship
Item 13 of 17Andrew Rollo29 February 1904for Associateship
Item 14 of 17John Scotland20 July 1911for Licentiateship
Item 15 of 17John Roxburgh Smith22 April 1912for Licentiateship
Item 16 of 17John Bothwell SteelLate 1910for Licentiateship
Item 17 of 17John Forrest Steel (or John Forrester Steel?)4 July 1910for 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 61888Ewing Gilmour Institute for Working GirlsAlexandria DunbartonshireScotlandMade drawings (see perspective in building) as assistant with Burnet Son & Campbell
Item 2 of 61888St Molio's Parish ChurchShiskineArranButeScotlandWorking as assistant for J J Burnet
Item 3 of 61896Glasgow School of Art  GlasgowScotlandUnsuccessful competition design
Item 4 of 61898Glasgow International Exhibition of 1901Kelvingrove GlasgowScotlandThird premiated competition design (in association with John Archibald Campbell) (100 premium)
Item 5 of 61903Brown InstituteRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 6 of 6c. 1911Duart CastleCraignure (near)MullArgyllScotlandPreparatory survey carried out on a fee-paid basis


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2Post Office Directories     
Item 2 of 2RIBA1930The RIBA Kalendar 1930-1931 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder6 January 1939  Obituary
Item 2 of 4RIAS QuarterlyJanuary 193959Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)Obituary by A N Paterson
Item 3 of 4RIBA Journal6 February 1939 London: Royal Institute of British ArchitectsObituary p363
Item 4 of 4RIBA Journal6 March 1939 London: Royal Institute of British ArchitectsObituary p473 by Theodore Fyfe

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSDrawings Collection Sketch book 1907-1908. Acc No 1999/79
Item 2 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Copy of obituary by T Harold Hughes - source still to be traced; additional research (birth, death, census, addresses) by Iain Paterson


© All rights reserved. RIASQ 1925-26 p58 

© All rights reserved. RIASQ 1925-26 p58