Basic Biographical Details

Name: James Anderson Williamson
Designation: Architect
Born: 1860
Died: 21 March 1935
Bio Notes: James Anderson Williamson was born in 1860 at Dalbeattie, Kirkcudbrightshire and educated at Wallacehall Academy. He was articled to Robert Rippon Duke in Buxton, c.1876. In 1879 he became assistant in the office of Kinnear & Peddie in Edinburgh probably through the influence of the Maxwells of Munches, and in the following year he joined the staff of the Edinburgh City Architect and Superintendent of Works, Robert Morham. He passed the qualifying exam in 1884 and was admitted ARIBA on 9 June, his proposers being John Burnet Senior, John Honeyman and Campbell Douglas, all of Glasgow, there being few Edinburgh fellows at that date. His address was then 2 West Preston Street.

In 1896 Williamson, by then living at Holmwood, St John's Road, Corstorphine won the North Bridge competition in an informal partnership with John Nichol Scott (born 1863). In the event this scheme was used only as a guideline for those who redeveloped North Bridge and, very wisely, Williamson did not attempt to set up in private practice. It made his name, however, and in 1898 he was appointed Depute City Architect. He succeeded Morham as City Architect on his retirement in 1908. His early work as Depute was a lively Free Renaissance, related to J M Dick Peddie's work, while his later work was a more staid Edwardian Palladian.

Williamson retired as City Architect in 1925 and died on 21 March 1935 after a period of poor health. In his RIBA obituary he was described as 'quiet and retiring, with an essential kindliness and thoughtfulness of disposition, and always held the warm affection of his staff'. In Corstorphine he was President of the Burns Club and of the Bowling Club, Vice-President of the Golf Club and RWM of Lodge St John, Corstorphine. He was survived by two daughters and a son in Milan.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 42, West Preston Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness(?)1884 *  
Item 2 of 414, Roxhall Terrace, Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate(?)1884 *  
Item 3 of 4Holmwood, St John's Road, Corstorphine, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1896After 1930 
Item 4 of 4Public Works Office, City Chambers, High Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1900After 1910 

* 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 7Robert Rippon Dukec. 1876(?)1879(?)Apprentice 
Item 2 of 7Kinnear & Peddie18791880Assistant 
Item 3 of 7Edinburgh City Architect's Department (Edinburgh Corporation)18801898AssistantUnder Robert Morham, City Architect
Item 4 of 7Robert Morham18801898AssistantIn Edinburgh City Architect's Office
Item 5 of 7Edinburgh City Architect's Department (Edinburgh Corporation)18981908ArchitectDepute City Architect (under Robert Morham)
Item 6 of 7Robert Morham18981908ArchitectServed as Morham's Depute in Edinburgh City Architect's Office
Item 7 of 7Edinburgh City Architect's Department (Edinburgh Corporation)19081925Chief ArchitectCity Architect (following the death of Robert Morham)

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 6Charles Henry Greig1898c. 1901Draughtsman 
Item 2 of 6William Davidson19041906Draughtsman 
Item 3 of 6George White1908After 1911AssistantIn Edinburgh City Architect's Office
Item 4 of 6Ebenezer James MacRaeJune 1908c. 1914Assistantin Edinburgh City Architect's Department
Item 5 of 6Andrew A MacCullochAfter 1908Before 1925AssistantIn Edinburgh City Architect's Department
Item 6 of 6John Wright FordNovember 19201925AssistantIn Edinburgh City Architect's Department


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3John Burnet (senior)9 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 6John Alexander Black27 February 1911for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 6John Brown20 March 1911for Licentiateship
Item 3 of 6Robert Macfarlane Cameron20 July 1911for Licentiateship
Item 4 of 6George Craig20 July 1911for Licentiateship
Item 5 of 6Charles Henry Greig4 December 1911for Licentiateship
Item 6 of 6George White27 February 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 331890Gogar Parish ChurchGogar MidlothianScotlandIncorporated ruin of 16th century church - in private practice
Item 2 of 331893Corstorphine SchoolCorstorphine EdinburghScotlandIn private practice
Item 3 of 331894Juniper Green ChurchJuniper Green EdinburghScotlandUnsuccessful competition design - in private practice
Item 4 of 331896Dumfries AcademyDumfries DumfriesshireScotlandCompetition design - in private practice
Item 5 of 331896North Bridge  EdinburghScotlandIn informal partnership with John Nicol Scott - competition design - first premium of 250 awarded (did not gain the commission)
Item 6 of 331897Central Fire Station  EdinburghScotlandWorking as Depute under Robert Morham
Item 7 of 331897Clubhouse  EdinburghScotlandAs Deputy City Architect
Item 8 of 331898Portobello Public BathsPortobello EdinburghScotlandSupervised by Robert Morham
Item 9 of 331905Morningside Public LibraryMorningside EdinburghScotlandWilliamson mainly responsible (working as assistant in Morham's office at beginning and later as City Architect)
Item 10 of 33After 1905Police stationGorgie EdinburghScotland 
Item 11 of 33After 1905Police StationStockbridge EdinburghScotland 
Item 12 of 33After 1905(?)Various public washhouses  EdinburghScotland 
Item 13 of 331909Gorgie Market, corn market, Corporation Slaughterhouse and police stationGorgie EdinburghScotland 
Item 14 of 331909Portobello Town HallPortobello EdinburghScotland 
Item 15 of 331909Restaurant. New MarketsGorgie Edinburgh City Architect
Item 16 of 331909Saughton Park, Bandstand  EdinburghScotland 
Item 17 of 331910Portobello Golf ClubPortobello EdinburghScotland 
Item 18 of 33Before 1911Gorgie Market, cattle shelter (or livestock sheds)Gorgie EdinburghScotland 
Item 19 of 33c. 1912Gorgie Market, restaurantGorgie EdinburghScotland 
Item 20 of 331913Blackford Hill Park, entrance lodge  EdinburghScotland 
Item 21 of 331913Central Fire Station  EdinburghScotlandTenement shell for fire practice
Item 22 of 331913City Infectious Diseases HospitalColinton EdinburghScotlandTimber-built ward for consumptives
Item 23 of 331914Milne's (Mylne's) Court  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction
Item 24 of 331917Braid Hills Golf Course, Park Cottages  EdinburghScotland 
Item 25 of 331917Gorgie District Public WashousesGorgie Edinburgh City Architect
Item 26 of 331917Saugton Park Sports PavilionSaughton Park EdinburghScotlandCity Architect
Item 27 of 331919Housing scheme for CorporationGorgie EdinburghScotland 
Item 28 of 331919Tramway Office St James Square  EdinburghScotland 
Item 29 of 331925Oxgangs Farm housing estate  EdinburghScotlandAs City Architect
Item 30 of 33Before 1925HousesBlackford EdinburghScotlandAs City Architect
Item 31 of 33Before 1925Houses, Braid Hills  EdinburghScotlandAs City Architect
Item 32 of 33Early 1920sPortobello Power StationPortobello EdinburghScotlandFirst section built
Item 33 of 331935Western General Hospital, nurses' home  EdinburghScotlandAs City Architect


Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 7Builder29 March 1935  Obituary
Item 2 of 7Builders Journal28 June 1896  Article on the Renaissance in Scotland
Item 3 of 7Edinburgh Evening Dispatch22 March 1935  Obituary
Item 4 of 7RIBA Journal13 July 1935v42London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp1009 - obituary
Item 5 of 7Scotsman1925  check prcise date. Note on his retirement.
Item 6 of 7Scotsman22 March 1935  Obituary
Item 7 of 7Scotsman26 March 1935  Obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A v9 p63 (microfiche 35/B1)