Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||Campbell Douglas & Stevenson |
|Designation: ||Architectural practice |
|Started: ||1860 |
|Ended: ||1868 |
|Bio Notes: ||In the autumn of 1860 Campbell Douglas took into partnership John James Stevenson, an Edinburgh branch office being opened shortly thereafter ay 24 George Street. |
Stevenson was born in Glasgow on 24 August 1831, the sixth of ten surviving children of James Stevenson and his wife Jane Stewart Shannan. Douglas had known Stevenson since about 1852, Stevenson and Douglas’s brother Carstairs Douglas having shared a flat as divinity students. In August 1856 Stevenson, then still pursuing his parents’ wish that he should become a Free Church minister, had invited Douglas to Augsburg where the principle of a partnership was agreed once Stevenson had completed an articled apprenticeship. From Douglas’s point of view this unusual proposition held considerable promise as the Stevensons were wealthy and had close business links with the even wealthier Tennants. Born in Glasgow on 24 August 1831 Stevenson was the sixth of the ten children of James Stevenson, then a Glasgow cotton trader. James had moved to Jarrow in 1843 to found the Jarrow Chemical Works in which the Tennants were minority shareholders. His sons James Cochrane, Alexander and Archibald had joined him in the business, taking over its management when their father retired to Edinburgh in 1854. John James had been intended for the church from his early years and he had been sent to the University of Glasgow in 1845-48 in preparation for Edinburgh’s Free College in 1851-54. That had included study in Tubinhen in 1853 and followed by further study in France, Sardinia and Italy. Throughout his continental studies Stevenson had pursued a parallel interest in architecture and with his father’s consent he had begun a two year apprenticeship with David Bryce in January 1857, followed by a further two years’ experience in George Gilbert Scott’s office in London.
Although the Briggate and North Leith Church, and still more excellent Scots Baronial Hartfield showed that Campbell Douglas had real ability he was content to take on a more managerial and job-getting role in his partnership with Stevenson. Stevenson's first-hand knowledge of Italy made a big impact on the Glasgow scene with his Italian Gothic Kelvinside Free Church, quickly followed by Townhead Church on Garngad Hill where the spire was of French inspiration, a development which may have been related to the arrival in the office (c.1862) of William Leiper who had travelled in France and had had experience in the office of John Loughborough Pearson and William White in London. Another outstanding draughtsman, John McKean Bryden joined the practice in the following year (1863) and remained until 1866 when he left for William Eden Nesfield's in London.
John James Stevenson inherited a substantial shareholding in the Jarrow Chemical Company on his father's death in 1866. Two years later he withdrew from his partnership with Douglas for what he described as 'an interval in the practice of my profession' travelling and writing the book eventually published as 'House Architecture' in 1880. At the end of it he settled in London in 1870, and late in the following year he formed a partnership with Edward Robert Robson, whom he had known in Scott's office and who had also grown up in County Durham. The break with Douglas was wholly amicable and relations remained close, Stevenson's office becoming the stepping-stone to London for many of the most promising assistants from Campbell Douglas's office throughout the 1870s and 1880s, most notably George Washington Browne, John Marjoribanks McLaren, William Wallace, William Flockhart and Francis William Troup. Together Douglas and Stevenson formed one of the greatest teaching partnerships of mid Victorian times. Like Leiper's and J J Burnet's later, the office at 226 St Vincent Street was a studio rather than just a drawing office and as Campbell Douglas and his wife Elizabeth Menzies lived upstairs it had a family atmosphere, William Flockhart recollecting 'the musical At homes to which his assistants were always asked … the staff was in turn treated but as a larger family'.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|24, George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||c. 1860|| || |
|157, Hope Street, Glasgow, Scotland||Business||c. 1861||c. 1867|| |
|266, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, Scotland||Business||1868 *|| || |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
Employees or Pupils
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architectural practice:|
|Post Office Directories|| || || || || |
|Stevenson, Hew||2009||Jobs for the Boys: the story of a family in Britain's Imperial Heyday|| ||Dove Books|| |