Basic Biographical Details

Name: Alexander Wright
Designation: Architect
Born: 2 March 1877
Died: 30 May 1972
Bio Notes: Alexander ('Sandy') Wright was born in 1877 and educated at Garnethill School, Glasgow where his classmates included Muirhead Bone, Albert Hodge and Alexander Hislop. In 1892 he commenced studies at Glasgow School of Art (which he continued until 1901) and entered the office of James Miller where he spent eighteen months as an office boy before being articled to John Hutchison, c.1894-98. Thereafter he was an assistant first with Clarke & Bell for three years c.1899-1902 and then with Alexander Cullen in Hamilton for eighteen months 1902-03 prior to emigrating to Montreal as assistant to Edward and William Sutherland with whom he remained for two and a half years, c.1903-06. He returned to Glasgow as a senior assistant to John Burnet & Son with whom he remained until he commenced independent practice at 147 Bath Street.

In 1911 Wright took into partnership a colleague at Burnet's, Edward Grigg Wylie, and moved office to 212 Bath Street. Wylie was born in Glasgow in 1885 and articled to William Forsyth McGibbon 1900-05, during which period (from 1901) he studied at Glasgow School of Art and the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College and from 1904, at the Glasgow School of Architecture where he took the full-time course and became close to Eugène Bourdon. At the end of his apprenticeship in 1905 he won the RIBA Silver Medal and gained a place in the office of John Burnet & Son. During his time as apprentice and assistant he undertook five sketching tours in England and France, each of one month's duration.

In 1909 Wylie commenced practice on his own account, Bourdon having appointed him as part-time post at the Glasgow School of Architecture.

The practice was closed during the First World War. Wright served with the Royal Engineers, latterly in Italy, a country to which he was devoted. Wylie served with the Durham Light Infantry and was several times mentioned in despatches, gaining the MC and bar; he was also made a Chevalier of the Order of the Crown of Italy. The partnership was resumed in 1919. Wylie was appointed an instructor at Glasgow School of Art under Alexander McGibbon in that year, and admitted ARIBA under the war exemption scheme in 1920, his proposer being Sir John James Burnet.

In 1925 Wylie became departmental head of Glasgow School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, and in 1927 the practice moved to larger premises at 204 West Regent Street, business having grown enormously as a result of the competition wins for Hillhead High School and the Scots Legal Life Building. In 1928 Wylie's nephew, Frederick Robert Wylie was taken into partnership, the practice title now becoming Wylie Wright & Wylie, the changed precedence reflecting Wylie's leading role as both designer and job-getter.

The partnership with Wright was dissolved in 1935 by mutual agreement. Wright recognised that by both age and temperament he was no longer suited to the fast changing nature of the practice, and set up his own which tended to specialise in alterations and additions rather than new buildings. In the following year Wylie took George Ferguson Shanks into partnership, the practice name becoming Wylie Shanks & Wylie.

In 1937 Wylie was appointed chief consulting architect to Scottish Industrial Estates Ltd and from that year onwards designed many of their buildings, and not long thereafter also became architect to Scottish Oils and Shell Mex Ltd. In 1949 Walter Underwood was taken into partnership, the firm name becoming Wylie Shanks & Underwood, and in the same year Wylie was appointed OBE for his services to the Scottish Industrial Estates Company.

Wylie died of a cerebral thrombosis at his home, 8 Queensborough Gardens, Glasgow on 31 August 1954 on the eve of the opening of the Scottish Industries Exhibition at the Kelvin Hall for which he had been largely responsible, Lord Bilsland paying tribute to his memory. He left a widow, Elizabeth Wyper Forsyth and the then substantial sum of £48,562 11s 5d.

Alexander Wright served as President of the Glasgow Institute of Architect in the early 1940s. He took over Harold Hughes's practice after Hughes's death in 1947. He remained remarkably fit in old age - he only began to wear a hat when he was 84 - and continued to practise in a modest way almost to the time of his death at the age of ninety-five on 30 May 1972, from the end of the Second World War in partnership with John Shields Kay as Alexander Wright & Kay in a basement office in ____. They did not really have much in common: Kay was no great designer but it was an arrangement in which Wright's great practical experience, particularly in structural matters, was always useful. In Wright's later years it kept his mind occupied and the low-key nature of the business suited them both.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1027, Granville Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1892After 1901 
Item 2 of 10147, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness19071911 
Item 3 of 1024, Napiershall Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1911 *  
Item 4 of 10212, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness19111927 
Item 5 of 10204, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness19271935 
Item 6 of 10Highfula, Baldernock Road, Milngavie, Dunbartonshire, ScotlandPrivate1930 *  
Item 7 of 107, Newton Terrace, Charing Cross, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1939 *  
Item 8 of 1010, Blythswood Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1941 *  
Item 9 of 103, Westbourne Terrace, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1941 *  
Item 10 of 10110, Blythswood Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1950 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.


Employment and Training

Employers

The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 11James Miller18921893 or 1894 Worked as office boy.
Item 2 of 11John Hutchison1893 or 18941897 or 1898Apprentice 
Item 3 of 11Wardrop & Andersonc. 1898(?)c. 1898(?)Assistant 
Item 4 of 11Clarke & Bell1898 or 18991901Assistant 
Item 5 of 11Alexander Cullen1902Late 1903Assistant 
Item 6 of 11E & W S MaxwellLate 19031906Assistant 
Item 7 of 11John Burnet & Son19061907Senior Assistant 
Item 8 of 11Wright & Wylie19111928Partner 
Item 9 of 11Wylie, Wright & Wylie19281935Partner 
Item 10 of 11Wright & Kayc. 1946 Partner 
Item 11 of 11Wright Kay & William J Gilmour1970 Partner 

RIBA

RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 4Andrew Balfour7 January 1941for Fellowship
Item 2 of 4Andrew Graham Henderson7 January 1941for Fellowship
Item 3 of 4James Lochhead7 January 1941for Fellowship
Item 4 of 4John Bennie Wilson20 July 1911for Licentiateship - as President of the Glasgow Institute of Architects

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 17John Peter Coia15 April 1944for Associateship
Item 2 of 17George Anderson Findlay14 December 1943for Licentiateship
Item 3 of 17Horace James Dick HamiltonLate 1955For Fellowship
Item 4 of 17David Watson Jackson15 January 1946For Associateship
Item 5 of 17William Douglas Loudon18 April 1944for Associateship
Item 6 of 17John Wellwood Manson9 April 1946for Licentiateship
Item 7 of 17Kenneth Finlayson Masson (or Kenneth T Masson or erroneously Manson)18 November 1941for Associateship
Item 8 of 17William McKendrick McLean6 February 1951For Licentiateship
Item 9 of 17Neil Burke Moir21 March 1944for Licentiateship
Item 10 of 17Larmont Douglas Penman (junior)9 September 1942for Associateship
Item 11 of 17Herbert Ramage16 February 1943for Licentiateship - as president of the Glasgow Institute of Architects
Item 12 of 17Jeffrey Rowbotham15 January 1946For Associateship
Item 13 of 17Francis Clunie Scott16 November 1943for Licentiateship
Item 14 of 17James Grant Shearer13 February 1945for Fellowship. Date uncertain - perhaps June?
Item 15 of 17John McFarlane (or Macfarlane) Whyte (misspelt White)20 July 1943For Licentiateship
Item 16 of 17John Basden Wingate14 February 1945for Licentiateship
Item 17 of 17James Alexander Wyllie14 November 1944for 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 371914House at MilngavieMilngavie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 2 of 371917Possilpark Church Hall  GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 371921Hillhead High SchoolHillhead GlasgowScotlandWon competition to secure job
Item 4 of 371921War MemorialKilbarchan RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 5 of 371923Warehouse, 242-252 Sauchiehall Street  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 6 of 37192455 Mitre Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 7 of 371925Margaret Hunter Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 371925War MemorialGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 9 of 371926Albert Secondary SchoolSpringburn GlasgowScotland 
Item 10 of 371927Glasgow Dental Hospital and School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 11 of 371927Scottish Legal Life Assurance Society Office  GlasgowScotlandSecured commission
Item 12 of 371929Lennox CastleLennoxtown StirlingshireScotlandConversion of Lennox Castle into nurses' home, and addition of numerous blocks on the estate to form hospital. Also extensive buildings for a theatre/cinema in hospital grounds proposed.
Item 13 of 371929Multi-Story Car Park Waterloo Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 14 of 371929ParkhallKillearn StirlingshireScotlandEast extension
Item 15 of 371931House at Rowardennan Hotel  StirlingshireScotlandAdditions
Item 16 of 371931Offices, Ardholm Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 17 of 3719323 William StreetHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandConversion to two flats
Item 18 of 371932East Campbell Street UP Church  GlasgowScotlandInterior altered as East Campbell Street Lodging House Mission
Item 19 of 371932Scottish Widows Fund and Life Assurance and Junior Conservative Club  GlasgowScotlandAlterations - north end of Renfield Street façade reconstructed as shops
Item 20 of 371933Anderson and Robertson factoryMotherwell LanarkshireScotland 
Item 21 of 371933Craigpark Electric Cable Company's worksSpringburn GlasgowScotlandAdditions and complete reconstruction
Item 22 of 371933Milton's furnishing warehouse  GlasgowScotland 
Item 23 of 371934Warehouse, 242-252 Sauchiehall Street  GlasgowScotlandInternal alterations
Item 24 of 371934Whitecraigs Mansion, garage and officesRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 25 of 371934Wylie & Lochhead's  GlasgowScotlandWarehouse (behind main building?) This is the address given in 'Architect & Building News'.
Item 26 of 37193525-41 Hope Street  GlasgowScotlandReconstruction and additions
Item 27 of 371935Cathkin Braes Golf ClubhouseCathkin Braes LanarkshireScotlandComplete rebuild?
Item 28 of 371936Maternity hospitalGovan GlasgowScotland 
Item 29 of 371937Cunninghame Graham MemorialGartmore StirlingshireScotland 
Item 30 of 371940Craigpark Electric Cable Company's worksSpringburn GlasgowScotlandExtensions
Item 31 of 371949Properties at Dudley Street  GlasgowScotlandArchitect for reconstruction and additions.
Item 32 of 371950University of Glasgow, Institute of Chemistry  GlasgowScotlandCompleted Hughes's design
Item 33 of 371951University of Glasgow, Veterinary College  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 34 of 371952Glasgow University, general  GlasgowScotlandTo prepare plans for alterations and additions
Item 35 of 371963University of Glasgow, Institute of Chemistry  GlasgowScotlandAlterations - addition of top floor in timber
Item 36 of 371966University of Glasgow, Institute of Chemistry  GlasgowScotlandAlterations - addition of top floor in timber
Item 37 of 371976St Stephen's ChurchCoatbridge LanarkshireScotland 

References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Post Office Directories     
Item 2 of 3RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 3 of 3RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Builder6 May 1949  p576
Item 2 of 3Builder4 April 1952  p536
Item 3 of 3Glasgow Herald3 June 1972  Obituary of Wright by A G Lochhead

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Additional information from research by Iain Paterson
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers L v21 no1689; F no3801 (box 28)