Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||James Smith |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||15 August 1782 |
|Died: ||17 January 1867 |
|Bio Notes: ||James Smith was born in Glasgow on 15 August 1782, the eldest of the five children of Archibald Smith, a prosperous West India merchant, and his wife, Isabella Euing. Smith was educated at the grammar school in Glasgow and at the University where he matriculated in 1795. He became a sleeping partner in the firm of Leitch & Smith, West India merchants. His father died in 1821 and he moved to the family seat, Jordanhill, Renfrewshire. |
In 1809 he married Mary, daughter of Alexander Wilson and granddaughter of Professor Alexander Wilson of Glasgow University. They had nine children, of whom three survived.
Smith had the luxury of a private income which enabled him to devote his time to pursuits which interested him – namely science, literature and the arts. He was also an accomplished yachtsman and navigator and by sailing he was able to combine leisure with his scientific and historical studies. He gained his reputation as a geologist and man of letters but also was an amateur architect. He was said to have had ‘a great taste for architecture and furnished plans for many of his friends’ which included the seat of his cousin, James Smith of Craigend.
He was a member of the Royal Society, the Geological Society and the Royal Geographical Society. In Glasgow he was president of both the Geological Society and the Archaeological Society. His pioneering geological studies earned him the epithet ‘the father of post-Tertiary geology of Scotland’. Smith was a trustee, manager and from 1830 to 1839 president of the Andersonian Institution in George Street, Glasgow. His most notable achievement as president was the foundation of the Andersonian Museum in 1831 and he designed a circular museum and lecture theatre for the Institution (although this has since been demolished.) He was a major benefactor to the museum and donated coins, medals and natural history specimens. He was honorary curator from 1848 until his death. He formed a small art collection and supported the fine arts in Glasgow as a member of the Glasgow Institution for Promoting and Encouraging the Fine Arts in the west of Scotland and as a member and president of the Glasgow Dilettanti Society. He was a Trustee of the Academy of Fine Arts in Glasgow.
Smith died on 17 January 1867 at Jordanhill and was buried in the family burying-ground at the Old Parish Church in Renfrew.
Smith was described in ‘One Hundred Glasgow men’ as ‘gentle and tolerant, he never made an enemy, and those who knew him will not soon forget his courtly yet genial manners, and his charming conversation and delicate humour, his constant good nature and kindliness, and his unaffected piety’.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|Jordanhill, Glasgow, Scotland||Business|| || || |
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 started||Building name||Town, district or village||Island||City or county||Country||Notes|
|Before 1812||Craigend Castle||Mugdock|| ||Stirlingshire||Scotland||Plans for enlargement abandoned|
|1824||Jordanhill House|| || ||Glasgow||Scotland||Remodelling|
|1826||Govan Parish Church||Govan|| ||Glasgow||Scotland||Original building|
|1831||High School|| || ||Glasgow||Scotland||Design of interior of Andersonian Museum. Also lecture theatre. |
|1846||Hew Scott Hall||Anstruther|| ||Fife|| || |
|1854||Scheme for a Crystal Palace|| || ||Glasgow||Scotland|| |
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Colvin, H M||1995||A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840||3rd edition||New Haven and London: Yale University Press|| |
|DNB|| ||Dictionary of National Biography|| || || |
|Glasgow Gentry||1870||Old country houses of the old Glasgow gentry || || || |
|MacLehose, James||1886||Memoirs and portraits of one hundred Glasgow Men who have died during the last thirty years …|| ||Glasgow: James MacLehose & Sons|| |
|Pride, Glen L||1999||The Kingdom of Fife||2nd Edition||The Rutland Press||p153|