Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||Francis Mackison |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||1822 |
|Died: ||13 February 1884 |
|Bio Notes: ||Francis Mackison was born at Norrieston, Thornhill, in 1822, the son of William Mackison, farmer, and his wife Catherine Jenkins and younger brother of William Mackison, lawyer and later prison governor of Dundee Prison. He was educated at the parish school and then went to Glasgow University where he graduated with honours in civil engineering. He was then articled to James Leslie, Harbour Engineer at Dundee where his elder brother William Mackison senior was prison governor. While with Leslie he worked on the surveys for the original Dundee waterworks, experience which was to prove useful later. When Leslie moved to Edinburgh to commence independent practice, Mackison and several other assistants moved to Edinburgh with him. |
In or about 1848 Mackison left Leslie's office to set up his own independent practice in Stirling as civil engineer and architect. His nephew William Mackison junior, born 1833 in Dundee, was articled to him in 1851. Initially Mackison lived in lodgings in Murray Place, but on 30 April 1855 he married Jessie McLachlan, then aged 28, in a Free Church ceremony in St Ninian's, and set up house at 23 King Street. A daughter, Mary Miller Mackison, was born on 5 May 1857, but Jessie developed an unspecified disease of the chest and died on 10 August.
At that date the family was living at 3 Allan Park and William Mackison junior was lodging with them.
In the following year William Mackison junior was taken into partnership. William Mackison senior left the prison service in 1862, the year of his marriage, and returned to Stirling as a photographer with a house at Allan Park. This seems not to have been a success as he was described as an 'architect's assistant,' presumably in the Mackison office, when he died at Maxwell Place on 2 May 1868. In the same year William Mackison junior withdrew from the partnership to
accept the post of burgh engineer in Dundee, a move whih may have been precipitated by the termination of his appointment as Master of Work, Burgh Surveyor and Town's Architect of Stirling. The census returns for 1861 show that the Stirling office was a relatively small practice with one adult assistant and two apprentices.
Two years before William Mackison junior's departure, on 31 July 1866, Francis Mackison married Margaret Glover in Kensington. The census returns show that she was born at Newton Stewart c. 1834 and that her widowed mother Margaret, who came north to live with them, was from Lancashire. The Lancashire connection was reflected in the name of the house built for them at Bridge of Allan, the Villa de Lancaster, and the middle name of the first of their two daughters, Margaret de Lancaster Mackison, born 2 June 1867. The second daughter, Catherine Violet Mackison, was born on 28 September 1869.
From 1868 onwards Francis Mackison practised alone. Despite his modest business premises he had an extensive practice in railway survey work. He designed many villas in Stirling and Bridge of Allan and numerous schools, particularly after the passing of the Education Act of 1872; and despite the practice's loss of office he continued to be responsible for Stirling Water Works and the sewage scheme for Bridge of Allan. He was a prominent volunteer, in 1859 joining the 1st Stirling Burgh Rifle Corps in which he was promoted to Captain; and when he raised both the men and the money for the 2nd Corps he was promoted to Major. He was elected Town Councillor for the Cowane Street Ward in 1878 but having been on the losing side in a major Council dispute in 1879, he lost his seat in the elections of the following year.
In the late 1870s Mackison had a Glasgow office but there is at present no record of any work there to which it could relate. In 1878 he and the local landowner, William Hunter Marshall W.S., promoted the Callander Hydropathic Company, incorporated in Glasgow on 5 September. For this project Mackison obtained the assistance of Peddie & Kinnear, but as early as January 1879 there were problems of unpaid calls for capital as a result of the failure of the City of Glasgow Bank in autumn the previous year. This resulted in the project being
drastically pared down when built in 1880-82. A hydroelectric plant was planned for it but it is unclear whether this was actually carried out.
Sometime during 1883 Mackison became seriously ill, his condition being aggravated if not actually caused by heavy trading losses at the Callander Hydropathic. He recuperated for a time on the continent with his family and returned to resume practice with his 'wonted activity,' the main business being an extension of the Stirling Water Works at Touch. But later in the year his health again deteriorated: although he continued to attend business up to 8 February 1884 he became ill, suffered a stroke on the 12th and died on the 13th. He was survived by his wife and three daughters.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland||Business|| || || |
|Villa-de-Lancaster, Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, Scotland||Private|| ||1884|| |
|101, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, Scotland||Business||1878 *|| ||Temporary branch office|
* 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):|
| ||Name||Date from||Date to||Position||Notes|
|Francis and William Mackison||1858||1868||Partner|| |
Employees or Pupils
|The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Name||Date from||Date to||Position||Notes|
|William Mackison||Before 1858|| ||Apprentice|| |
|William Gilmour Wilson||After 1877||Before 1880||Senior Assistant|| |
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Scotlands People Website|| ||Wills & Testaments|| || ||Stirling Sheriff Court Wills Sc67/36/80 and Inventories Sc67/36/83|
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Architect||23 February 1884|| || ||Obituary|
|Dundee Advertiser||February 1884|| || ||Obituary|
|Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers||*|| || ||pp360-1|
|Stirling Journal and Advertiser||15 February 1884|| || || |
|Stirling Observer||21 February 1884|| || || |
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|Professor David M Walker personal archive||Professor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material|| ||Research by Elma Lindsay in census returns and birth, marriage and death registers. |