Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||John Watson |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||1853 or 1855 |
|Died: ||Early 1924 |
|Bio Notes: ||John Watson was born in 1853 (or 1855), the second son of George Watson, cabinet maker and house gurnisher and his wife Agnes Shaw. Thre younger brothers were also architects George Mackie WAtson who remained in Edinburgh and Arthur John Paul Watson and Robert James George Watson who emigrated to Australia. John Watson was articled to Robert Rowand Anderson in November 1869. He left in 1875 to join J & R Ingram of Kilmarnock but returned to Anderson in 1876, remaining with him until 1882. He had a particularly close relationship with Anderson, working on all his major projects of the 1870s and early 1880s. Between 1876 and 1880 Watson spent three months of each year sketching historic Scots architecture, sometimes with Anderson. He sat on the Edinburgh Architectural Association's Sketch Book Committee from at least 1875 and initiated its classes for students, most of which he supervised himself, until their role was taken over by Anderson's School of Applied Art. Watson's younger brother, George Mackie Watson (born 1859), also joined Anderson's office as an articled apprentice probably through his brother's influence and stayed with Anderson even longer, not commencing independent practice until 1899. |
In or shortly after 1884 John Watson entered into a partnership with David McArthy (born 1854), their office being at 33 South Castle Street. The practice moved first to 137 George Street c.1889 and then to 25 Frederick Street in 1900. In 1906 the partnership was dissolved, Watson setting up his own office at first at 24 Castle Street and then at 27 Rutland Street where he seems to have remained until at least 1923.
Watson was admitted FRIBA on 3 December 1906; surprisingly his proposers were Hippolyte Jean Blanc, James Macintyre Henry and Alexander Hunter Crawford rather than Anderson. On the reorganisation of Edinburgh College of Art in 1908 he was appointed head of the architecture section, a position he held until his resignation in 1914 at the age of sixty-one.
Of Watson, his pupil Thomas Forbes Maclennan recalled that 'he never seemed to consider for a moment whether a job was paying or not… he would expect from those under him the same unselfish devotion, and he would be surprised and hurt if one preferred to spend a Saturday afternoon at golf to spending it laboriously measuring an ancient building under his careful and scholarly guidance… In competitive work, he frequently had the hardest of luck. While in partnership with McArthy, their design for the SSC Library was placed first, and again their design for Ayr Public Library was placed first but in neither case did the work come their way.'
Watson was Vice-President of the Edinburgh Architectural Association in 1897-1900 and its President 1908-1910. He died in early 1924.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|14, Shandwick Place, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||c. 1882||c. 1884|| |
|33, South Castle Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||c. 1884||c. 1889|| |
|10, Grove Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||1884 or 1885|| || |
|Primrose Vill, Davidson's Mains, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||c. 1889|| || |
|137, George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||c. 1889||1900|| |
|25, Frederick Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1900|| || |
|5, Morningside Park, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||1903 or 1904||c. 1923|| |
|24, Castle Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1906 *|| || |
|27, Rutland Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||c. 1909||c. 1924|| |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
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|
|Robert Philip Shaw||December 1907|| ||Apprentice|| |
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Who's Who in Architecture||1914|| || || || |
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Builder||21 March 1924||v126|| ||p452 - obituary|
|RIAS Quarterly||1924||no 9||Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)||Obituary|
|RIBA Journal||22 March 1924||v31||London: Royal Institute of British Architects||p365 - obituary|
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|H M Register House||Death Register|| || |
|National Archives (via Scotlands People)||Statutory births|| || |
|RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert Museum||RIBA Nomination Papers|| ||F v18 p51 no1199 (microfilm reel 12)|