Basic Biographical Details

Name: John B Wilson & Son
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1909
Ended: After 1926(?)
Bio Notes: John Bennie Wilson was born in Glasgow in 1848, the son of Archibald Wilson, mechanical engineer, and his wife Janet Wilson. Educated at St Enoch's School and Anderson's Institution, he was articled to John Honeyman in 1864 and remained with him as an assistant from 1869 until 1873 when he transferred to the office of David Thomson. He moved again to John Burnet's in 1875, and remained there until he commenced independent practice on his own account in 1879 at 227 West George Street, Glasgow. He was, unusually for a Scot at that date, admitted ARIBA on 22 March 1882, his proposers being Honeyman, Thomson and Burnet. In that same year he moved office to 112 Bath Street.

Wilson had a very large church building practice, mainly won through open and limited competitions. In addition to the larger churches listed below, Wilson was said by A G Lochhead and W A P Jack to have designed a number of very small and very plain churches in the Highlands and Islands, but these do not appear in either the 'Buildings of Scotland' Highland or Argyll volumes. Wilson's earlier churches tended to be Early English, perhaps influenced by his two years with the younger Burnet as well as by his apprenticeship with Honeyman, but in the later 1880s he adopted a late Gothic style ultimately derived from the free Gothic of Sedding and his circle in London, adapted to Presbyterian plan forms. His classical work similarly derives from London rather than Honeyman or Burnetian models, notably at the Collcutt-inspired Motherwell Town Hall, but moved into more Palladian influenced forms later.

In 1897 Wilson moved office to 92 Bath Street and in 1909 the practice became John B Wilson & Son when his son and pupil John Archibald Wilson, who had been born c. 1880 and studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1894 to 1901, was taken into partnership. The elder Wilson was admitted FRIBA on 28 February 1910, his proposers being George Bell, Burnet and John Keppie. As a very active president of the Glasgow Institute of Architects, he became a member of the RIBA Council in the following year.

Wilson was awarded the Gold Medal of Honour at the Vienna Health Congress for the plans of the County Asylum at Ayr. He was an enthusiastic volunteer, joining the 3rd Lanarkshire Scottish Rifles as a private in 1868. He was commissioned in 1880 and promoted to Major in 1894 and to Lieutenant Colonel in 1903. He succeeded Colonel Howie as commander in 1905 and marched 700 men past Edward VII at the Edinburgh Review of 1906, but severe illness brought his military career to a close in the following year. He was awarded the Volunteer Decoration.

Wilson was a member of the Trades House and a prominent mason in Kilwinning Mother Lodge and the Cathedral RA Chapter. He was also a football enthusiast, becoming President of the Glasgow Football Charity Cup Committee. He married twice, first to Sarah Harrison and secondly to a widow, Mary Gilmour Paton or Barclay and survived both, dying on 3 January 1923 at 45 Fotheringay Road, Pollokshields, aged seventy-three. He left a moveable estate of 7,782 4s 11d. His son was admitted FRIBA in 1925 but survived his father by only three years, dying on 1 May 1926. The practice was taken over by James M Honeyman, initially under the style of Honeyman, John B Wilson & Son.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 192, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1909After 1926 

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 4John Bennie Wilson19091923Partner 
Item 2 of 4John Archibald Wilson19091926Partner 
Item 3 of 4Alexander Smellie19111914Draughtsman 
Item 4 of 4John CampbellJune 1929September 1931Assistant 

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice 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 31910Claud Street SchoolLarkhall LanarkshireScotland 
Item 2 of 31910Stonelaw UF ChurchRutherglen LanarkshireScotland 
Item 3 of 31911Cold Store  GlasgowScotlandAnderston Quay block


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 1Bailey, Rebecca M1996Scottish architects' papers: a source book Edinburgh: The Rutland Presspp144-155