© All rights reserved. ©and courtesy of RIAS © All rights reserved. Building Industries 16 December 1921 (Courtesy of Iain Paterson) 

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Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Brown Whitie
Designation: Architect
Born: 1871
Died: 9 October 1946
Bio Notes: William Brown Whitie was born in Galashiels in 1871, the son of William Whitie, joiner and Margaret Brown. He was articled there to J & J Hall in 1884, and left at the end of this apprenticeship for Edinburgh where he worked for Kinnear & Peddie in 1890. In the following year he moved to Glasgow as assistant to John Gordon, and studied at Glasgow School of Art, but in 1894 he obtained a place with the City Engineer Alexander Beith McDonald. He remained there until he won the competition for Springburn Public Hall and Winter Garden in 1899, enabling him to commence practice in Glasgow on his own account.

In 1903 Whitie won the competition for the Public Library in Springburn and in 1906 that for the Mitchell Library, a major project which secured his position financially for life. The competition was assessed by John Keppie who was, at least in later years, to tease him mercilessly on the subject at Glasgow Art Club. The prestigious nature of the commission, which developed considerably from the original competition drawings, resulted in Whitie being admitted FRIBA without first being a licentiate on 2 March 1908, his proposers being John James Burnet, James Milne Monro, James Miller and C J MacLean.

Beyond the few big competition wins of his earlier years Whitie's practice was never large. Partly that was in the nature of Whitie himself: he never married and, beyond the Art Club, his circle of friends was limited, but to those who knew him, he was a loyal friend and in any difficulty a sound adviser. A former assistant (quoted by A Graham Henderson) summarised him as being 'studious and careful with an excellent technical knowledge and, in the best sense of the term, a good business man… He was patient, took great trouble to do everything as well as he possibly could, and his all round professional competence was of a very high order. His personal integrity expressed itself in everything he did, and a client was safe in his hands… his work, to a large extent, was designed, and detailed by himself without assistance'.

Stylistically Whitie remained very much an Edinburgh architect. It is not known if he maintained contact with J M Dick Peddie's office but the architecture of the Mitchell Library has much in common with Peddie's Edinburgh Life building. By about 1910 his massive neo Palladian had been superseded by an accomplished Beaux-Arts Louis Quinze.

Despite his withdrawn nature and limited practice, Whitie was nevertheless active in professional matters. He took an active role in founding the RIAS and was the mover of the original motion to form it at the joint meeting of the chapters. In recognition of his efforts he was President of the Glasgow Institute in 1921-22 and although he had little business between the wars, he was elected President of the RIAS in 1934-36. He was also a governor of the Royal Technical College.

Whitie died of pernicioius anaemia and parotitis at the Western Infirmary on 9 October 1946, leaving estate of £5,322 which was bequeathed to the benevolent funds of the Royal Incorporation and the Glasgow Institute. At that date he was living at 197 Great Western Road, which had been his home since at least 1908.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 517, Shamrock Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1891 *  
Item 2 of 5196, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 19001907 or 1908 
Item 3 of 5219, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1907 or 1908After 1920 
Item 4 of 5197, Great Western Road, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivateBefore 19081946 
Item 5 of 5226, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1924After 1935 

* 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):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 5J & J Hall18841889Apprentice 
Item 2 of 5Kinnear & Peddie18901891Assistant 
Item 3 of 5John Gordon18911893Assistant 
Item 4 of 5Glasgow Office of Public Works Architectural Department (later Glasgow Corporation City Engineer's Department)18941899AssistantWorking under Alexander Beith McDonald
Item 5 of 5Alexander Beith McDonald18941899AssistantIn City Engineer's Office

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1Henry Pearce RobbieBefore 1928c. 1930Assistant(?) 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 4(Sir) John James Burnet2 March 1908for Fellowship
Item 2 of 4C J MacLean2 March 1908for Fellowship
Item 3 of 4James Miller2 March 1908for Fellowship
Item 4 of 4James Milne Monro2 March 1908for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 50John Maurice Arthur1920 or 2100sfor Fellowship
Item 2 of 50Ian BaillieLate 1930for Associateship
Item 3 of 50William John BlainEarly 1921for Fellowship
Item 4 of 50Edward Hamilton BloomfieldLate 1921 or early 1922for Associateship
Item 5 of 50George Arthur BoswellLate 1920 or early 1921for Fellowship
Item 6 of 50William Brown1920 or 1921for Fellowship
Item 7 of 50William Theodore Percival Bryce26 November 1926For Associateship
Item 8 of 50Allan Pollock McKenzie BuchananJune 1920For Associateship
Item 9 of 50Jack Antonio Coia3 March 1924For Associateship
Item 10 of 50Albert Dick CordinerDecember 1928for Associateship
Item 11 of 50James Hoey Craigie1920 or 1921for Fellowship
Item 12 of 50Alexander Cullen (junior)Early 1930for Fellowship
Item 13 of 50Robert Walter Elder20 June 1927for Associateship
Item 14 of 50(Colonel) George Hunter Gardner-McLean9 January 1939for Fellowship
Item 15 of 50Thomas Gilchrist Gilmour2 December 1911for Associateship
Item 16 of 50Thomas Gilchrist Gilmour1928for Fellowship
Item 17 of 50Charles Gourlay1921for Fellowship
Item 18 of 50John Campbell HallEarly 1933for Licentiateship
Item 19 of 50John Alfred Taylor HoustonEarly 1921for Fellowship
Item 20 of 50Henry Hubbard (or Harry Hubbard)3 March 1919for Associateship
Item 21 of 50David Henry Hunter4 July 1910for Licentiateship
Item 22 of 50James Kernohan8 March 1937for Associateship
Item 23 of 50John Thomson KingLate 1928for Associateship
Item 24 of 50Gavin Lennox11 March 1928for Fellowship
Item 25 of 50Alexander Hodge LivingstoneEarly 1932for Associateship
Item 26 of 50Daniel Walter MacMathMid 1928for Fellowship
Item 27 of 50Alexander Nisbet MalcolmLate 1920for Fellowship
Item 28 of 50Malcolm Sinclair McCallumLate 1920 or early 1921for Associateship
Item 29 of 50Margaret McEwanLate 1928for Associateship
Item 30 of 50Robert Mackison McNaughtLate 1922for Associateship
Item 31 of 50Hamilton NeilEarly 1921for Fellowship
Item 32 of 50George Andrew Paterson27 October 1920for Fellowship
Item 33 of 50Henry Pearce RobbieLate 1928for Associateship
Item 34 of 50Andrew Robertson5 March 1923for Fellowship
Item 35 of 50William Ross3 December 1923For Associateship
Item 36 of 50(Dr) Colin SinclairEarly 1921for Fellowship
Item 37 of 50(Professor) William James SmithLate 1920for Associateship
Item 38 of 50Charles Geddes SoutarLate 1922for Fellowship
Item 39 of 50John StewartLate 1920 or early 1921for Fellowship
Item 40 of 50William Fraser Tytler Stewart15 October 1930for Licentiateship
Item 41 of 50William Fraser Tytler Stewart7 March 1931for Fellowship
Item 42 of 50Eric Alexander Sutherland23 October 1933for Fellowship
Item 43 of 50Francis Orr Templeton5 December 1927for Associateship
Item 44 of 50Charles Edward Tweedie (junior)6 February 1939for Licentiateship
Item 45 of 50John Mackie VentersLate 1920for Associateship
Item 46 of 50John Watson (junior)29 November 1926For Associateship
Item 47 of 50Stephen WelshJanuary 1921For Associateship
Item 48 of 50Thomas Blair Moncrieff Wightman1917for Associateship
Item 49 of 50Frederick Robert Wylie5 December 1947For Associateship
Item 50 of 50Cedric John Mathison YoungLate 1921for Associateship

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 22 Greenock AcademyGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandAdditions - date unknown
Item 2 of 221891Miller's BakerySpringburn GlasgowScotlandWith Burnet & Boston
Item 3 of 221893People's Palace  GlasgowScotlandWas mainly responsible
Item 4 of 221899Springburn & Cowlairs District HallsSpringburn GlasgowScotlandWon competition to secure job; also designed organ case sometime before 1907
Item 5 of 22After 1899FactoryPort Dundas GlasgowScotland 
Item 6 of 22After 1899Public abattoirHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 7 of 22After 1899Rechabite HallsSpringburn GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 221900Workmen's dwellingsPollokshaws GlasgowScotland 
Item 9 of 221901The White HouseSpringburn GlasgowScotland 
Item 10 of 221902Woodside Halls  GlasgowScotlandPremiated competition design
Item 11 of 22c. 1902GlenheadLenzie Dunbartonshire/LanarkshireScotland 
Item 12 of 221903Springburn Public Library and MuseumSpringburn GlasgowScotlandWon in competition
Item 13 of 221904GaskBishopbriggs LanarkshireScotland 
Item 14 of 221904Springburn Tram DepotSpringburn GlasgowScotlandBuildings converted to steam laundry
Item 15 of 221905(?)House for Arthur H J BriggsBishopbriggs LanarkshireScotland 
Item 16 of 221905(?)House for Thomas MillerBishopbriggs LanarkshireScotland 
Item 17 of 221906House for Andrew PollockNewlands GlasgowScotland 
Item 18 of 221906Mitchell Library  GlasgowScotlandWon competition to secure commission
Item 19 of 221908Chryston Higher Grade SchoolChryston    
Item 20 of 221911West End PlayhouseMaryhill (by) GlasgowScotland 
Item 21 of 221914Grand Central Picture House  GlasgowScotland 
Item 22 of 221932Askit Laboratory and Factory  GlasgowScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 5British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 5RIBA1930The RIBA Kalendar 1930-1931 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 3 of 5RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 4 of 5Royal Academy exhibitors     
Item 5 of 5Who's Who in Architecture1914    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Building Industries16 December 1921  p 137
Item 2 of 2RIAS QuarterlyFebruary 1947no. 67Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)Obituary by A Graham Henderson

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 Information on parentage and death from research by Iain Paterson
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v19 p108 no1406 (microfilm reel 12)


© All rights reserved. ©and courtesy of RIAS 

© All rights reserved. ©and courtesy of RIAS

© All rights reserved. Building Industries 16 December 1921 (Courtesy of Iain Paterson) 

© All rights reserved. Building Industries 16 December 1921 (Courtesy of Iain Paterson)