© All rights reserved. Building Industries 16 September 1922 (Courtesy of Iain Paterson) 

Larger versions of these images are located at the foot of the page.

Basic Biographical Details

Name: Charles James McNair
Designation: Architect
Born: 1 November 1881
Died: 17 August 1955
Bio Notes: Charles James McNair was born on 1 November 1881, the son of Henry McNair, butcher, and Catherine Sloan. He was articled to James Archibald Morris of Ayr from 1898 to 1903. In the latter year he moved to Glasgow to become assistant to John Nisbet and took over his practice on his retirement in 1910, with Robert Norman Houghton McKellar as his chief assistant from 1913.

McNair was primarily a cinema architect mainly through his partnership with George Urie Scott in the Cinema Construction Co: between the wars he worked with Robert Elder who was first chief assistant and then partner from 1936. It used to be said that McNair got the work and Elder designed it: Elder was an able designer but was remembered by an assistant, Robert Forsyth, as 'a very shy man who didn't want to take the credit'. Some of their later work was considerably influenced by T S Tait.

McNair was married twice: first to Agnes Jane Hamilton, and later to Margaret Coutts Jack. He died of coronary thrombosis in Victoria Infirmary on 17 August 1955, his home address at the time of his death being 16 Carolside Avenue, Clarkston. He left estate of £8,902 17s 10d.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 515, Charlotte Street, Ayr, Ayrshire, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1904After 1926 
Item 2 of 5112, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1910After 1933Location of Nisbet's practice
Item 3 of 5272, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1937After 1941At least those years
Item 4 of 5529, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1950 *  
Item 5 of 516, Carolside Avenue, Clarkston, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1955 *  

* 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 5James Archibald Morris18981903Apprentice 
Item 2 of 5John Nisbet19031905Draughtsman 
Item 3 of 5John Nisbet19051910Senior Assistant 
Item 4 of 5McNair & Elder1936After 1941Partner 
Item 5 of 5C J McNair Elder & RidleyBefore 1950 Partner 

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 13Alexander MacLauchlan Duncan19121913Chief Assistant 
Item 2 of 13Robert Norman Houghton MacKellar19131914(?)Draughtsman 
Item 3 of 13James Macgregor Harvey19181920Chief Draughtsman 
Item 4 of 13Daniel MacKay (or McKay)19201929Assistant 
Item 5 of 13John Mackie Venters2 February 19201921Assistant 
Item 6 of 13Joseph Wilson1923 * Architect 
Item 7 of 13George Anderson Findlay4 January 192424 March 1930Apprentice 
Item 8 of 13John Gairns Laskie19261927Assistant 
Item 9 of 13Robert Walter ElderAfter 19271936Partner 
Item 10 of 13Robert Walter Elderc. 1927Before 1936Chief Assistant 
Item 11 of 13James Bunyan19291930Draughtsman 
Item 12 of 13James Symington Houston19291932Assistant 
Item 13 of 13James Hastie MacLeod19351936Chief Assistant 

* earliest date known from documented sources.


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Neil Campbell Duff22 April 1912for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 3John Fairweather22 April 1912for Licentiateship
Item 3 of 3James Archibald Morris22 April 1912for Licentiateship

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 791904Commercial Bank, FalkirkFalkirk StirlingshireScotlandAs chief assistant to John Nisbet
Item 2 of 791905House at Maxwell ParkMaxwell Park GlasgowScotlandAs chief assistant to John Nisbet
Item 3 of 79After 19057 Bath Street  GlasgowScotlandAlterations - as chief assistant to John Nisbet
Item 4 of 79After 1905Partick Saw MillsPartick GlasgowScotlandAs chief assistant to John Nisbet
Item 5 of 79After 1905Temple Sawmills (Messrs Robinson & Dunn)  GlasgowScotlandAs chief assistant to John Nisbet - offices
Item 6 of 791906(?)Alexandra Park tenements  GlasgowScotlandBegun whilst employed by John Nisbet
Item 7 of 791906(?)Tenements, Bute Gardens  GlasgowScotlandAs assistant to Nisbet
Item 8 of 791906Tenements, Camphill Gate  GlasgowScotlandAs chief assistant to John Nisbet
Item 9 of 791907 or 1909Tivoli Theatre  GlasgowScotlandConversion to cinema
Item 10 of 791910House at StanecastleIrvine AyrshireScotland 
Item 11 of 791910Residential FlatsGourock RenfrewshireScotland'in the course of erection'
Item 12 of 791910Star Palace CinemaPartick GlasgowScotland 
Item 13 of 791910Wine storePartick GlasgowScotland 
Item 14 of 791911Picture Theatre, Sauchiehall Street  GlasgowScotland'in the course of erection'
Item 15 of 791911Possil Engine Works  GlasgowScotlandAdditions
Item 16 of 791912Canadian Picture HouseSpringburn GlasgowScotlandOriginal building
Item 17 of 791913Cathcart Picture HouseCathcart GlasgowScotlandOriginal building
Item 18 of 791913Palaceum CinemaShettleston GlasgowScotland 
Item 19 of 7919143 Craigendoran AvenueHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandRear extension
Item 20 of 791916Garrick Cinema  GlasgowScotlandOriginal building
Item 21 of 791921Canadian Picture HouseSpringburn GlasgowScotlandRebuilding
Item 22 of 791921Dennistoun Picture HouseDennistoun GlasgowScotland 
Item 23 of 791921Garrick Cinema  GlasgowScotlandRebuilding
Item 24 of 791921Scotia CinemaBridgeton GlasgowScotland 
Item 25 of 791922Lyric CinemaGovan GlasgowScotland 
Item 26 of 791922The Old Church, AyrAyr AyrshireScotlandFirst World War Memorial
Item 27 of 791926King's TheatreKilmarnock AyrshireScotlandAlterations to balcony
Item 28 of 791927Blythswood Cinema  GlasgowScotland 
Item 29 of 791927Cambridge Picture House  GlasgowScotlandInterior rebuilt
Item 30 of 791927Picture HouseAyr AyrshireScotlandAdditions
Item 31 of 791928Cathcart Picture HouseCathcart GlasgowScotlandRebuilding
Item 32 of 791928Drapery warehouse  GlasgowScotland 
Item 33 of 791929Panorama  GlasgowScotlandConversion into Regal Cinema - includes centrepiece of façade (with canopy)
Item 34 of 791929St Andrews Cinema HouseSt Andrews FifeScotlandAlterations - additional bay and stage at south end; large addition to seating accommodation
Item 35 of 791930sThe Old Church, AyrAyr AyrshireScotlandSession House
Item 36 of 791930Railton Picture House  GlasgowScotland 
Item 37 of 791930Regal CinemaStirling StirlingshireScotlandGiven as architect in 'Builder'
Item 38 of 791930Talkie TheatreDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 39 of 791931Hippodrome CinemaOatlands GlasgowScotlandRebuilding as Ritz
Item 40 of 791931Palace TheatreGorbals GlasgowScotlandReconstruction
Item 41 of 791931Regal CinemaDumfries DumfriesshireScotlandNames as architect in 1931
Item 42 of 791931Regal CinemaHamilton LanarkshireScotland 
Item 43 of 791931Rex CinemaRiddrie GlasgowScotland 
Item 44 of 791932Lyceum Cinema (II)Govan GlasgowScotlandRebuilding as Lyceum Cinema
Item 45 of 791933ABC CinemaFalkirk StirlingshireScotland 
Item 46 of 791933King's TheatreKilmarnock AyrshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 47 of 791933New Century TheatreMotherwell LanarkshireScotlandConversion to Rex cinema
Item 48 of 791933Regal cinemaPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 49 of 791933Residence for George Urie Scott at WilliamwoodCathcart GlasgowScotland 
Item 50 of 791933Unidentified cinema   Scotland 
Item 51 of 791934CinemaMotherwell LanarkshireScotlandAlterations and additions after a fire
Item 52 of 791934Regal Cinema and Bingo HallCoatbridge LanarkshireScotland 
Item 53 of 791934Tivoli Theatre  GlasgowScotlandRenovation
Item 54 of 791935Bellgrove Hotel  GlasgowScotland 
Item 55 of 791935King's Theatre (and tenement)Kirkcaldy FifeScotlandInterior rebuilt as cinema
Item 56 of 791935Princess Cinema  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 57 of 79c. 1935Pavilion TheatreBarrhead GlasgowScotland 
Item 58 of 791936CinemaInverness Inverness-shireScotland 
Item 59 of 791936Cinema on Palladium siteTollcross GlasgowScotland 
Item 60 of 791936Cinema, Mount FloridaMount Florida GlasgowScotland 
Item 61 of 791936Palaceum CinemaShettleston GlasgowScotlandRebuilding
Item 62 of 791936Plaza CinemaGovan GlasgowScotland 
Item 63 of 791936Premises of Messrs Yarrow, shipbuildersScotstoun GlasgowScotland 
Item 64 of 791936Princes CinemaSpringburn GlasgowScotland 
Item 65 of 791936Two Super CinemasMiotherwell LanarkshireScotland 
Item 66 of 791937Dennistoun Palais de DanseDennistoun GlasgowScotland 
Item 67 of 791937Glen Moray HotelDunoon ArgyllScotland 
Item 68 of 791937Greenock BB cinemaGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandReconstruction and additions - with Stewart Tough & Alexander.
Item 69 of 791937Playhouse CinemaGalashiels SelkirkshireScotland 
Item 70 of 791937State CinemaKing's Park GlasgowScotland 
Item 71 of 791937State CinemaShettleston GlasgowScotland 
Item 72 of 791937Super Cinema CartsdykeGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandThough McNair in partnership in 1937 'Architect & Building News' gives McNair's name only.
Item 73 of 791938Lyceum Cinema (II)Govan GlasgowScotlandRebuilding after fire
Item 74 of 791938Olympia Theatre of VarietiesBridgeton GlasgowScotlandInternal rebuilding
Item 75 of 791938Super cinemaRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 76 of 791939Ascot CinemaAnniesland GlasgowScotland 
Item 77 of 791939Kelso's La Scala CinemaInverness Inverness-shireScotlandAlterations?
Item 78 of 791939Mosspark Cinema  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 79 of 791939Plaza CinemaKilmarnock AyrshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 7British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 7Johnston, W T2003Artists of Scotland Officina Publications CDROM 
Item 3 of 7Peter, Bruce1996100 Years of Glasgow's Amazing Cinemas Edinburgh: Polygon 
Item 4 of 7Post Office Directories     
Item 5 of 7RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 6 of 7RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 7 of 7Who's Who in Architecture1914    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Building Industries16 September 1922  includes portrait

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 Additional research (parentage, marriages, death and addresses) by Iain Paterson
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers L v22 no1797


© All rights reserved. Building Industries 16 September 1922 (Courtesy of Iain Paterson) 

© All rights reserved. Building Industries 16 September 1922 (Courtesy of Iain Paterson)