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Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Watson
Designation: Architect
Born: 1872
Died: 24 August 1936
Bio Notes: John Watson was born in Glasgow in 1872, the son of Joseph Watson, licensed grocer, and Hannah Peacock. He was articled to John Hamilton in Glasgow from 1887 to 1893, studying at Glasgow School of Art (1888 to 1894) and the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College. Having won a Royal Academy 'bone' (an inscribed ivory plaque) which provided free admission to the Royal Academy Schools, he moved to London as assistant to Niven & Wigglesworth where he remained until 1897. After a study tour of Italy he commenced practice at 231 St Vincent Street in Glasgow in 1898.

In the following year Watson took into partnership a younger colleague at Niven & Wigglesworth's, David Salmond (born 1876). Both were admitted LRIBA in the mass intake of 20 July 1911, proposed by John Bennie Wilson and the Glasgow Institute of Architects, which they had joined in 1907. Watson soon sought elevation to Fellow, and was elected on 2 December 1912, his lead proposer being Henry Edward Clifford with whom they shared an office and assistants, the others being James Miller and William Gardner Rowan.

In 1914 Watson & Salmond took into partnership another employee of Niven & Wigglesworth, James Henry Gray (born 1885), the practice having won the competition for the extension of Glasgow City Chambers. It was for this accomplished French Renaissance design that in 1927 the firm was awarded the first RIBA Scottish Architecture medal for the best city building completed within the preceding five years. Much of the work of the practice was in Glasgow but further afield they won commissions for factories and other works in the Midlands and the south west of Scotland. In 1925 Henry Edward Clifford retired and his practice was merged with that of Watson Salmond & Gray, making them architects to the Victoria Infirmary.

Watson was active in professional circles: he served on the RIBA Council and as an external examiner, was elected ARSA in 1929, and was President of the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts (1915-18) and of Glasgow Art Club (1931-32 and 1932-33), Deacon of the Incorporation of Wrights and Governor of Glasgow School of Art. He retired c. 1932, partly due to ill-health and partly to give more time to RIAS business: he was President when he died of a cerebral haemorrhage in the Victoria Infirmary on 24 August 1936. His address at that date was 12 Northland Drive, Scotstoun. He had been twice married: first to Elizabeth Cumming, by whom he had a son, John, who followed in his father's footsteps as an architect, and after her death, to Margaret Pollock Spence by whom he also had a son, James Spence Watson, who was also to become an architect, landscape architect and town planner.

Salmond, who was fairly well off, had retired early in 1933 to concentrate on his musical interests. His place as partner was taken in 1934 by Watson's son, John Watson, Junior. Born in 1903, from 1920 he had been articled to Burnet Son & Dick where he worked on the Zoology Building at the University of Glasgow, and where Sir John Burnet, a friend of his father, had taken a personal interest in his development. While at Burnet's Watson Junior studied at the Glasgow School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Technical College. There he won several medals and bursaries, including a minor scholarship which enabled him to spend four weeks in France in 1924-25, and the John Keppie Travelling Scholarship which funded a year's study in Italy, France and Spain in 1925-26. In 1926 he settled in London as a senior draughtsman to Niven & Wigglesworth, but because of the dissolution of that partnership he moved in the following year to the office of Sir John William Simpson, and in 1929 to that of Emanuel Vincent Harris. Whilst with Harris, he travelled again to Italy, and to Sicily and the south of France, for seven weeks in 1930; and served as editor of the RIAS Quarterly in 1931 and 1932. He enjoyed his London years and it was with some regret that he returned to Glasgow with a view to taking up the partnership vacated by Salmond's departure.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 729, West Scotland Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1888 *  
Item 2 of 786, Ardgowan Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18881894 
Item 3 of 7231, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 18981902 or 1903 
Item 4 of 7225, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1902 or 19031913 
Item 5 of 7Dalcairnie/7, Church Road, Giffnock, Renfrewshire, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1911After 1913 
Item 6 of 7242, West George Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1913c. 1934 
Item 7 of 712, Northland Drive, Scotstoun, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1936 *  

* 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 4John H Hamilton18871893Apprentice 
Item 2 of 4Niven & Wigglesworth18931897Assistant 
Item 3 of 4Watson & Salmond18991914Partner 
Item 4 of 4Watson, Salmond & Gray1914c. 1933Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 4Henry Edward Clifford2 December 1912for Fellowship
Item 2 of 4James Miller2 December 1912for Fellowship
Item 3 of 4William Gardner Rowan2 December 1912for Fellowship
Item 4 of 4John Bennie Wilson20 July 1911for Licentiateship - as President of the Glasgow Institute of Architects

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 90John Armour (junior)Late 1920 or January 1921for Fellowship
Item 2 of 90Ian BaillieLate 1930for Associateship
Item 3 of 90James BennettLate 1915for Associateship
Item 4 of 90Robert BlainMid 1923for Associateship
Item 5 of 90William John BlainEarly 1921for Fellowship
Item 6 of 90Edward Hamilton BloomfieldLate 1921 or early 1922for Associateship
Item 7 of 90George Arthur BoswellLate 1920 or early 1921for Fellowship
Item 8 of 90Margaret Brash Brodie (Miss)Late 1930for Associateship
Item 9 of 90Robert BrodieJune 1920For Associateship
Item 10 of 90Allan Pollock McKenzie BuchananJune 1920For Associateship
Item 11 of 90James BunyanLate 1929 or early 1930for Associateship
Item 12 of 90James Brown CairnsLate 1931 or early 1932for Associateship
Item 13 of 90Jack Antonio Coia3 March 1924For Associateship
Item 14 of 90Robert Anderson CollieLate 1931for Associateship
Item 15 of 90Henry ('Harry') CookLate 1930 or early 1931for Licentiateship
Item 16 of 90Henry ('Harry') Cook1931for Fellowship
Item 17 of 90Albert Dick CordinerDecember 1928for Associateship
Item 18 of 90James Hoey Craigie1920 or 1921for Fellowship
Item 19 of 90Alexander Cullen (junior)Early 1920for Associateship
Item 20 of 90John Eadie Waddel DallachyLate 1928for Associateship
Item 21 of 90Alexander MacLauchlan DuncanLate 1915 or early 1916For Associateship
Item 22 of 90John FairweatherEarly 1916for Fellowship
Item 23 of 90Ludovic Gordon Farquhar30 November 1925For Associateship
Item 24 of 90John James Bayne GibbLate 1929 or early 1930for Associateship
Item 25 of 90Thomas Gilchrist Gilmour1928for Fellowship
Item 26 of 90David HallyEarly 1931for Licentiateship
Item 27 of 90Andrew Hamilton1931for Fellowship
Item 28 of 90Andrew HamiltonEarly 1931for Licentiateship
Item 29 of 90Archibald Oliphant HamiltonEarly 1929For Associateship
Item 30 of 90Andrew Graham HendersonLate 1930for Fellowship
Item 31 of 90James Maclaren HoneymanMid 1919for Associateship
Item 32 of 90James HoustonEarly 1920for Associateship
Item 33 of 90Henry Hubbard (or Harry Hubbard)3 March 1919for Associateship
Item 34 of 90(Captain) Arthur James Scott HuttonLate 1918for Associateship
Item 35 of 90David Bateman HuttonEarly 1915for Fellowship
Item 36 of 90John Jeffrey4 June 1928For Associateship
Item 37 of 90John Thomson KingLate 1928for Associateship
Item 38 of 90Alexander Ernest Christian Lipp4 June 1928For Associateship
Item 39 of 90Samuel Lionel Lipson29 March 1926for Associateship
Item 40 of 90Thomas Melville LunanLate 1920 or early 1921for Fellowship
Item 41 of 90Alfred Ian Duncan MacdonaldLate 1930for Associateship
Item 42 of 90Robert Norman Houghton MacKellarEarly 1914for Associateship
Item 43 of 90Alexander Hood MacLeod24 February 1932for Licentiateship
Item 44 of 90Alexander MairLate 1930 or early 1931for Licentiateship
Item 45 of 90Alexander Nisbet MalcolmLate 1920for Fellowship
Item 46 of 90Malcolm Sinclair McCallumLate 1920 or early 1921for Associateship
Item 47 of 90James McNab (or Hamish McNab)Mid 1933for Licentiateship
Item 48 of 90John McNab (or John MacNab)Late 1930 or early 1931for Licentiateship
Item 49 of 90Patrick McNeil5 December 1927For Associateship
Item 50 of 90Lockhart Fraser Miller10 October 1930for Licentiateship
Item 51 of 90Robert Henderson Motion15 October 1930for Licentiateship
Item 52 of 90Forbes MurisonLate 1931for Associateship
Item 53 of 90James Napier16 December 1918for Associateship
Item 54 of 90Richard Mervyn Noad (or simply Mervyn Noad)Late 1930for Associateship
Item 55 of 90Archibald Gilchrist PatonEarly 1921For Associateship
Item 56 of 90Norval Rowallan PaxtonMid 1923for Associateship
Item 57 of 90Larmont Douglas PenmanEarly 1929for Fellowship
Item 58 of 90Charles Findlater ReidEarly 1931for Licentiateship
Item 59 of 90Robert Rennie5 March 1934For Associateship
Item 60 of 90Henry Pearce RobbieLate 1928for Associateship
Item 61 of 90David RobertsonMid 1919for Associateship
Item 62 of 90George William Robertson4 June 1928for Associateship
Item 63 of 90Alexander Arthur Robin4 December 1933for Associateship
Item 64 of 90Robert Leslie RolloLate 1920for Associateship
Item 65 of 90John Alistair RossEarly 1931for Licentiateship
Item 66 of 90Launcelot Hugh RossEarly 1931for Licentiateship
Item 67 of 90Launcelot Hugh RossMid 1931for Fellowship
Item 68 of 90William Ross3 December 1923For Associateship
Item 69 of 90George Shaw ShandEarly 1931for Associateship
Item 70 of 90George Ferguson Smellie Shanks5 January 1925for Associateship
Item 71 of 90Marion Mitchell Shaw (Mrs Young)Late 1930for Associateship
Item 72 of 90(Dr) Colin SinclairEarly 1921for Fellowship
Item 73 of 90Lawrence Harrower Smart10 October 1930for Licentiateship
Item 74 of 90Alexander Smellie15 October 1930for Licentiateship
Item 75 of 90David Reekie SmithEarly 1932for Associateship
Item 76 of 90(Professor) William James SmithLate 1930for Fellowship
Item 77 of 90John Forrest Steel (or John Forrester Steel?)Late 1920for Fellowship
Item 78 of 90Donald McKay Stoddart30 November 1925for Fellowship
Item 79 of 90James TaylorEarly 1931for Licentiateship
Item 80 of 90James TaylorLate 1931for Fellowship
Item 81 of 90Thomas Lumsden Taylor1915for Fellowship
Item 82 of 90Francis Orr Templeton5 December 1927for Associateship
Item 83 of 90Archibald Graham Walker30 November 1925for Associateship
Item 84 of 90David Stark Reid WaughLate 1929for Associateship
Item 85 of 90Stephen WelshJanuary 1921For Associateship
Item 86 of 90James Miller WhalleyEarly 1932for Associateship
Item 87 of 90Henry Neil WhimsterMid 1920for Associateship
Item 88 of 90Thomas Blair Moncrieff Wightman1917for Associateship
Item 89 of 90Robert WilsonLate 1919For Associateship
Item 90 of 90John Wittet16 May 1927for Fellowship

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 701898Double villaGiffnock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 2 of 70After 1898HouseWhistlefield DunbartonshireScotlandProbably 1911
Item 3 of 701899Cottage for W Lang Edgar     
Item 4 of 701899Cottages for D S SalmondGiffnock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 5 of 701899Semi-detached cottagesBrookfield RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 6 of 701899Springburn & Cowlairs District HallsSpringburn GlasgowScotlandCompetition design - placed third
Item 7 of 70After 1899Capelrig House   Scotland 
Item 8 of 701900Board SchoolsPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandWon competition
Item 9 of 701901Busby SchoolBusby LanarkshireScotlandWon competition and secured job
Item 10 of 701901Netherton Farmhouse  RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 11 of 701901Steading for Andrew ClementNetherton  Scotland 
Item 12 of 701901Tollcross Park UF Church Hall  GlasgowScotland 
Item 13 of 701901Westdene  DundeeScotland 
Item 14 of 701902Girvan Methodist ChurchGirvan AyrshireScotland 
Item 15 of 701902House for A CunninghamStewarton AyrshireScotland 
Item 16 of 701902House for J Reid BennieBridge of Weir RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 17 of 701902Pollokshields Congregational ChurchPollokshields GlasgowScotlandCompetition design - not successful
Item 18 of 701903Tarbet HotelTarbet DunbartonshireScotlandAlterations
Item 19 of 701903(?)Tulliallan Castle, gardens and lodgeKincardine-on-Forth FifeScotlandAlterations to castle, and new gateway and lodge built. Also further additions 1913.
Item 20 of 701903Unspecified Glasgow Free Library  GlasgowScotlandCompetition design - not successful
Item 21 of 701904House for Mrs M SteenSkelmorlie AyrshireScotland 
Item 22 of 701904Montrose Public LibraryMontrose AngusScotlandCompetition design - not successful
Item 23 of 701904Partick Methodist ChurchPartick GlasgowScotlandAlterations, removal of spire and curved parapet
Item 24 of 701904St Vincent Street UP Church  GlasgowScotlandOrgan case
Item 25 of 701904UF ChurchLochgilphead ArgyllScotland 
Item 26 of 701904Wesleyan Methodist Central HallsPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 27 of 70October 1904Blairvadach Row, engineer's cottageShandon DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 28 of 701906Overtoun Park, lodge (superintentent's house), gates and layout of parkRutherglen LanarkshireScotland 
Item 29 of 701906Tenements, Dunn StreetPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 30 of 701906Tenements, off Carriagehill DrivePaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 31 of 701906The Tudor HouseSkelmorlie AyrshireScotlandBuildings of Scotland gives 1904-05
Item 32 of 701907Paisley Mission HallsPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 33 of 701907Perth Town HallPerth PerthshireScotlandUnsucessful competition design
Item 34 of 701908Two pairs of semi-detached cottagesHouston RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 35 of 701909DalriadaPortincaple ArgyllScotland 
Item 36 of 701910Craigton SchoolCraigton GlasgowScotland 
Item 37 of 701910Stable, Mart Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 38 of 701911Barcapel House  RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 39 of 701911Butler's CottageKilcreggan DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 40 of 70January 1911Design for a small houseNewtonmore InvernesshireScotland 
Item 41 of 701913Glasgow Municipal Buildings  GlasgowScotlandWon competition to secure job for extension. Begun but never completed
Item 42 of 701914Barcaple HouseRingford, Castle Douglas? Kirkcudbrightshire?Scotland 
Item 43 of 701914Tom-na-MonachanPitlochry PerthshireScotlandInterior work
Item 44 of 70Before 1914(?)CottageBurnmouth BerwickshireScotland 
Item 45 of 70c. 1914HouseBurnside GlasgowScotland 
Item 46 of 701919Davidson Memorial Cottage HospitalGirvan AyrshireScotland 
Item 47 of 701920202 Bath Street  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 48 of 70June 1920House for Herr OswaldMilngavie DunbartonshireScotlandChauffeur's cottage
Item 49 of 70c. 1920Methodist HallsMaryhill GlasgowScotlandHS attribution
Item 50 of 701921Glasgow Municipal Buildings  GlasgowScotlandScheme for enlargement of council chamber with giant Corinthian portico on George Square, to match Banqueting Hall on George Street and to complement Burnet's war memorial; canvas mock-up proposed by council which Watson declined to agree to; unexecuted
Item 51 of 701922Castle LevanGourock RenfrewshireScotlandSurvey and alterations
Item 52 of 701922Cathkin HouseCarmunnock LanarkshireScotlandAlterations including entrance door
Item 53 of 701922Pollokshields Free ChurchPollokshields GlasgowScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 54 of 701922Waverley CinemaShawlands Cross GlasgowScotland 
Item 55 of 701923Eastern District Hospital, Nurses' Home  GlasgowScotlandExtension
Item 56 of 701923GracefieldPrestwick AyrshireScotland 
Item 57 of 70October 1923Bungalow for Charles GrayBridge of Weir RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 58 of 701925Cathcart Established Church and manse  GlasgowScotlandCompletion to Clifford's design
Item 59 of 701925Philipshill Auxiliary HospitalThorntonhall LanarkshireScotland 
Item 60 of 701925Victoria InfirmaryLangside GlasgowScotlandCompletion of new ward pavilion designed by H E Clifford
Item 61 of 701927101-103 St Vincent Street  GlasgowScotlandNew shop front
Item 62 of 701927Glenfeulan, chauffeur's cottageShandon DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 63 of 701927House for Mrs GrayTayvallich ArgyllScotland 
Item 64 of 701928Philipshill Auxiliary Hospital, nurses' homeThorntonhall GlasgowScotland 
Item 65 of 701929Glasgow Academy  GlasgowScotlandScience block
Item 66 of 701929House at WhitecraigsWhitecraigs GlasgowScotland'Builder' suggests he was mainly responsible
Item 67 of 701929Unspecified bank and offices   ScotlandCompetition design (presumably)
Item 68 of 701930Victoria InfirmaryLangside GlasgowScotlandPaying patients' annexe
Item 69 of 701930Victoria Infirmary, private annexeLangside GlasgowScotland 
Item 70 of 701931Philipshill Auxiliary Hospital, John Innes Memorial ChapelThorntonhall LanarkshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 3Murray, Ian (parts written by John Watson Junior) The Victoria Infirmary of Glasgow 1890-1938  p87
Item 2 of 3Post Office Directories     
Item 3 of 3RIBA1930The RIBA Kalendar 1930-1931 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder4 September 1936  Obituary - CHECK for further info
Item 2 of 4Glasgow Herald24 August 1936  Obituary
Item 3 of 4RIBA Journal20 March 1937v44London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp 516 - obituary
Item 4 of 4Scotsman25 August 1936  Obituary

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 marriages from research by Iain Paterson. Information from Watson's second son, James Spence Watson, via email.
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers L v21 no1660; F v21 no1487 (microfilm reel 13)


© All rights reserved. The Builders'> 

© All rights reserved. The Builders' Journal & Architectural Engineer [London], Vol. 30, 31 December 1909, page 618.

© All rights reserved. Building Industries 16 April 1914 (Who 

© All rights reserved. Building Industries 16 April 1914 (Who's who series) (Courtesy of Iain Paterson)

© All rights reserved. Šand courtesy of RIAS 

© All rights reserved. Šand courtesy of RIAS