Basic Biographical Details

Name: William McNicol Whyte
Designation: Architect, Surveyor
Born: 27 June 1854
Died: 30 November 1930
Bio Notes: William McNicol Whyte was born at Glenside Farm, Perthshire on 27 June 1854, the son of James Whyte, 'shepherd or farmer' and Marjory Slater, whose married surname is variously given as Whyte, Stewart and McNicol, the last of these being that at her date of death when she was known as Marion rather than as Marjorie.

About 1870 Whyte was articled to Miller of Stirling for four years and was thereafter assistant to Thomas Begg McFadyen in Edinburgh. He married Elizabeth Walkinshaw or Young, a widow, by declaration at 65 Jamaica Street, Glasgow on 5 August 1880. At that date he was described as a master mason, and his wife already had at least one child, Elizabeth, born in Alloa c.1879, who took the name Whyte after the marriage. In c.1881 he seems to have been in Stirling when their first child James was born. The others - Catherine (born c.1884) and William McNicol (born 20 May 1886) - were born in Glasgow.

Prior to commencing independent practice in Glasgow in 1882, Whyte travelled in the USA and Canada, retaining an enthusiasm for all things American thereafter. His practice was almost exclusively tenements, and at some he probably acted as his own builder. Most are plain, but occasionally some were sufficiently upmarket to be more architectural. His 1886 block at Balmoral Crescent, one of Glasgow's most exuberant tenements, is endowed with a figure strongly reminiscent of New York's Statue of Liberty, and in the same block he is reputed to have ordered caricatures of bailies who had initially opposed his designs to be carved, along with portraits of himself and the builder responsible. Walkinshaw Terrace, Langside, where William McNicol Whyte Junior was born, appears to have been named after his wife.

In the first decade of the twentieth century he was briefly in partnership with an unidentified Kennedy. Whyte was admitted LRIBA on 24 June 1912, his proposers being John Bennie Wilson (whom he had known since 1892), Alexander Skirving and Robert Douglas Sandilands. At that date he was practising at 87 Union Street and living at 14 Woodlands Road, Charing Cross.

Whyte was still working in Glasgow in 1923 when a Glasgow Herald journalist, writing about the Balmoral Crescent sculptures, reported that he 'had Dundreary whiskers, but latterly shaved them off'. He died of a cerebral thrombosis at 63 Possil Road, Glasgow on 30 November 1930.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect, surveyor:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 965, Jamaica Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1880 *  
Item 2 of 9Walkinshaw Terrace, Langside, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1886 *1888 
Item 3 of 9103, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1888After 1904 
Item 4 of 91, Annette Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1891 *  
Item 5 of 987, Union Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1909After 1914 
Item 6 of 914, Woodlands Road, Charing Cross, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1912 *  
Item 7 of 910, Elmbank Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1917 *  
Item 8 of 923, Elmbank Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1924 *  
Item 9 of 974, Cedar Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1930 * Home and place of death

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect, surveyor (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3___ Millerc. 1870c. 1874Apprentice 
Item 2 of 3Thomas Begg McFadzenc. 1874Before 1882Assistant 
Item 3 of 3Whyte & KennedyBefore 1907After 1909Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect, surveyor (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2Andrew Hamilton18861888Apprentice 
Item 2 of 2John Girtrig Young1908c. 1909Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect, surveyor for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Robert Douglas Sandilands24 June 1912for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 3Alexander Skirving24 June 1912for Licentiateship
Item 3 of 3John Bennie Wilson24 June 1912for Licentiateship

Buildings and Designs

This architect, surveyor 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 141884Balmoral CrescentCrosshill GlasgowScotland 
Item 2 of 14Before 1886Walkinshaw TerraceLangside GlasgowScotlandAttribution on grounds of name (Whyte's wife's name was Walkinshaw prior to their marriage)
Item 3 of 141889Tenements, Leckethill Street and Springburn Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 4 of 141889Three tenements, Wilton Drive and Wilton Gardens  GlasgowScotland 
Item 5 of 141889Three tenements, Wilton Drive and Wilton Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 6 of 141890Eight tenements, Kennedy Street and Cooper Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 7 of 141890Six tenements, Garthland Drive  GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 141891Tenements, Armadale Street and Garthland Drive  GlasgowScotland 
Item 9 of 141892Stables and Coach House, 151 Gallowgate  GlasgowScotland 
Item 10 of 141902Tenements, Inverclyde Gardens, Broomhill DrivePartick GlasgowScotland 
Item 11 of 141902Tenements, Marlborough AvenueWhiteinch GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 14Before 1912Double villasStirling StirlingshireScotland 
Item 13 of 14Before 1912St Andrew's Free Church  GlasgowScotlandRestoration
Item 14 of 141926Terraced housesGiffnock RenfrewshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect, surveyor:
Item 1 of 2British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 2McKenzie, Ray2002Public sculpture of Glasgow (Public sculpture of Great Britain series) Liverpool University Press 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect, surveyor:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Glasgow Herald18 July 1923  p8: 'Buildings Having Sculptured Representations of Glasgow Men at the Time of Building'

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect, surveyor:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers L v26 no2149