Basic Biographical Details

Name: Speirs & Co (or Speirs Ltd)
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: Late 1880s
Ended: Late 1930s
Bio Notes: Very little is known about the Speirs. Speirs & Co was a design and build Glasgow-based firm which provided partly prefabricated timber framed buildings, some clad in corrugated iron, notably for the Episcopal Church.

In 1883 John Speirs was a power loom manufacturer living at 53 Finlay Drive with his brother James who worked for the Bank of Scotland. They moved first to Granville Place in St George's Road and then to Cecil Street, Hillhead where by 1893 they had become iron church builders and fence makers. In 1895 they were listed as mill, estate furnishers and ironmongers and then two years later as engineers and railway contractors, indicating steady expansion of the business at that time. About this time the title of the firm was John Speirs & Co. In 1902 they also had an office in London and advertised that they provided iron and wood buildings for churches, schools, reading rooms, village halls, motor sheds, club houses, bungalows, cottages, hospitals and sanitoria and had facilities for erecting them in any part of the Kingdom. In 1910 they described themselves as 'Designers and Erectors of Iron and Wood Buildings'.

In about 1912 the name changed to Speirs Ltd. The offices moved to Blythswood Square. Jessie Speirs (mother of John and James ) died in 1881 leaving 1,088 13s 8d to James. James died on 29 January 1920 leaving his money to a married sister and to John, though it would appear that John had died earlier in the same month.

It should be noted that the firm had no connection with the landed gentleman architect Robert Thomas Napier Speir. The firm's name is often misspelt 'Spiers' in references.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 7125, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness   
Item 2 of 753, Finlay Drive, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1883(?)  
Item 3 of 74, Granville Place, St George's Road, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessc. 1890  
Item 4 of 733, Cecil Street, Hillhead, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1893  
Item 5 of 7Port Dundas, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1895 Works
Item 6 of 739, Victoria Street, London, EnglandBusiness1902 *  
Item 7 of 713, Blythswood Square, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1912 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 1Robert Scott SkillingJanuary 1914September 1914Assistant 


RIBA Proposals

This architectural practice proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 1Thomas Forbes Maclennan2 March 1903for Associateship

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 40 Johnstone Infectious Diseases HospitalJohnstone RenfrewshireScotlandProbably built the iron-and-wood smallpox hospital on the adjacent site (no date)
Item 2 of 40 Torranbeag CottageFord ArgyllScotland 
Item 3 of 40Before 1888Infectious Diseases HospitalDrumshoreland MidlothianScotlandProbably responsible for original buildings
Item 4 of 401893Inveraray Isolation HospitalInveraray ArgyllScotland 
Item 5 of 401893Salen Isolation hospitalSalenMullArgyllScotland 
Item 6 of 401897All Saints Episcopal ChurchBearsden GlasgowScotlandAppeared under the name 'Spiers & Co'
Item 7 of 401897Mid Argyll HospitalLochgilphead ArgyllScotland 
Item 8 of 401897St Andrew's Episcopal ChurchGartcosh GlasgowScotlandAppeared under the name 'Spiers & Co'
Item 9 of 401898Glenorchy Isolation HospitalDalmally ArgyllScotland 
Item 10 of 401898St Columba's Episcopal ChurchStanley PerthshireScotland 
Item 11 of 40Late 1800sDunstalkingKinbrace SutherlandScotlandAttribution by Beaton
Item 12 of 40Late 1800sSyre ChurchStrathnaver SutherlandScotland 
Item 13 of 40c. 1900Torrisdale ChurchTorrisdale & Skerray SutherlandScotland 
Item 14 of 401901St Drostan's Episcopal ChurchInsch AberdeenshireScotlandAppeared under the name 'Spiers & Co'
Item 15 of 401902All Saints Episcopal ChurchSt Andrews FifeScotlandOriginal iron church
Item 16 of 401902Drill HallReay CaithnessScotland 
Item 17 of 401902Perthshire County Infectious Diseases HospitalPerth PerthshireScotlandAttribution uncertain
Item 18 of 401903Bellefield HouseLanark LanarkshireScotlandProbable designers & builders of ward blocks - attribution uncertain
Item 19 of 401903Crofthead Smallpox HospitalAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 20 of 401905St Michael's Episcopal ChurchElie FifeScotlandAppeared under the name 'Spiers & Co'
Item 21 of 401905Tiree Infectious Diseases Hospital Tiree/TyreeArgyllScotland 
Item 22 of 401906St Leonard's Episcopal ChurchKinghorn FifeScotland 
Item 23 of 401906St Paul's Episcopal ChurchParkhead GlasgowScotlandAppeared under the name 'Spiers & Co'
Item 24 of 40May 1906Sutherland County Infectious Diseases HospitalCambusavie, The Mound SutherlandScotland 
Item 25 of 401907Mission HallNewton-on-Ayr AyrshireScotland 
Item 26 of 401907Reading RoomColinton EdinburghScotlandAddition
Item 27 of 401909Dunblane Hospital for ConsumptionDunblane PerthshireScotlandIron and wood, therefore possibly by Speirs & Co
Item 28 of 401910Lochfyneside UF ChurchMinard ArgyllScotland 
Item 29 of 401910Strath Halladale Church of Scotland and manseCraigtown SutherlandScotlandAttribution by Beaton
Item 30 of 401912West Fife Infectious Diseases HospitalDunfermline FifeScotlandPossible architects for wood and iron measles pavilion
Item 31 of 401914Military HallLamlashArranButeScotland 
Item 32 of 40Before 1914Gordon HospitalGordon BerwickshireScotlandTentative attribution
Item 33 of 40Before 1914Peebles County Infectious Diseases HospitalPeebles PeeblesshireScotlandProbable architects
Item 34 of 401915Side SchoolClashgour, Bridge of Orchy ArgyllScotland 
Item 35 of 40Before 1920St Fillan's Episcopal ChurchKillin PerthshireScotland 
Item 36 of 40Late 1920sSt Ninian's Episcopal ChurchPortpatrick WigtownshireScotland 
Item 37 of 401937Church of the Ascension (Episcopal)  GlasgowScotlandHall (firm appears as 'Spiers Ltd')
Item 38 of 401937Holy Cross Episcopal Church  GlasgowScotlandFirm here 'Spiers Ltd'
Item 39 of 401938CinemaDenny StirlingshireScotlandFirm appears as 'Spiers Ltd'
Item 40 of 4027 May 1966St Mary's RC Seondary School, CastlemilkCastlemilk GlasgowScotland 


Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Courtesy of Margaret LyeInformation to D M Walker Sent April 2010