© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Susan Bryer, great grand daughter of James Watherston. 

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

Basic Biographical Details

Name: James Watherston
Designation: Architect, Builder
Born: 11 April 1831
Died: 30 September 1907
Bio Notes: James Watherston was born on 11 April 1831, the son of John Watherston, builder and his wife Elizabeth Millar. John Watherston & Sons were builders with an important architectural office from at least 1856. John Watherston, the founder of the firm was born on 2 March 1798. At least two sons were partners in the business, William married to Cilla Johnston, and James who married Janet Henderson born 31 January 1843.

The Watherstons built large parts of Edinburgh's West End speculatively sometimes to designs specified by the Walker and Heriot Trust estates, sometimes to their own. These were undertaken by the sons, John Watherston himself having died on 11 October 1869. The firm was also much sought after for country house work, again sometimes as architect builders. William Watherston died on 22 November 1895, predeceased by his wife who had died on 29 January 1887. James died on 30 September 1907 and survived by his first wife Janet Henderson who died 10 May 1923. In the late 19th and 20th century the architect partner in the firm was their son Robert Henderson Watherston, born in 1869 and a very accomplished designer, who also died in 1923.

Information from gravestones, Dean Cemetery.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect, builder:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 129, Queensferry Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness   

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect, builder (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1John Watherston & SonsBefore 1856(?)1907Partner 

Buildings and Designs

This architect, builder 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 73 Lauriston House  EdinburghScotlandAlterations - perhaps involved (date unknown
Item 2 of 73c. 185013 Castle Terrace  EdinburghScotlandExecuted Burn's design
Item 3 of 7318564, 5, 6 Melville Crescent  EdinburghScotlandElevations to design by John Lessels. Interiors by Watherston
Item 4 of 731869Grosvenor Crescent  EdinburghScotlandBuilders for nos 7-10 and designed and built interiors of 15-20
Item 5 of 7318717 Charlotte Square  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 6 of 7318721-37 Drumsheugh Gardens  EdinburghScotlandAs builders, to designs of Peddie & Kinnear/Kinnear & Peddie firm
Item 7 of 731872Kilgraston HouseBridge of Earn PerthshireScotlandReconstruction after fire, to designs by David Smart
Item 8 of 731873119 George Street  EdinburghScotlandAdditions and alterations
Item 9 of 73187416 Castle Street  EdinburghScotlandAlterations and addition at rear (as builders for James Campbell Walker)
Item 10 of 73187421 Lynedoch Place  EdinburghScotlandAddition
Item 11 of 731874Town House, 10 Heriot Row  EdinburghScotlandAddition of dormers
Item 12 of 731875John Watson's School, gardener's house  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction
Item 13 of 73187615 and 16 Carlton Terrace  EdinburghScotlandAddition
Item 14 of 731876Angle Park Iron ChurchNorth Merchiston EdinburghScotlandExecutant architects? Designed details?
Item 15 of 731876Corner tenement with shops, 1-2 Lynedoch Place and 2-4 Drumsheugh Place  EdinburghScotlandDate of initial drawings - possibly contract drawings
Item 16 of 731876Industrial Schools  EdinburghScotland 
Item 17 of 731876Warrender Park feuing  EdinburghScotlandFeuing plans
Item 18 of 731877Dalry House  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction, including school rooms to south east
Item 19 of 7318782-6 Rothesay Place  EdinburghScotlandExecuted design
Item 20 of 7318786 George Street  EdinburghScotlandAddition
Item 21 of 731878City of Glasgow Bank, 7-8 Hunter Square  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 22 of 731878Free Church Normal School  EdinburghScotlandProposed additions
Item 23 of 73c. 1878Cambo House  FifeScotlandProposed reconstruction of 18th century castellated house after fire - not carried out
Item 24 of 73188018 Rothesay Place  EdinburghScotland 
Item 25 of 731880Corner tenement with shops, 1-2 Lynedoch Place and 2-4 Drumsheugh Place  EdinburghScotlandPossibly building to a Peddie & Kinnear design
Item 26 of 731880Drumsheugh Place  EdinburghScotlandBuilders
Item 27 of 73188127-39 Palmerston Place with 17 Rothesay Place  EdinburghScotlandWith Alexander White
Item 28 of 73188129-33 Hanover Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 29 of 731881Dolphinton House and lodge  PeeblesshireScotlandProposed additions
Item 30 of 731882Binrock and Lodge  DundeeScotlandAdditions and alterations
Item 31 of 731882Bonaly TowerColinton EdinburghScotlandAdditions and alterations and additions to stables
Item 32 of 731882Drummohr HousePrestonpans East LothianScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 33 of 731883Cowdenknowes  BerwickshireScotlandAlterations and additions to house
Item 34 of 731884Cowdenknowes, stables  BerwickshireScotland 
Item 35 of 73After 1884Holy Family RC ChurchMossend LanarkshireScotlandProposed additions
Item 36 of 7318854, 5, 6 Rothesay Terrace  EdinburghScotland 
Item 37 of 7318857, 8 Rothesay Terrace  EdinburghScotland 
Item 38 of 731885Rothesay Terrace  EdinburghScotlandAlterations?
Item 39 of 731885Sunlaws HouseRoxburgh RoxburghshireScotlandAdditions and alterations after fire and probably remodelling of stable
Item 40 of 731886Ancrum HouseAncrum RoxburghshireScotlandPanelling in entrance, inner hall and dining room - after second fire
Item 41 of 731886Dolphinton House and lodge  PeeblesshireScotlandProposed alterations
Item 42 of 731886Pentland VillaWester Coates EdinburghScotland 
Item 43 of 731888Douglas Gardens  EdinburghScotland 
Item 44 of 731888Gallanach HouseOban ArgyllScotlandProposed alterations and additions - not carried out
Item 45 of 731888Moray Free Church, South Back of the Canongate  EdinburghScotlandAlterations?
Item 46 of 73188917 Rothesay Place  EdinburghScotlandDrawings for further work?
Item 47 of 73188918 Rothesay Place  EdinburghScotland 
Item 48 of 731889Sunlaws House Stable RangeRoxburgh RoxburghshireScotlandRemodelling
Item 49 of 731890Cramond Manse  EdinburghScotlandAdditions
Item 50 of 73189241 Manor Place  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 51 of 731892Cunnoquhie House  FifeScotlandAlterations to house and stable offices
Item 52 of 731892Hawthornden CastleLasswade MidlothianScotlandAlterations?
Item 53 of 731893Borthwick CastleBorthwick MidlothianScotlandAlterations and additions and restoration
Item 54 of 7318967 Charlotte Square  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 55 of 731896The HirselColdstream BerwickshireScotlandDrawings dated - proposed chapel and recreation room
Item 56 of 7318972-6 Rothesay Place  EdinburghScotlandAlterations to number 4
Item 57 of 7318989-16 Rothesay Terrace  EdinburghScotlandAnd after 1902 (see dated drawings in Walker Trust)
Item 58 of 731898Bridge CastleTorphichen West LothianScotlandAdditions
Item 59 of 731898Scottish Rural Workers Approved Society premises  EdinburghScotlandAlterations to no 39
Item 60 of 731898Tranent Old Parish ChurchTranent East LothianScotlandPlan of gallery seating
Item 61 of 73189938-44 Drumsheugh Gardens  EdinburghScotlandNos 37a and 1 Rothesay Place
Item 62 of 731899Dunsinnan House  PerthshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 63 of 731899House, Blackford Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 64 of 73Late 1800s(?)Douglas Castle  LanarkshireScotlandPulpit in chapel (undated drawing)
Item 65 of 73Late 1800sGogarbank House  MidlothianScotlandAlterations
Item 66 of 731900Dunsinnan House  PerthshireScotlandStables
Item 67 of 731900Stable, Rosebery Crescent Lane  EdinburghScotlandAlterations to stable
Item 68 of 731900The HirselColdstream BerwickshireScotlandStables - B of S attribution; possibly worked as contractors for Hay & Henderson?
Item 69 of 73190111 Gloucester Place  EdinburghScotlandProposed alterations - superseded by Peddie & Washington Browne scheme
Item 70 of 731901Mortonhall House and stables  EdinburghScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 71 of 73190341 Charlotte Square  EdinburghScotlandAlterations including 'new elevation' and porch
Item 72 of 73190517 Rothesay Place  EdinburghScotlandAlterations to form flat at corner
Item 73 of 731907Mr Ford's stable  EdinburghScotlandAlterations (but may not be involved as he died in this year)


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect, builder:
Item 1 of 1NMRS NMRS Jubilee: A Guide to the Collections   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect, builder:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Scotsman28 July 1923  Inventory of Mrs Janet Henderson Watherston, widow of James Watherston, builder

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect, builder:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Personal information given to DMW by the Watherston firm's principal partner c.1968 (name uncertain).


© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Susan Bryer, great grand daughter of James Watherston. 

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Susan Bryer, great grand daughter of James Watherston.