Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Leck Bruce
Designation: Architect
Born: 16 October 1850
Died: 29 November 1921
Bio Notes: John Leck Bruce was born in Glasgow on 16 October 1850 the son of Robert Bruce, clerk, and his wife Jane, née Leck. Nothing is yet known of his professional training except that he trained as an architect. He commenced practice at 137 West Regent Street in 1871 or 1872 at the early age of twenty-one. In late 1874 or early 1875 he took David Sturrock into partnership, and worked as a consulting engineer to Glasgow Corporation. On 1 August 1877 he married Charlotte Florence Cochrane at the Hamilton Presbyterian Church in Birkenhead. There were three sons of their marriage: Robert, born in Greenock, (or Gourock? records not clear) and Charles and John, born in Glasgow.

In c.1876 the practice of Bruce & Sturrock moved to number 103 West Regent Street, and in 1877 or 1878 to number 184. The firm was sequestrated in 1878. Bruce was probably a Roman Catholic as from 1878 the practice began receiving smaller commissions from Archbishop Eyre, the larger ones being given almost exclusively to Peter Paul Pugin. Bruce was a juror on gas-cooking and gas-heating appliances at the Glasgow Gas and Electric Exhibition in 1880, and a member of the city's institute of architects and the philosophical society. There is no recorded work by Bruce & Sturrock after 1883: like so many others it must have suffered lack of business in the severe recession after the final call on the City of Glasgow Bank shareholders in 1881. Shortly thereafter Bruce emigrated to Sydney, New South Wales. He arrived in May 1887 and set up practice as a consulting engineer and architect. On 15 April 1889 he became a foreman of works in the government architect's branch of the Department of Public Works at a salary of £250. He was based at 1 Hereford Street, Globe Point, Sydney in 1895.

In May 1891 he was appointed first lecturer in sanitary engineering at Sydney Technical College, and devoted the rest of his professional life to developing the department. In 1901, with Dr T. M. Kendall, medical adviser to the Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage, he published ‘The Australian Sanitary Inspector's Textbook … ‘. He was employed about this time as Australian examiner for the London Sanitary Institute, Sydney editor of the Building and Engineering Journal of Australia and New Zealand, assistant editor of the Australian Technical Journal (in which he had published an article on gas-lighting in March 1897), and president of the sanitary department's examining board. His textbook was reissued as the Australian Sanitary Inspector's Hand book (1920).

By 1912 Bruce was a member of the Royal Sanitary Institute; in 1914 he was on the editorial advisory committee of the Technical Gazette of New South Wales and in 1912-17 contributed articles about ventilation, moisture and temperature control of air, and the lighting of dwellings and factories. He devised simple instruments for use by factory inspectors in determining whether air and lighting conformed to the requirements of the Factories Act. He also wrote an introductory chapter to Practical Australian Sanitation (vol.1), by Dr C. Savill Willis. On his retirement in 1920 he was made a fellow of the Technical College.

On 29 November 1921 Bruce died of cerebral thrombosis at Blakehurst, Sydney, and was buried in the Presbyterian section of South Head cemetery. He was survived by his wife, two sons and two married daughters.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 619, Stanley Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness   
Item 2 of 6137, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1872After 1875 
Item 3 of 6103, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1877  
Item 4 of 6184, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1878 *  
Item 5 of 6103, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18791881(?)Conflict in addresses as PO Directories show practice at 103 West Regent Street 1877-81 but GIA show they were at 184 West Regent Street in 1878
Item 6 of 6Sydney, AustraliaPrivate/business1887  

* 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 2Bruce & SturrockLate 1874 or early 18751883(?)Partner 
Item 2 of 2Department of Public Works, New South Wales1889 Clerk of Works 

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 151873Proposed West Coast Residence  RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 2 of 151873Stewart Memorial fountain for Wellington ParkKelvingrove GlasgowScotlandCompetition design
Item 3 of 151874Bath Street UP Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 4 of 151874Design for school and teacher's house     
Item 5 of 151874Proposed hotel, West Regent Street and West Campbell Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 6 of 151875Arlington Baths Club  GlasgowScotlandInvolved in construction of 1875 Turkish Suite extension, along with Charles Drake
Item 7 of 151875Wellington Place Baptist Church  GlasgowScotlandCompetition design - not successful
Item 8 of 151877St John's Free ChurchGourock RenfrewshireScotlandAddition of crown spire
Item 9 of 151878RC Church, School and Presbytery  GlasgowScotland 
Item 10 of 151879RC Schoolhouse, 44 Grant Street and Argyle StreetHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 11 of 151880Crosshouse Established Church and ManseCrosshouse, Kilmarnock AyrshireScotland 
Item 12 of 151881St Aloysius RC Church and PresbyterySpringburn GlasgowScotlandChurch rebuilt
Item 13 of 151882Uddingston RC Chapel School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 14 of 151883Laigh Kirk Mission HallKilmarnock AyrshireScotland 
Item 15 of 151883Port Glasgow RC SchoolPort Glasgow RenfrewshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 3Australian Dictionary of Biography Australian Dictionary of Biography   
Item 2 of 3Post Office Directories     
Item 3 of 3Technical Education in New South Wales1909Quarter Century of Technical Education in New South Wales   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Australian Technical JournalMarch 1897   
Item 2 of 4Edinburgh Gazette20 August 1878no.8923 p.638
Item 3 of 4Sanitary Inspectors' Association (New South Wales1912  Official report no I
Item 4 of 4Technical Gazette of New South Wales   4 (1914), 6 (1916), 7 (1917), 12 (1922).