Basic Biographical Details

Name: James Beattie Michie
Designation: Architect
Born: 1891
Died: 7 January 1965
Bio Notes: James Beattie Michie was born in Inverness in 1891. About 1907 he was articled to James Pearson Alison and George Hobkirk in Hawick and remained with them as an assistant until he enlisted for war service in 1914, serving first with the King's Own Scottish Borderers, then the 9th Royal Scots in France and finally with the 54th Sikhs in India.

In 1920 Michie was appointed an architect with the Imperial War Graves Commission with a salary of £500pa and in the same year married Anne Redpath on her return from a year- long travelling scholarship from Edinburgh College of Art. She was four years younger, born in Galashiels and educated at Hawick High School. They settled at St Martin au Pas de Calais, Michie designing many smaller war graves in northern France and working with the principal architects to the Commission, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Sir Reginald Blomfield and Charles Holden. His work for the Commission came to an end in 1927, but he and his family remained in France as he became salaried architect to an American, Charles Thompson, designing various projects on the estate of Château Gloria in St Jean Cap Ferrat, notably a loggia, a swimming pool in the garden, and works within the chateau itself. He was then living at St Raphael, Var. While based there he carried out a large scheme of murals in the Chappelle St Roseline in the Carthusian Monastery at Meounnes-les-Montrieux, north of Toulon begun in 1931. On this work he was assisted by his wife Anne who had done relatively little work of her own during the period when their family was being brought up.

Thomson’s work diminished as a result of the 1929 crash, and in 1934 he had to sell Château Gloria. Michie and his family then returned to the United Kingdom. He joined Charles Holden's practice Adams & Holden in London, working on Westminster Hospital (1934-39) under Lionel Pearson and possibly also on the new block at the Royal London Hospital (1936), but Anne returned to Hawick to resume her career as a painter in her own right.

Michie enlisted in the Gloucester Regiment when the Second World War broke out, at the age of 48. He obtained a posting in Galashiels where he was requisitioning officer for the Borders, organising accommodation for the thousands of troops training there at that time.

After the Second World War the Michies' lives again diverged. Michie was a superb architectural draughtsmanand his experience in France and with Adams, Holden & Pearson - as the firm had become - secured for him a lecturer's post in the School of Architecture at the Royal West of England Academy in Bath.

Michie died in Bristol in 1960. Although he did not exhibit in Scotland, throughout his life he was as much a painter as an architect, working in oil or tempera mainly on landscapes; when in France he described himself as an architect-peintre. Anne survived him despite serious illnesses in 1955 and 1959. She moved to Paris for a year before settling permanently in Edinburgh early in 1949, and was elected ARSA in 1947, RSA in 1951 and ARA in 1960. By the last of these dates she had lost the use of her right hand and she did not live to become a full London academician, dying on 7 January 1965. Their sons, Alastair Michie (born 1921) and David Alan Redpath Michie RSA, RGI (born 1928) both became painters.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 511, Rue de Rivage, St Martin au Pas de Calais, FrancePrivate/business1923 *  
Item 2 of 5St Raphael, Var, FrancePrivate/business1928 *  
Item 3 of 5London, EnglandPrivate/business19341939 
Item 4 of 5Galashiels, Selkirkshire, EnglandPrivate/businessc. 1940c. 1945 
Item 5 of 5Bristol, EnglandPrivate/business19451960 

* earliest date known from documented sources.


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2McEwan, P J M1994Dictionary of Scottish Art and Architecture   
Item 2 of 2Michie Family2012The Michie Family The Scottish Gallery, 4-30 June 2012 

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 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 from David Michie