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Basic Biographical Details

Name: John ('Jack') Charles Holmes
Designation: Architect
Born: 9 July 1918
Died: 4 April 1999
Bio Notes: John Charles Holmes, known as 'Jack', was born on 9 July 1918, the son of Charles Hambleton Barrow, captain in the King's Own Scottish Borderers and his wife Marjorie Stuart. He was educated at Ardrossan Academy and Queen’s Park School in Glasgow. He studied architecture at Glasgow School of Art under Professor Thomas Harold Hughes. He was apprenticed to Noad & Wallace. His training was interrupted by war service during which he served in the army and was awarded the Military Cross. He was admitted ARIBA in 1948.

He started his career working for the thread manufacturers J & P Coats. He established a practice on his own account in 1951 with an office at 93 Hope Street in Glasgow. In these early days his main source of income was from commissions for private houses in Skelmorlie, Milngavie, Kilmacolm and Strathblane. He subsequently entered a number of competitions and was runner-up in that for Paisley Civic Centre. He was also particularly pleased with showrooms he had designed in Alexandria and Clydebank. He was elected ARIAS in 1953. In 1955 Holmes' wife M Kirsteen Borland was taken into partnership and the practice name became Jack Holmes & Partners.

The practice moved to Kelvingrove Street in 1963. In 1964 Alfred A Wood was taken into partnership but he left after a year. Around this time the practice began a series of schools in Cumbernauld and Glasgow. However his best known work is the 22-storey block at Anniesland Cross which links to a lower block facing Crow Road. They remain among the finest tower blocks erected in Glasgow at a time when the city commissioned a whole series of mega-structures. The Clydeway Industrial Centre followed in the late 1960s which were described as an honest and impressive ensemble. Sadly these buildings have since been re-clad in aluminium and glass. In 1965 he challenged Glasgow Corporation over their proposal for a cultural centre, being the only architect of standing in the city to do so.

In 1973 Charles Strong, Harold Phillips and Robin Haddow joined as partners and in 1980 Robin Th'ng and Neil Maxwell joined. In 1981 the name became Holmes & Partners Architects and in 1985 Holmes Partnership.

The final major work which came from the office after Holmes’ retirement in the early 1980s was the office block at 100 Bothwell Street which is a bold composition of granite and glass with a tower at the entrance.

Concurrently with his architectural practice Holmes ran the Jack Holmes Planning Group with his wife which had been established in 1965. They both acknowledged a debt to Sir Patrick Abercrombie and Sir Robert Grieve with whom Kirsteen Borland had worked on the Clyde Valley Regional Plan. Amongst other projects, they were involved with planning work in the Highlands where Sir Robert Grieve had become Chairman of the Highlands and Islands Development Board.

Homes took an active part in professional matters and served as President of the Glasgow Institute of Architects in 1973. He was a long-standing member of the Council of the RIAS and vice president and sat on the Council of the RIBA.

Holmes suffered a stroke in 1983 and after further ill-health was forced to retire. However he continued to take an active part in various architectural and cultural organisations and campaigned to preserve a number of important buildings. He also pursued interests in music, sketching, travelling and the history of his 17th century house. He had a reputation as a man of strong principles and would resign from a job if he felt things were not right and this earned him the nickname ‘wild Jack’. He died on 4 April 1999, survived by his wife and their daughter Jocelyn, also an architect, and their son, Peter.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 4143, Wilson Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate/business(?)Before 1948After 1950 
Item 2 of 493, Hope Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1951  
Item 3 of 4Drumhead, Cardross, Dunbartonshire, ScotlandPrivate19531999 
Item 4 of 462, Kelvingrove Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness(?)Before 1960After 1970 

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 4Noad & Wallace1940s Apprentice 
Item 2 of 4Jack Holmes & Partners19601981Partner 
Item 3 of 4Holmes & Partners Architects1981 Partner 
Item 4 of 4The Holmes Partnership1985 Partner 


RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 2William Geoffrey Jarvis4 February 1970For Fellwoship
Item 2 of 2John Armstrong Lane5 June 1968For Fellowship

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 43 House at SkelmorlieSkelmorlie AyrshireScotland 
Item 2 of 431954Car showroomPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 3 of 431954House at WaterfootWaterfoot RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 4 of 431956Deil's Craig DamBlanefield StirlingshireScotland 
Item 5 of 431957Deil's Craig DamStrathblane StirlingshireScotland 
Item 6 of 431958Electricity showroomAlexandria DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 7 of 431958Electricity showroomClydebank DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 8 of 431958House at KilmacolmKilmacolm RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 9 of 431958LylfordStrathblane StirlingshireScotland 
Item 10 of 431959Motherwell and Wishaw Civic CentreMotherwell LanarkshireScotlandFinalist in the competition
Item 11 of 431960sAbronhill SchoolCumnbernauld LanarkshireScotland 
Item 12 of 431960sCondorrat SchoolCumbernauld LanarkshireScotland 
Item 13 of 431960sSchool at MaryhillMaryhill GlasgowScotland 
Item 14 of 431960sWallacetown and Newton Redevelopment, AyrWallacetown, Ayr AyrshireScotlandConsultants for projected 10 year redevelopment
Item 15 of 431960House in Mugdock RoadMilngavie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 16 of 431962Primary SchoolEasterhouse GlasgowScotland 
Item 17 of 431963St Gregory's Primary School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 18 of 431963Wyndford Primary School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 19 of 431964Ayr central area development planAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 20 of 431964Milngavie Central Area Development PlanMilngavie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 21 of 431965Anderston Cross CDA Industrial ZoneAnderston GlasgowScotland 
Item 22 of 431965Leven central area studyLeven FifeScotland 
Item 23 of 431966Anniesland Court, Anniesland CrossAnniesland GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 431966Carbrain Primary SchoolCumbernauld LanarkshireScotland 
Item 25 of 431966Clydeway Industrial Centre  GlasgowScotland 
Item 26 of 431966Portobello central redevelopment planPortobello EdinburghScotland 
Item 27 of 431966Town extensionEast Kilbride LanarkshireScotlandAdvice on proposed extension for 25,000 people. Development and transportation recommendations. Continuing subsequent advice.
Item 28 of 431967Alness Development PlanAlness Ross and CromartyScotland 
Item 29 of 431967Moray Firth Regional Development Plan  MorayshireScotland 
Item 30 of 431968HousingMilngavie GlasgowScotland 
Item 31 of 431970Inverness Transportation StudyInverness Inverness-shireScotlandInitial planning input for Transportation Study of Royal Burgh of Inverness
Item 32 of 431970Moray Firth: road planning report  MorayshireScotland 
Item 33 of 431971Inverness Central Area Development PlanInverness Inverness-shireScotland 
Item 34 of 431971Woodlands Housing EstateMilngavie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 35 of 431973County of Sutherland Development Plan  SutherlandScotlandSurvey Report and Draft Policy Statement
Item 36 of 431973Milngavie Central Redevelopment SchemeMilngavie DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 37 of 431973Sutherland County Plan  SutherlandScotland 
Item 38 of 431974Alness Town PlanAlness Ross & CromartyScotland 
Item 39 of 431974Evanton Town PlanEvanton Ross & CromartyScotland 
Item 40 of 431974Planning Framework for Industrial Growth for Cromarty Firth Development CompanyCromarty Firth Ross & CromartyScotland 
Item 41 of 431974Plans for oil related strategies in the Clyde Estuary  RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 42 of 431975Alness Development PlanAlness Ross and CromartyScotlandPlanning Study and Design Guide for an expanding town.
Item 43 of 431975Celtic Sea Oil and Gas Subject Study   WalesStudy begun


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 6Bailey, Rebecca M1996Scottish architects' papers: a source book Edinburgh: The Rutland Pressp143
Item 2 of 6Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp173 Anderston Cross CDA, Industrial Zone
Item 3 of 6RIBA1948The RIBA Kalendar 1948-1949 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 4 of 6RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 5 of 6RIBA1961Kalendar 1960-61   
Item 6 of 6RIBA1970RIBA Directory 1970   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2RIAS Newsletter1999v10, no6 Death note
Item 2 of 2RIAS NewsletterJune 1999v10, no5 Obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIAS, Rutland SquareRecords of membership  


© All rights reserved. © Courtesy of Glasgow Institute of Architects 

© All rights reserved. © Courtesy of Glasgow Institute of Architects