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Basic Site Details

Name: Templeton's Carpet Factory
City or county: Glasgow
Country: Scotland
Grid ref:
Notes: The iron work was devised by Alex Harvey, mill engineer, Govan while Leiper deemed himself responsible for the design of the facades only. Part of the building collapsed in high winds during construction, with considerable loss of life. Significantly, the collapse raised serious questions concerning the relative responsibilities of the architect and engineer.

The disaster attracted the attention of the English press with reports in the Manchester Guardian, The Times, and Observer. These noted that about 5.00pm on 1 November 1899 a new mill building in course of erection collapsed in gale force winds. The building, 188 feet by 46 feet, had reached a height of five storeys and much of the brickwork of one external wall fell through the roof of an adjoining weaving shed, killing thirty of the girls working inside and injuring others. Fortunately the construction workers had finishedwork for the day, otherwise the death toll would have been much higher.

A public inquiry was ordered and this opened on 20 December 1889. There was some discrepancy between the engineer and architect employed as to their respective responsibilities and it was further found that deviations had been made to the plans approved by the Dean of Guild Court in respect of the fixing of the joists. However, ther report concluded that the exterior wall would only be unstable during construction and that the completed building would probably have survived unscathed.

Cost of 1980s conversion: £3.7million.

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 1Factory  

Street Addresses

The following street addresses are associated with this building:
 AddressMain entrance?Notes
Item 1 of 5Abercromby StreetYes 
Item 2 of 5Fordneuk Street  
Item 3 of 5Glasgow GreenYes 
Item 4 of 5London RoadYes 
Item 5 of 562, Templeton StreetYes 


The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 151889  Original building (including mill behind façade)
Item 2 of 151 November 1889  The Glasgow Mill Disaster. Collapse of external wall
Item 3 of 151890(?) Build/constructionRebuilding following collapse
Item 4 of 151927  New wings, London Road and Templeton Street
Item 5 of 1519271928 Abercromby Street
Item 6 of 151929 Design exhibitedNew factory in Craignestock Place
Item 7 of 151931 Design exhibitedOffices and warehouse for James Templeton & Co
Item 8 of 151934  Templeton Street wing
Item 9 of 151934 Design exhibitedRailway Mill, Bridgeton, extension
Item 10 of 151936  New wing to Glasgow Green
Item 11 of 151953 Plans drawn upPlans in hand for extensions
Item 12 of 151963 Build/constructionFactory warehouse
Item 13 of 151978 Closed 
Item 14 of 1519801981Destruction/demolitionDemolition of redundant buildings in central courtyard
Item 15 of 1519821985Alteration/conversionRestoration of factory and conversion to offices


Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 15Messrs J B HarveyArchitectural practice, Engineers c. 1888 Structure of mill behind the Leiper façade
Item 2 of 15William LeiperArchitect 1889 Original building and facades.
Item 3 of 15George Arthur BoswellArchitectA19271937Various additions (see events) including 'new factory' in Craignestock Place
Item 4 of 15George Arthur BoswellArchitectB1931 Offices and warehouse for James Templeton & Co
Item 5 of 15Ninian Rutherford Jamieson JohnstonArchitect 1934 Was responsible for perspective showing 1934 addition (as assistant to Boswell)
Item 6 of 15George Arthur BoswellArchitectC1934 Railway Mill, Bridgeton, extension
Item 7 of 15James Templeton and Co Ltd ArchitectsIn-house architect(s)C1953 Plans in hand for extensions
Item 8 of 15David Ralph SamsonArchitectG1963 Factory warehouse
Item 9 of 15Geoffrey James MonroArchitectG1963 Factory warehouse
Item 10 of 15Ian Cruickshank (or Cruikshank) G1963 Factory warehouse
Item 11 of 15John ForbesArchitectG1963 Factory warehouse
Item 12 of 15Monro & PartnersArchitectural practiceG1963 Factory warehouse
Item 13 of 15The Charles Robertson PartnershipArchitectural practiceF19821985Restoration and conversion to offices
Item 14 of 15(Professor) Charles Calthorpe RobertsonArchitectF19831985Restoration and conversion to offices.
Item 15 of 15Steven Aldridge F19831985Restoration and conversion to offices


The following individuals or organisations have commissioned work on this building/design:
Item 1 of 2Scottish Development Agency (SDA)client for 1980s conversion
Item 2 of 2Templeton, Mr of James Templeton & Co 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
Item 1 of 8Allen, Nic (ed.) Scottish Architects in Conservation  p99
Item 2 of 8McKean, Charles1987The Scottish Thirties: An Architectural Introduction Edinburgh: Scottish Academic PressShows Ninian Johnstone perspective pp70, 105
Item 3 of 8RIBA1970RIBA Directory 1970   
Item 4 of 8Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts1929   196
Item 5 of 8Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts1931   378
Item 6 of 8Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts1934   284
Item 7 of 8RSA1889   1015
Item 8 of 8Williamson, Riches, Higgs1990Glasgow (The Buildings of Scotland)  pp459, 462

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 13Architect27 December 1889   
Item 2 of 13Architect and Building News1934Jul-Dec p144
Item 3 of 13Architect and Building News1936Jul-Dec p200
Item 4 of 13Architect and Building News1937Jan-Jun p370
Item 5 of 13Builder11 September 1953  p413
Item 6 of 13Builders Journal12 January 1898  p488
Item 7 of 13Building29 March 1968  p154
Item 8 of 13Manchester Guardian2 November 1889  p8 - report on disaster
Item 9 of 13Manchester Guardian21 December 1889  p7 and p8 - public inquiry
Item 10 of 13Manchester Guardian23 December 1889  p6 - public inquiry
Item 11 of 13The Times4 November 1889  p9 - report on disaster
Item 12 of 13The Times24 February 1890  p4 - inquiry report
Item 13 of 13The Times2 November 1899  p5 - report on the disaster

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this building:
 SourceArchive nameSource catalogue no.Notes
Item 1 of 6British CarpetsBritish Carpets drawing archive Copies in NMRS at GWD 137/1-11 (Leiper work)
Item 2 of 6Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register33857 
Item 3 of 6National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSDrawings Collection 20 drawings by Boswell, 1934. Acc No 1996/12
Item 4 of 6National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSRIAS Collection 1 set watercolours and 1 photograph
Item 5 of 6Professor Charles Robertson's CVInformation sent from Professor Charles Robertson to Yvonne Hillyard, October 2010  
Item 6 of 6Strathclyde Regional ArchivesGlasgow Dean of Guild Copies in NMRS (Boswell work)


© All rights reserved.   

© All rights reserved.