Basic Biographical Details

Name: James Steel Maitland
Born: 27 August 1887
Died: 27 February 1982
Bio Notes: James Steel Maitland was born at Strone, Argyllshire, on 27 August 1887, of a well-connected family, his mother Kate Coats Steel being an adopted sister of the thread magnate George H Coats. His father James Maitland was a master grocer with a substantial business.

Maitland was educated at Kilblain Academy in Greenock and at Glasgow High School. He had hoped to become an artist but parental disapproval resulted in his being articled to William Leiper, then practising in partnership with William Hunter McNab, in 1903: apart from ____ Whimster of the shipping family, whose father removed him because of the rapidly declining prospects for architecture, he was Leiper's last apprentice. McNab was then gradually taking over the practice c.1905-06 as Leiper went into semi-retirement, but Maitland continued to enjoy Leiper's friendship and was frequently invited to stay at Terpersie. During his time at Leiper's, Maitland attended Glasgow School of Art, from 1904 under Eugène Bourdon. At the School, then in Rose Street, his particular friends were Andrew Noble Prentice and the sculptor Albert Hodge, but the latter moved to London c.1903.

At the end of his apprenticeship in 1909 Maitland went to London to see John James Burnet in the hope of employment on the British Museum but Burnet already had a full staff and could only agree to take him on as an unpaid assistant for two years. In the event Thomas Graham Abercrombie told Leiper of a vacancy in Brown & Vallance's office in Montreal, Brown being a cousin of the Browns of Brown & Polson in Paisley. Leiper wrote to Brown on Maitland's behalf and before the end of the year Maitland emigrated to join Brown & Vallance. Brown proved a generous employer: Maitland was allowed to largely design the Bleury or Southam and the Herald Buildings in Montreal and was sent to see other architects' offices in Washington and Philadelphia. On behalf of the firm he also reported on the work of the decorative artists Henry Eggess, Jules Guerin and Maxfield Parrish. In 1913, whilst still in the employment of Brown & Vallance, he travelled in France and in 1914 he married the embroider Ellison J F Young. .

After the outbreak of the First World War, Maitland went to Ithaca, New York to learn to fly and returned to Britain to join the British Royal Naval Air Service. He specialised in seaplanes and flying boats, mainly on reconnaissance and submarine patrol work over the English Channel. By the end of the war he was an instructor with the rank of Flight commander and was awarded the Air Force cross for his services.

Early in 1920, after what he described as 'a brief interlude outside architecture', Maitland joined the office of Thomas Graham Abercrombie in Paisley as principal assistant, becoming partner in 1923 and continuing as sole partner after Abercrombie's death on 16 February 1926. Another James Maitland (born 1906), presumably a relative, joined the practice as an apprentice in September 1921, remaining as assistant until April 1927 when he moved to the firm of Cullen, Lochhead & Brown for a brief period before settling in the office of James Taylor. The younger Maitland had no further connections with the Abercrombie & Maitland practice thereafter, and remained with Taylor until the Second World War, following which he commenced practice on his own account in London.

James Steel Maitland was admitted LRIBA in late 1931 and FRIBA in early 1932, his proposers on both occasions being McNab, George Arthur Boswell and John Keppie. He became the burgh architect of Renfrew in the early 1930s.

Maitland was a painter, wood-carver, theatrical scene painter and costume designer as well as architect and among his many interests he was President of the Paisley Burns, Rotary and Bohemian Clubs, and in his later years became committed to the conservation of Paisley, leading the unsuccessful campaign to save New Street.

Maitland gradually wound down the practice in the early 1960s and closed it in 1963. It was then still based in Abercrombie's office at County Place. He died at the house he had designed for himself, Littlecroft, 21 Stonefield Avenue Paisley on 27 February 1982. His wife having predeceased him in 1949, he was cared for in his last years by his daughter Helen.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 8Rochbank, Strone, Argyll, ScotlandPrivate1903 *  
Item 2 of 814, Hill Street, Garnethill, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1904 *  
Item 3 of 843, Dudley Drive, Partick, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1905 *  
Item 4 of 836, Cromartie Avenue, Newlands, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1906 *  
Item 5 of 81, County Place, Paisley, Renfrewshire, ScotlandBusiness19201963 
Item 6 of 8Littlecroft/21, Stonefield Avenue, Paisley, Renfrewshire, ScotlandPrivate1931 *  
Item 7 of 826, King Street, Paisley, Renfrewshire, ScotlandPrivate1934 *  
Item 8 of 899, Arklestone Road, Paisley, Renfrewshire, ScotlandPrivate1939 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 4Leiper & McNab19031909Apprentice 
Item 2 of 4Brown & Vallance19091915Assistant 
Item 3 of 4Thomas Graham AbercrombieEarly 19201923Principal Assistant 
Item 4 of 4Abercrombie & Maitland19231963Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1Alexander G Macgregor19531954Apprentice 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6George Arthur BoswellLate 1931for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 6George Arthur BoswellEarly 1932for Fellowship
Item 3 of 6John KeppieLate 1931for Licentiateship
Item 4 of 6John KeppieEarly 1932for Fellowship
Item 5 of 6William Hunter McNabLate 1931for Licentiateship
Item 6 of 6William Hunter McNabEarly 1932for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 7James Baird20 July 1943For Associateship
Item 2 of 7Thomas Barr7 May 1946For Associateship
Item 3 of 7James Bell10 February 1948for Fellowship
Item 4 of 7Frank Russell Burnet10 February 1948for Fellowship
Item 5 of 7George Gibson11 December 1945for Licentiateship
Item 6 of 7Archibald Douglas Holmes12 November 1951For Licentiateship
Item 7 of 7Donald Murray12 March 1946for Licentiateship

Buildings and Designs

This 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 651908Herald Building  MontrealCanada 
Item 2 of 65c. 1910Bleury Building  MontrealCanada 
Item 3 of 651921Shop premisesPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 4 of 65c. 1922Royal Alexandra InfirmaryPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandAdditions and nurses home
Item 5 of 651923Anchor Recreation Club, BlackhallPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandtaken over from Abercrombie and Hamilton and redesigned
Item 6 of 65After 1923Sports pavilion for Messrs Clark & CoPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 7 of 651924House at PotterhillPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 8 of 651924LittlecroftPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 9 of 651924Offices, St James StreetPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 10 of 651924Shops and warehouse for ArnottsPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 11 of 651925Russell InstitutePaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 12 of 651926St John's Church HallPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 13 of 651927Robert Cochrane's WarehousePaisley RenfrewshireScotlandFaçade and extensive alterations
Item 14 of 651928Duncan Macpherson HospitalGourock RenfrewshireScotlandExtension
Item 15 of 651928Glasgow Maternity Hospital  GlasgowScotlandOriginal (Baldie) building converted into nurses' home
Item 16 of 651929Greenock Royal Infirmary Convalescent HomeGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 17 of 651929LittlecroftPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandAdditions
Item 18 of 651930Four Square Tobacco FactoryPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandExtension and reconstruction
Item 19 of 651930HousingRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 20 of 651931Ferguson Street HousingRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 21 of 651931Lochwinnoch SanatoriumLochwinnoch RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 22 of 651931Newark HousePaisley RenfrewshireScotlandExtension
Item 23 of 651932Fulbar Lane Housing SchemeRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 24 of 651932Porterfield Road Housing Schemes 1, 2, 3 and 4Renfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 25 of 651932Royal Alexandra InfirmaryPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandCasualty Department
Item 26 of 651933Office and shopsPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 27 of 651933Warehouse for Bryce & CoPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 28 of 651934Branch LibraryJohnstone RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 29 of 651934Ferguslie ParkPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandReconstruction as auxiliary hospital
Item 30 of 651934Tenements and offices and shops belowPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 31 of 651936House, PotterhillPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 32 of 651936LittlecroftPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandAdditions
Item 33 of 651936West SchoolPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 34 of 651937Dyeworks for A Bell & Sons, HawkheadPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 35 of 651937Kelvin HousePaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 36 of 651937Offices for J Kirkpatrick & SonPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 37 of 651937Porterfield Road Housing Scheme 5Renfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 38 of 651937Woodside CrematoriumPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 39 of 651938Paisley Grammar School and William Barbour AcademyPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandJanitor's Lodge
Item 40 of 651939Glenview, Potterview AvenuePaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 41 of 651939Pavilion and Caretaker's houseRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 42 of 651939Porterfield Road Housing Schemes 6 and 7Renfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 43 of 651940Cocklesloan Housing SchemeRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 44 of 651940CraigislaPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 45 of 651940SilverstreamPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 46 of 651940St Christopher Hall ChurchNether Pollok GlasgowScotlandOriginal hall church; now attached to 1960s church
Item 47 of 651944Public Housing, West Avenue areaRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 48 of 651947Four Square Tobacco FactoryPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandFurther work? Or completition delayed because of the war?
Item 49 of 651949Penilee St Andrew's Church Halls  GlasgowScotlandHalls including original church
Item 50 of 651949St Andrews Church hallPenilee GlasgowScotland 
Item 51 of 651949St Christopher Hall ChurchNether Pollok GlasgowScotlandExtensions
Item 52 of 65c. 1949Craigton CrematoriumCraigton GlasgowScotland 
Item 53 of 65c. 1949Kirklandneuk SchoolRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 54 of 65c. 1950Kirklandneuk Housing SchemeRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 55 of 651951Priesthill Parish Hall-ChurchPollok GlasgowScotland 
Item 56 of 651952Robertson Park, Old Men's CabinGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 57 of 651953Paisley AbbeyPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandRestoration
Item 58 of 651953Place of PaisleyPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandSome restoration work
Item 59 of 651953Small residencePaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 60 of 651953Weaver's CottageKilbarchan RenfrewshireScotlandRestoration
Item 61 of 651954Villa, 12 Thornly Park DrivePaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 62 of 651956St Peters Primary SchoolPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 63 of 651960Place of PaisleyPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandRestoration as residence for Minister
Item 64 of 651960Royal Alexandra Infirmary Casualty and Outpatients DepartmentPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 65 of 65c. 1960Memorial to William Motherwell, Paisley Sheriff CourtPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandMaitland also did the carving


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 5Hamilton, Laura1983A Paisley Architect: James Steel Maitland (1887-1982)no 10, 1983Scottish Georgian Society Bulletin (Based on interview with Maitland, 13 and 31 July 1981) 
Item 2 of 5Maitland, James Steel1952Scottish Housing Past and Present RIBA Journal, July 1952 
Item 3 of 5RCAHMS1999Homebuilders: Mactaggart & Mickel and the Scottish housebuilding industry RCAHMSp 120
Item 4 of 5RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 5 of 5Walker, Frank Arneil1986South Clyde Estuary: An Illustrated Architectural Guide to Inverclyde and Renfrew  p8, p17, p20, p30, p34, p36, p98, p99

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Personal information from interview with Dr Ian Campbell, 1981 and undated cutting based on interview while still in practice; address research by Iain Paterson
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers L no3990 (box 19); F no3023 (box 15)