Basic Biographical Details

Name: James Boucher
Born: 24 August 1826
Died: 7 September 1906
Bio Notes: James Boucher was born on 24 August 1826, the son of John Boucher, solicitor, London. He was very probably born in Cumbernauld where his grandfather, the Rev James Boucher, was minister. He was articled to Charles Wilson c.1842 and was an assistant there when he became acquainted with James Cousland (born 1853), who joined Wilson's office as an articled apprentice c.1848.

On 20 April 1853 Boucher commenced a grand tour, travelling through Belgium and sailing up the Rhine through Germany. He then made his way to Switzerland, Italy and France which he reached by sailing from Naples to Marseilles. He returned on 16 December, sailing from Boulogne to Folkestone.

On his return Boucher commenced independent practice in partnership with Cousland. As early as 1855 or 1856 they built for themselves a pair of semidetached houses, Swiss Cottage at 35-37 St Andrew's Drive, Pollokshields, and in the same years Boucher and two friends undertook a walking tour through the High Alps to the Tyrol, an account of which was published in the Glasgow Herald. In September 1857 Boucher repeated the route of his 1853 tour in less than three weeks between the 4th and the 23rd. What he saw on those tours strongly influenced the practice's architecture for the next twenty years. Two years after his return he married 20-year-old Rebecca Laurie at Govan on 7 October 1859, and built for her a fine Italianate house, Swiss Villa, at Coulport adjacent to his client John Kibble's Coulport House. They had two daughters, Ella, born 8 December 1867, and Jane Laurie, born 26 April 1869. Later the Bouchers moved their Glasgow residence to Brandon Place, now 217 West George Street, where the Italian painter Enrico Patalano was a member of the household from c.1878 until 1881. There is no record of Cousland having travelled, although he probably did, but Boucher seems to have been the most travelled Scottish architect of his generation, in sheer extent approached only by John Dick Peddie and David MacGibbon.

The Boucher & Cousland practice was successful at once, designing the ambitious Gothic Renfield Free Church on Bath Street, a large block of warehouses and shops for Black at the corner of Gordon Street and Renfield Street in 1857-8, and a considerable number of very ambitious villas exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1860 and the Glasgow Institute in 1861. Within a year or two Walter Macfarlane of Saracen Iron Works became a client and in addition to the Macfarlane warehouse in Washington Street (1862) and the Saracen Ironworks at Possilpark (begun 1869), the practice made many designs for architectural castings. The Couslands had some sort of business connection with John Kibble whose father had a wire and metal warehouse at Turner's Court in Argyle Street. In the early 1860s Kibble built the large Italian Romanesque villa Coulport House adjacent to Boucher's Swiss Villa at Loch Long for which they designed the conservatory which in enlarged form became the Kibble Palace in the Botanic Gardens at Kelvinside: Cousland is said to have made a model in wire, to show Kibble what it would look like. In 1862-64 the partnership reached its zenith with the towered Romanesque Free Church at Kinning Park and their cruciform Renaissance Free St George's Church, but Cousland's career was to be brief: his health was upset by a fatal accident at the building of Free St George's and he died at Swiss Cottage on 12 June 1866, survived by his wife Jessie Knox Anderson.

Boucher was thereafter sole practitioner until 1875 when he took into partnership his pupil Henry Higgins (born 1848) who had been his assistant for two years, the style of the firm now becoming Boucher & Higgins. Higgins's son G H Higgins thereafter joined the practice, but seems to have died sometime after 1892 when he designed Temple Church at Anniesland.

Boucher died at Swiss Villa, Coulport on 7 September 1906 leaving the substantial movable estate of £8,916 5s 0d. He was survived by his widow. He was buried at Barbour Cemetery, Cove. Despite his large practice Boucher never sought election to the Royal Institute of British Architects. Photographs of him with mutton chop whiskers, and another of him bearded on a tricycle towing Mrs Boucher in a bath chair are in the possession of the Colvil family.

Higgins died on 9 June 1922, the practice being continued by Henry Edward Higgins (born 1878) who was articled to his father from 1901 to 1906, studied at Glasgow School of Art and remained with his father as assistant.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 6Swiss Cottage/ 35-37, St Andrews Drive, Pollokshields, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivatec. 1857 Also given as Cousland's private address
Item 2 of 643, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18601862 
Item 3 of 6Pollokshields, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1862  
Item 4 of 6217, West George Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1876 *  
Item 5 of 6Swiss Villa, Coulport, Loch Long, Argyll, ScotlandPrivate1888  
Item 6 of 6247, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1888  

* 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 4Charles Wilsonc. 1842c. 1846Apprentice 
Item 2 of 4Charles Wilsonc. 1846April 1853Assistant 
Item 3 of 4Boucher & Couslandc. 18531875Partner 
Item 4 of 4Boucher & Higgins18751892Partner 

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 3Henry Higginsc. 18731875Assistant 
Item 2 of 3William Holmes Howie18761881Apprentice 
Item 3 of 3John Andrew Reid18871888Apprentice 

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 67 YellowleesCarron Stirlingshire/Argyll?ScotlandDate unknown
Item 2 of 671853Kemp's, 37 Buchanan Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 67After 1854Eaton BankDowanhill GlasgowScotland 
Item 4 of 67After 1854Villa for James McBrideGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 5 of 671855Speculative building, Sauchiehall Street (south side)  GlasgowScotland 
Item 6 of 671857Renfield Free Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 7 of 671857Swiss Cottage (Double Villa)Pollokshields GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 671857Thornton LodgeHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 9 of 671858Black's warehouse  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 10 of 671858Hopeville  GlasgowScotland 
Item 11 of 671858Offices and Shops  GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 671858Villa for Alexander McGawPort Glasgow RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 13 of 67c. 1858CastlebankBothwell LanarkshireScotland 
Item 14 of 67c. 1858(?)Villa for Robert CuthbertGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 15 of 671859Mansefield ChurchKilwinning AyrshireScotland 
Item 16 of 671860DranelgCoulport ArgyllScotland 
Item 17 of 671860VillaDowanhill GlasgowScotland 
Item 18 of 67c. 186053 Buchanan Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 19 of 67c. 1860Balclutha HouseGreenock (near) RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 20 of 67c. 1860Benvue, Sydenham Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 21 of 67c. 1860Double villa for T L Paterson  GlasgowScotland 
Item 22 of 67c. 1860Norwood, Sydenham RoadDowanhill GlasgowScotland 
Item 23 of 67c. 1860Villa for David BurgesHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 24 of 67c. 1860Villa for David JohnstoneGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 25 of 67c. 1860Villa for John HendersonCanniesburn GlasgowScotland 
Item 26 of 671861Coulport HouseLoch Long ArgyllScotland 
Item 27 of 671861Mansion at AscogAscogButeButeScotland 
Item 28 of 671861Wellington Arcade  GlasgowScotlandNew entrance and enlargement.
Item 29 of 671862Kinning Park Free ChurchKinning Park GlasgowScotland 
Item 30 of 671862Sanitary Warehouse  GlasgowScotland 
Item 31 of 671863Free ManseTighnabruaich ArgyllScotland 
Item 32 of 671863St George's Free Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 33 of 671863The Lodge, LochgoilheadLochgoilhead ArgyllScotland 
Item 34 of 671863Tighnabruaich Free ChurchTighnabruaich ArgyllScotland 
Item 35 of 671865Greenock ClubGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 36 of 67c. 1865Aytoun House  GlasgowScotland 
Item 37 of 671866Ravensleigh  GlasgowScotlandProbably by Boucher & Cousland
Item 38 of 671867Gaelic Free Church and hallCampbeltown ArgyllScotland 
Item 39 of 671869Saracen FactoryPossilpark GlasgowScotlandOriginal block
Item 40 of 671870 or 1871Redlands House  GlasgowScotlandOriginal house
Item 41 of 67c. 187222 Park Circus  GlasgowScotlandFaçade to Charles Wilson's design and interiors, including Turkish Bath for Wlter Macfarlane
Item 42 of 671874Tighnabruaich SchoolAuchenlochan ArgyllScotlandAttribution by 'Buildings of Scotland'
Item 43 of 671875223-229 Ingram Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 44 of 671875City of Glasgow BankBanff BanffshireScotland 
Item 45 of 671875Teachers whisky offices  GlasgowScotland 
Item 46 of 671875The Nile Block  GlasgowScotland 
Item 47 of 671875Warehouse, Miller Street  GlasgowScotlandRebuilding and extension: new block on Ingram Street corner
Item 48 of 67After 1875St George's Parish Church  EdinburghScotlandRefurnishing (since removed) - may have been by Boucher alone
Item 49 of 67187612-16 Ann Street (now Midland Street)  GlasgowScotlandRemodelling
Item 50 of 671877Carlston, 998 Great Western Road  GlasgowScotland 
Item 51 of 671878Science and Art MuseumFalkirk StirlingshireScotland 
Item 52 of 671879Established Church at PartickPartick GlasgowScotland 
Item 53 of 671880Copeland (or Copland) & Lye premises  GlasgowScotlandSauchiehall Street section
Item 54 of 671881(?)Balfron UF ChurchBalfron StirlingshireScotland 
Item 55 of 67c. 1881Glasgow Municipal Buildings  GlasgowScotlandTwo competition design entered under the pseudonyms Festina Lente and Ca Cannie
Item 56 of 67c. 1882Woodside Parish ChurchWoodside GlasgowScotland 
Item 57 of 671883Kemp's, 37 Buchanan Street  GlasgowScotlandTwo storeys added after fire
Item 58 of 67188497 Buchanan Street  GlasgowScotlandReconstruction of building of 1828 with new attic
Item 59 of 671884Carron Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 60 of 671884West UP ChurchFalkirk StirlingshireScotlandNew front
Item 61 of 671886Richmond  GlasgowScotland 
Item 62 of 671889Bearsden Free ChurchBearsden GlasgowScotland 
Item 63 of 671889Contractor's Depot  GlasgowScotland 
Item 64 of 671891Queen Mary Street Public School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 65 of 671897Saracen FactoryPossilpark GlasgowScotlandAddition
Item 66 of 671901Darvel Board SchoolDarvel AyrshireScotlandWon competition to secure job - Henry Edward Higgins reponsible
Item 67 of 671904Bellsea Park, fountainFraserburgh AberdeenshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 2APSD The Dictionary of Architectureed Wyatt PapworthThe Architectural Publication Society (8v 1852-1892) 
Item 2 of 2Johnston, W T2003Artists of Scotland Officina Publications CDROM 

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Courtesy of Robert ColvilInformation sent via 'Contact Us' on website Sent December 2010
Item 2 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Letter from D M Colvil, grandson, to Iain Paterson, 12 December 1895. Personal information from the Cousland family to A G Lochhead.