Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Clarke
Born: 1809
Died: 5 January 1889
Bio Notes: William Clarke was born in Dailly, Ayrshire in 1809, the son of Marion Paul who gave him the surname of Clark, that of his reputed father William Clark. The Clarke spelling was adopted later. In or about 1823 he was articled to William Burn and remained with him as a draughtsman. George Bell, born in 1814, joined Burn's staff from the London office of Archibald Elliot II and his brother Alexander. In 1841 while still in Burn's employ they entered a joint competition for Lanarkshire County Buildings and the Merchant's House of Glasgow in which it was 'a condition…that each of the buildings was to have its individuality, but that together they would be in harmony'. Their design - what seems to be their perspective is now in NMRS - appears to have drawn inspiration from Harvey Lonsdale Elmes's original designs for St George's Hall and The Assize Courts in Liverpool when these were separate projects: Bell may have seen these when still in London. As a result of their success in the competition they formed a partnership which at once attained a place in the foremost rank of Scottish architects, a position consolidated by being premiated in the Edinburgh Free Church College competition two years later. The commission for the latter was, however, given to William Henry Playfair. By at least 1843 Clarke and Bell had opened an office in Glasgow at 135 Buchanan Street which seems to have also been their home address, a move further encouraged by the first of several commissions for the reconstruction of the Justiciary Courts in 1845. Together with Baird and Wilson, Clarke and Bell were the principal beneficiaries of the collapse of the D & J Hamilton/James Smith partnership in 1844.

Of the two partners, Clarke was the more active in public affairs. He was one of the leading members of the Architectural Institute of Scotland founded in 1850, contributing a paper on Scots Pictorial Architecture delivered on on 27 February 1851. In 1855 he designed the Italian Renaissance Room in that body's Scottish Exhibition Rooms in Bath Street (the building itself was by Alexander Thomson) and, although not one of the leading founding members in 1858, he became a prominent member of the Glasgow Architectural Society, delivering the 1864 opening address. It was, however, Bell who sought membership of the RIBA during the Charles Barry Jun. - John Honeyman recruiting campaign, Clarke being by then sixty-nine and nearing retirement. Bell was admitted FRIBA on 16 December 1878, his proposers being John Baird II, John Honeyman and James Thomson.

Clarke's is the more readily identifiable architectural personality, with a marked predilection for shallow relief and Corinthian pilasters, his style changing little during his long career. The more three-dimensional columnar treatments and richer detail of the Caledonian and North British Insurance buildings were probably Bell's. In contrast to their refined classicism their Gothic buildings were spiky, angular and hard-edged, perhaps influenced by the work of Billings.

Clarke died of apoplexy on 5 January 1889 at his house at 12 Ballantine Drive, Ayr. His obituarist described him as 'simple in manner, kindly of heart, genial in social intercourse, full of curious anecdote and reminiscence and with much humour of a peculiar quaintness' - evidently part of the Glasgow architect's stock-in-trade since John Keppie made a similar observation on Sellars's 'quaint repartee'.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1112, Ballantine Drive, Ayr, Ayrshire, ScotlandPrivate 1889 
Item 2 of 11135, Buchanan Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 18441850 
Item 3 of 1151, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18501860 
Item 4 of 11Smithfield Cottage, Woodlands Road, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate18511854His mother living here with him in 1851.
Item 5 of 11Oakville, Hillhead, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1856 *  
Item 6 of 1137, West Nile Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1860After 1875 
Item 7 of 1113, Nelson Terrace, Hillhead, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1862  
Item 8 of 11Mount Pleasant, Uddingston, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1863  
Item 9 of 11Greenholm, Lenzie Junction, Dunbartonshire/Lanarkshire, ScotlandPrivateMarch 18721888Listed at this address in 1888 PO Directory
Item 10 of 11212, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1880 *  
Item 11 of 11Woodside Cottage, New South Hamilton Street, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1889  

* 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 4William Burnc. 1823c. 1827(?)ApprenticeRemained as draughtsman.
Item 2 of 4William Burnc. 1827(?)1841Draughtsman 
Item 3 of 4Clarke & Bell1841c. 1880(?)Partner 
Item 4 of 4Clarke & Bell and R A Bryden1875(?)c. 1880(?)Partner 

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 128 Agricultural College  GlasgowScotlandExtensions - date unknown
Item 2 of 128 Blackburn, feuing planAyr AyrshireScotlandDate unknown (1915 plans appear to be by another hand), therefore it is uncertain which partners were involved
Item 3 of 128 Earlston SchoolEarlston BerwickshireScotlandDate unknown
Item 4 of 128 Manse at CoveCove  ScotlandDate unknown
Item 5 of 1281842City and County Buildings and second Merchants' House  GlasgowScotlandS & W sections including second Merchants' House
Item 6 of 1281844(?)National Bank of Scotland and Square of Business ChambersShawlands GlasgowScotlandCompetition design (probably), though it may relate to Municipal Buildings proposal of 1873
Item 7 of 128c. 1845EllislandAyr AyrshireScotland'Buildings of Scotland' attribution
Item 8 of 1281846Abattoir, north side  GlasgowScotland 
Item 9 of 1281846Dodridge Farm HouseHopetoun West LothianScotland 
Item 10 of 1281846GuildhallDunfermline FifeScotlandConversion into Sheriff Court
Item 11 of 1281846St LeonardsAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 12 of 128After 1846Abattoirs and Meat Market  GlasgowScotlandOriginal abbatoirs
Item 13 of 1281848Anderston Free Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 14 of 1281848Barony PoorhouseForesthill GlasgowScotlandOriginal building (including porter's lodge)
Item 15 of 1281848InverdonAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 16 of 1281848Victoria Park feuingAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 17 of 1281849Biggar Parish SchoolBiggar LanarkshireScotland 
Item 18 of 1281849Justiciary Court Houses  GlasgowScotlandReconstruction
Item 19 of 1281849SchoolAlloway AyrshireScotland 
Item 20 of 1281849SchoolhouseAlloway AyrshireScotland 
Item 21 of 1281850s(?)Cambusdoon HouseAlloway AyrshireScotlandPlans drawn up for vinery
Item 22 of 1281852Triangular block of shops, Jail Square  GlasgowScotland 
Item 23 of 1281853North British Insurance (Assurance) Office  GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 1281854Ayr Fort feuingAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 25 of 1281854Jedburgh Free ChurchJedburgh RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 26 of 128c. 1854Caledonian Insurance Office  GlasgowScotland 
Item 27 of 1281855Scottish Exhibition Rooms  GlasgowScotlandDesigned Italian Renaissance Room
Item 28 of 128c. 1855Bakery buildings   Scotland 
Item 29 of 128c. 1855Brisbane Villa  Ayrshire?ScotlandPorch
Item 30 of 128c. 1855Dalziel Parish SchoolDalziel LanarkshireScotland 
Item 31 of 128c. 1855Dolphinton House and lodge  PeeblesshireScotlandGate lodge - perhaps prepared plans for work on house as well and certainly for greenhouse.
Item 32 of 128c. 1855Gatelodge for Mr KerrGareloch DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 33 of 128c. 1855Gothic villa for Mr Montgomrie [sic]     
Item 34 of 128c. 1855Hayston House, LodgeKirkintilloch DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 35 of 128c. 1855Hunthill HouseJedburgh? Roxburghshire?ScotlandAlterations, screen in corridor etc
Item 36 of 128c. 1855Hunthill House, stable officesJedburgh RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 37 of 128c. 1855Italian villa for Robert Henderson  BelfastNorthern Ireland 
Item 38 of 128c. 1855Kayenne CottageDunoon ArgyllScotland 
Item 39 of 128c. 1855Lady Belhaven's SchoolWishaw LanarkshireScotland 
Item 40 of 128c. 1855Large villa at Blantyre FarmBlantyre LanarkshireScotland 
Item 41 of 128c. 1855Mission Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 42 of 128c. 1855Mission ChurchGorbals GlasgowScotlandPlans drawn up - not selected
Item 43 of 128c. 1855Monument to Mr RobertsonDunoon ArgyllScotland 
Item 44 of 128c. 1855Royal Theatre  GlasgowScotland 
Item 45 of 128c. 1855Shopfront for Arnott & Co  GlasgowScotland 
Item 46 of 128c. 1855Stanley VillaPollokshields GlasgowScotland 
Item 47 of 128c. 1855Tombstone for J S FlemingCampsie StirlingshireScotland 
Item 48 of 128c. 1855VillaCampsie StirlingshireScotland 
Item 49 of 128c. 1855VillaCampsie StirlingshireScotland 
Item 50 of 128c. 1855Villa for Mr Murdoch     
Item 51 of 128c. 1855Villa for Thomas ReidGarliston Lanarkshire?Scotland 
Item 52 of 1281856Nelson Terrace  GlasgowScotland 
Item 53 of 1281857LedcamerochBearsden GlasgowScotland 
Item 54 of 1281857LochbraeBearsden GlasgowScotland 
Item 55 of 1281858Baronscourt Church  UlsterNorthern Ireland 
Item 56 of 1281858Skelmorlie Parish ChurchSkelmorlie AyrshireScotlandTransept added to old church (now the hall)
Item 57 of 1281859Abington House  LanarkshireScotland 
Item 58 of 1281859Justiciary Court Houses  GlasgowScotlandFurther reconstruction work
Item 59 of 1281860sAbattoir, south side  GlasgowScotlandPlans drawn up
Item 60 of 1281860sHawick Corn ExchangeHawick RoxburghshireScotlandPlans drawn up - not executed
Item 61 of 1281860sMotherwell First (United) UP ChurchMotherwell LanarkshireScotlandPrepared pans - but John Grahame Peat secured commission
Item 62 of 1281860Arkleton HouseLangholm DumfriesshireScotlandOriginal house
Item 63 of 1281860Darlington Place UP ChurchAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 64 of 1281860Milton Rooms  GlasgowScotlandConversion of Milton Rooms to Magnet Music Hall
Item 65 of 1281860Water Office  GlasgowScotland 
Item 66 of 1281861Glasgow Royal Infirmary Surgical Hospital  GlasgowScotlandAdded to Adam's infirmary
Item 67 of 1281861Hamilton Burgh BuildingsHamilton LanarkshireScotland 
Item 68 of 1281862Blantyre Parish ChurchBlantyre LanarkshireScotland 
Item 69 of 1281862Newton on Ayr Free ChurchNewton on Ayr AyrshireScotland 
Item 70 of 128c. 1862Scottish National Albert Memorial  EdinburghScotlandCompetition design
Item 71 of 1281866Property at High Street and Exchange StreetJedburgh RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 72 of 128c. 1866Manchester Town Hall  ManchesterEnglandCompetition design
Item 73 of 1281867Alexandra Music HallCowcaddens GlasgowScotland 
Item 74 of 1281867Ayr Cemetery, Monument to Rev.James StevensonAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 75 of 1281867Langbank UP ChurchLangbank RenfrewshireScotlandCompetition design
Item 76 of 1281868City and County Buildings and second Merchants' House  GlasgowScotlandAdditions to the east (Brunswick Street)
Item 77 of 1281868Jamestown Parish ChurchJamestown DunbartonshireScotlandBlantyre design reused
Item 78 of 128c. 1870Girvan UP ChurchGirvan AyrshireScotland 
Item 79 of 1281871City and County Buildings and second Merchants' House  GlasgowScotlandNorthern section - Council Chambers and Municipal Offices in Ingram Street
Item 80 of 1281871St Andrews Free ChurchKirkintilloch DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 81 of 1281872Fish Market  GlasgowScotland 
Item 82 of 1281872Hillhead Town Hall  GlasgowScotland 
Item 83 of 1281873Johnstone Memorial ChurchSpringburn GlasgowScotland 
Item 84 of 1281874Dunoon UP ChurchDunoon ArgyllScotland 
Item 85 of 1281874Lenzie Chapel of EaseLenzie Dunbartonshire/LanarkshireScotland 
Item 86 of 1281874Premises, Cadogan Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 87 of 1281875Clyde Spinning Mill  GlasgowScotland 
Item 88 of 1281875Home for Destitute Children  GlasgowScotland 
Item 89 of 1281875Partick, Hillhead and Maryhill Joint Hospital for Infectious Diseases  GlasgowScotlandOriginal building
Item 90 of 1281876Western Baths  GlasgowScotland 
Item 91 of 128c. 1876Cadzow Parish Church, HamiltonHamilton LanarkshireScotland 
Item 92 of 1281877Ayr Town HallAyr AyrshireScotlandExtension to High Street, and alterations - placed second in competition
Item 93 of 1281877Drill Hall and Headquarters for 1st Lanark Rifles  GlasgowScotland 
Item 94 of 128June 1877Trades House  GlasgowScotlandPlans for new building submitted for invited competition; subsequently abandoned after failure to reach a decision
Item 95 of 1281878Ayr AcademyAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 96 of 1281880Dunoon Infants' SchoolDunoon ArgyllScotland 
Item 97 of 128c. 1880RedheughKilbirnie AyrshireScotland 
Item 98 of 1281881Trochraigue HouseGirvan AyrshireScotlandAddition
Item 99 of 128c. 1881Glasgow Municipal Buildings  GlasgowScotlandCompetition design entered under the pseudonym Clutha
Item 100 of 1281883Paisley County Buildings (Sheriff Court), Meeting Room and OfficesPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandWon in competition
Item 101 of 1281884Dalnair HouseDrymen StirlingshireScotlandBuildings of Scotland wrongly ascribes this to James Bell, as does HS List
Item 102 of 1281884Dalnair House LodgeDrymen StirlingshireScotland 
Item 103 of 128c. 1884Seaman's Institute  GlasgowScotland 
Item 104 of 1281885AdamtonMonkton AyrshireScotland 
Item 105 of 128188642-50 Gordon Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 106 of 1281886Broughton Parish ChurchCalzeat PeeblesshireScotlandRebuilding
Item 107 of 128Mid 1800sBonhill Parish ChurchBonhill DunbartonshireScotlandPlans for alterations?
Item 108 of 128Mid 1800sBothwell UP ChurchBothwell LanarkshireScotlandplans drawn up
Item 109 of 128Mid 1800sCampbell's Music Salon  GlasgowScotlandNew entrance
Item 110 of 128Mid 1800sCommercial Bank of Scotland, Trongate  GlasgowScotlandPlans drawn up
Item 111 of 128Mid 1800sDesign for a villa for Mr McNeillAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 112 of 128Mid 1800sEast Kilbride UP ChurchEast Kilbride LanarkshireScotland 
Item 113 of 128Mid 1800sHotel   ScotlandPlans drawn up
Item 114 of 128Mid 1800sHouse   ScotlandPlans prepared
Item 115 of 128Mid 1800sHouse   ScotlandPlans drawn up
Item 116 of 128Mid 1800sLeck's Property  GlasgowScotlandPlans drawn up
Item 117 of 128Mid 1800sManseWishaw LanarkshireScotland 
Item 118 of 128Mid 1800sMr Adam Bryden's Cottage, Rachan MillBiggar (near) LanarkshireScotland 
Item 119 of 128Mid 1800sMr Bannatyne's house     
Item 120 of 128Mid 1800sMr Keir's VillaGarscadden GlasgowScotland 
Item 121 of 128Mid 1800sMr McCubbin's VillaLangside Hill GlasgowScotland 
Item 122 of 128Mid 1800sMr Monteith's villaAscogButeArgyll & ButeScotland 
Item 123 of 128Mid 1800sMr Robert Bell's villaWishaw LanarkshireScotland 
Item 124 of 128Mid 1800sOffices, West Nile Street  GlasgowScotlandAlterations?
Item 125 of 128Mid 1800sRachanBiggar LanarkshireScotland 
Item 126 of 128Mid 1800sReformed Presbyterian Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 127 of 128Mid 1800sRobertson Memorial Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 128 of 128Mid 1800sSpringburn ManseSpringburn GlasgowScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 2Scotlands People Website Wills & Testaments  Ayr Sheiriff Court Wills & Inventories SC6/46/20 and SC6/44/50
Item 2 of 2Transactions of the Architectural Institute of Sco1851Transactions of the Architectural Institute of Scotland, Session 1850-1  Paper XI: Clarke's paper on 'Scots Pictorial Architecture'

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Ayrshire Advertiser17 January 1889   
Item 2 of 2Builder19 January 1889  p2 Obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Research by Iain Paterson