Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Peter Coia
Born: 2 November 1914
Died: Early 2004
Bio Notes: John Peter Coia was born on 2 November 1914, one of the nine children of Giovanni Coia, the sculptor son of a farmer in Filignano near Naples. His mother Maria Ernesta Vannini was a dancer of Italian stock who was part of her stepfather’s circus dog act. The couple had met in Paris while Giovanni was making his way across France to Glasgow where other members of the family were already established. On their arrival in Glasgow Giovanni had opened an Italian café at Parkhead Cross.

John's elder brother Jack, 16 years his senior, was already well established in his architectural career by the time John began his training; he had been the sole remaining partner in the practice of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia since 1928. John attended the diploma course at Glasgow School of Architecture, where his brother taught, from 1933 to 1938, spending three months a year as apprentice in his brother's firm. After receiving his diploma in June 1938 he sought experience in other firms, working for Thomas Harold Hughes from December 1938 to July 1939 and for Laird & Napier from July to December 1939, then moving to London to the office of W G Phillips, where he remained until October 1940.

He passed the professional practice exam in December 1943 and was admitted ARIBA on 15 April 1944, his proposers being William James Smith, Gabriel Steel and Alexander Wright. His nomination papers give his home address as 88 Drumover Drive, Glasgow, and state that he was employed in H M Forces at the time. Little is known about his career or whereabouts over the ensuing decades, but it is known that his family, and particularly his brother, suffered greatly as a result of suspicion over their Italian roots during and after the Second World War. He was again working for Gillespie, Kidd & Coia in 1956, and by 1970 he would appear to have been practising on his own in Glasgow, as he is listed separately in the RIBA Directory of that year.

About 1982 he retired and withdrew from the RIBA and the Architects Registration Council. He was living in Innerleithen at this time. He died in Berkshire, his death being registered in Wokingham in February 2004.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 488, Drumover Drive, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1944 *  
Item 2 of 487, Leslie Street, Pollokshields, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1950 *  
Item 3 of 439, Regent Park Square, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate/business(?)1970 *After 1979 
Item 4 of 411, Nursery Park, Innerleithen, Peeblesshire, ScotlandPrivate1983 *  

* 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 5Gillespie Kidd & Coia19331938Apprenticethree months spent in office each year during college vacations
Item 2 of 5Thomas Harold HughesDecember 1938July 1939Assistant(?) 
Item 3 of 5Laird & NapierJuly 1939December 1939Assistant(?) 
Item 4 of 5W G Phillips and PartnersDecember 1939October 1940Assistant(?) 
Item 5 of 5Gillespie Kidd & Coia1956 * Assistant 

* earliest date known from documented sources.


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3(Professor) William James Smith15 April 1944for Associateship
Item 2 of 3Gabriel Steel15 April 1944for Associateship
Item 3 of 3Alexander Wright15 April 1944for Associateship

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 31956Catholic Retreat HouseCraighead, Bothwell LanarkshireScotlandChapel formed from conservatory
Item 2 of 31961Hotel  GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 31962The Cavendish Public House  GlasgowScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 3RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 2 of 3RIBA1970RIBA Directory 1970   
Item 3 of 3Rogerson, R W K C1986Jack Coia: his life and work Glasgow: privately published 

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no8321 (combined box 208)