Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Cowie
Born: 1867
Died: 7 June 1949
Bio Notes: William Cowie was born in 1867, the son of Alexander Cowie, cabinetmaker and his wife, Margaret Harold. He served his apprenticeship with Alexander and William Reid of Elgin from 1883-1888. He then moved to Edinburgh becoming an assistant in the office of Sydney Mitchell for two-and-a-half years, transferring to the Glasgow office of Clarke and Bell thereafter. During his early training he showed a particular interest in medieval ecclesiastical architecture, making measured drawings of a number of buildings including Elgin Cathedral, Holyrood Church, Glasgow Cathedral and Crossraguel Abbey. He passed the qualifying exam and was elected ARIBA on 5 June 1893, his proposers being Robert Alexander Bryden, William Forrest Salmon and Thomas Lennox Watson. From this time he was chief draughtsman to John and Henry Vincent Eaglesham for twelve years, commenced independent practice in Ayr in 1905 and taking John Frederick Torry into partnership. He was elected FRIBA in late 1933 or early 1934, his proposers being James Lochhead, George Arthur Boswell and James Archibald Morris. In addition to the specific works listed on his nomination paper, he mentions "Several Private Houses, Warehouses, Factories etc.".

Cowie died at his home, 43 Ayr Road, Prestwick on 7 June 1949, aged eighty-two. He had been married twice, first to Janet Deans Harvey and second to Christine Sommerville Aitken.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 768, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1893 * With John McKissack (in ARIBA nomination papers)
Item 2 of 790, Great Western Road, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1893 *  
Item 3 of 75, Alloway Street, Ayr, Ayrshire, ScotlandPrivate1904 *  
Item 4 of 7Alloway Chambers, 239, High Street, Ayr, Ayrshire, ScotlandBusiness1908 *1914(?)At least from these dates. Building designed by Cowie in 1904
Item 5 of 75, Wellington Square, Ayr, Ayrshire, ScotlandBusiness1915 *1940(?)At least these years
Item 6 of 75, Falkland Park Road, Ayr, Ayrshire, ScotlandPrivate(?)1931 *  
Item 7 of 743, Ayr Road, Prestwick, Ayrshire, ScotlandPrivate1933 *1949 

* 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 7Cowie, Torry & Partners 1947Partner 
Item 2 of 7A & W ReidFebruary 18831888Apprentice 
Item 3 of 7Arthur George Sydney Mitchell18881890Assistant 
Item 4 of 7Clarke & Bell18901893Assistant(?) 
Item 5 of 7J & H V Eaglesham1893(?)1905Chief Draughtsman 
Item 6 of 7John McKissackc. 1893c. 1893  
Item 7 of 7William Cowie & Torry1947 Partner 

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 5James Bennett19111912Assistant 
Item 2 of 5Alexander Mair19121913Chief Assistant 
Item 3 of 5John Frederick ('Fred') Torry19231928Apprentice 
Item 4 of 5John Frederick ('Fred') TorryAfter 1928 Assistant 
Item 5 of 5John Ewing MurrayAugust 1932September 1937Apprentice 


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 1933 or early 1934for Fellowship (proposed 10 July 1933, elected on unknown date, signed declaration 2 January 1934)
Item 2 of 6Robert Alexander Bryden5 June 1893for Associateship
Item 3 of 6James LochheadLate 1933 or early 1934for Fellowship (proposed 10 July 1933, elected on unknown date, signed declaration 2 January 1934)
Item 4 of 6James Archibald MorrisLate 1933 or early 1934for Fellowship (proposed 10 July 1933, elected on unknown date, signed declaration 2 January 1934)
Item 5 of 6William Forrest Salmon5 June 1893for Associateship
Item 6 of 6Thomas Lennox Watson5 June 1893for Associateship

RIBA Proposals

This proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 10David Morton Brown20 March 1911for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 10Hugh Harvey13 April 1943for Licentiateship
Item 3 of 10Andrew Mason15 April 1947For Licentiateship
Item 4 of 10John Ewing Murray22 April 1941for Associateship
Item 5 of 10William Newlands24 June 1912for Licentiateship
Item 6 of 10Alexander Caldwell Thomson22 April 1912for Licentiateship
Item 7 of 10Alexander Smart Todd16 September 1941for Associateship
Item 8 of 10John Frederick ('Fred') Torry12 December 1939For Associateship
Item 9 of 10John St Clair Williamson24 June 1912for Licentiateship
Item 10 of 10James Wright6 December 1937for 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 411893Forres Tolbooth and court houseForres MorayshireScotland 
Item 2 of 411895St Francis Xavier RC ChurchWaterside AyrshireScotland'Buildings of Scotland' attribution
Item 3 of 4119009-15 Burns Statue SquareAyr AyrshireScotlandIn conjunction with J & H V Eaglesham - as job architect
Item 4 of 41c. 1900Villas, Culzean RoadMaybole AyrshireScotland'Buildings of Scotland' attribution
Item 5 of 411904Tenement block, 239 High StreetAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 6 of 411908Carrick House cottagesAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 7 of 411909244-248 High StreetAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 8 of 411909Elementary and Higher Grade SchoolsBlantyre   Winner named as William Cowie of Wishaw. More probably James Grant Cowie of Wishaw
Item 9 of 411909Esplanade and Sea WallPrestwick AyrshireScotland 
Item 10 of 41c. 1910Villa, 11 Dallas RoadTroon AyrshireScotland 
Item 11 of 411911Girvan High SchoolGirvan AyrshireScotland 
Item 12 of 411911Kingcase Parish ChurchPrestwick AyrshireScotland 
Item 13 of 411911Masonic TempleCumnock AyrshireScotland 
Item 14 of 411911Newton AcademyAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 15 of 411912Lanark Cemetery, Murray's Memorial Mortuary ChapelLanark LanarkshireScotland 
Item 16 of 411912St Ninian'sPrestwick AyrshireScotland 
Item 17 of 411912UF Church MansePatna AyrshireScotlandProbably by Cowie- 'Buildings of Scotland'
Item 18 of 411915Glenburn SchoolPrestwick AyrshireScotland 
Item 19 of 41c. 1920Hamilton ArmsGirvan AyrshireScotlandMay be the architect of the addition - 'Buildings of Scotland'
Item 20 of 411924Brig o' Doon HouseAlloway AyrshireScotlandAdditions
Item 21 of 411924Cumnock Higher Grade SchoolCumnock AyrshireScotland 
Item 22 of 41c. 1925Police StationPrestwick AyrshireScotlandAddition to left. 'Buildings of Scotland' attribution
Item 23 of 411927Prestwick Bowling ClubPrestwick AyrshireScotland 
Item 24 of 411929Esplanade and Sea WallPrestwick AyrshireScotlandExtensions to Sea Wall
Item 25 of 411929New ChurchAyr AyrshireScotlandWar Memorial gateway - brought here from Relief Church
Item 26 of 411930171-173 High StreetAyr AyrshireScotlandAlterations
Item 27 of 41193080 Houses at Newton GlebeAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 28 of 41193088 Houses at LochsideAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 29 of 411930Garage and Filling StationAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 30 of 411930GartferryAyr AyrshireScotlandConversion to hotel
Item 31 of 411930Newnham House SchoolAyr AyrshireScotlandAlterations
Item 32 of 411931Co-operativeKilmarnock AyrshireScotland 
Item 33 of 411931Open-Air Bathing LakePrestwick AyrshireScotland 
Item 34 of 411931Shop and SaloonAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 35 of 411932Design OfficeAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 36 of 411932Joseph Miller TailorAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 37 of 411933Block of flatsWallacetown AyrshireScotland 
Item 38 of 41Before 1933Church HallNew Prestwick AyrshireScotland 
Item 39 of 411934Suite of Church Halls, LochsideAyr AyrshireScotland 
Item 40 of 411938Girvan AcademyGirvan AyrshireScotlandPlans drawn up.
Item 41 of 411948Girvan AcademyGirvan AyrshireScotlandConstruction - not completed until 1955, after Cowie's death


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 5Close, Robert1992Ayrshire and Arran, an Illustrated Architectural Guide Edinburgh: RIASp32
Item 2 of 5Glendinning, M, MacInnes, R and MacKechnie, A1996A History of Scottish Architecture  p563
Item 3 of 5RIBA1930The RIBA Kalendar 1930-1931 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 4 of 5RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 5 of 5Who's Who in Architecture1914    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Scotsman8 June 1949  p10 - death notice

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 v12 p55 (microfiche 54/B4); F no3150 (box 17)