Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Alfred Taylor Houston
Born: 1878
Died: 19 December 1927
Bio Notes: John Alfred Taylor Houston was born in Glasgow in 1878 (Reg district 644/8, entry number 393), the son of William Houston, mercantile clerk and cashier and his wife Margaret Taylor. He was articled to Henry Denison Walton from 1894 to 1898. At the end of his apprenticeship he moved to the offices of Honeyman & Keppie (1898-99), Robert Rowand Anderson (1899-1900), and John Burnet & Son (1900-01), becoming a fine draughtsman and a master of classical detail. During the period 1893 -1905 he studyied at Glasgow School of Art under William James Anderson and gained several bronze medals for his designs.

Houston joined the Glasgow Corporation Public Works Department as assistant to the city engineer Alexander Beith McDonald in April 1901, and with Robert William Horn, also of that office, reached the final tier in the competition for London County Hall in 1908. On 24 June 1909 in a Wesleyan Methodist ceremony, he married Edith Jane Jamieson at the the Windsor Hotel, Glasgow. He was admitted LRIBA on 18 July 1910, his proposers being Burnet, Keppie and Professor Alexander McGibbon. By that time he was teaching decorative iron and metal work at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College, which he continued to do for at least twelve years; he had also begun to carry out occasional jobs in private practice outwith the confines of the Corporation. His travels prior to that date had taken him once to Oxford, twice to Cambridge, five times to France (at least on one occasion to Touraine) and once to Italy. He had published a paper on the Cambridge Colleges in the 'Builder', and had exhibited at the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts.

Houston was commissioned in the Royal Engineers in 1915, reaching the rank of captain, and following his return to the service of the Glasgow Corporation as principal architect was admitted FRIBA in early 1921, his proposers being William Brown Whitie, James Lochhead and Walter Symington Athol Gordon. During his remaining years in the Public Works Department he specialised in hospitals. He died as a result of injuries in a head on collision with a tramcar at Maryhill while carrying out his duties as principal architect in the City Engineers Department on 19 December 1927.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 553, Holmhead Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate18931899 
Item 2 of 596, Hanover Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1902 *  
Item 3 of 518 (or 13?), Florida Drive, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness19041909 
Item 4 of 551, Polwarth Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1910After 1914 
Item 5 of 535, Blythswood Drive, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate19201927 

* 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 7Henry Denison WaltonApril 1894April 1898Apprentice 
Item 2 of 7Honeyman & KeppieApril 1898May 1899Assistant 
Item 3 of 7Anderson Simon & CrawfordMay 1899May 1900Assistant 
Item 4 of 7John Burnet & SonMay 1900April 1901Assistant 
Item 5 of 7Glasgow Office of Public Works Architectural Department (later Glasgow Corporation City Engineer's Department)April 19011915AssistantUnder Alexander Beith MacDonald, City Architect, Engineer & Surveyor
Item 6 of 7Royal Engineers Office1915Before 1920  
Item 7 of 7Glasgow Office of Public Works Architectural Department (later Glasgow Corporation City Engineer's Department)Before 19201927Chief Architect 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6(Sir) John James Burnet18 July 1910for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 6Walter Symington Athol GordonEarly 1921for Fellowship
Item 3 of 6John Keppie18 July 1910for Licentiateship
Item 4 of 6James LochheadEarly 1921for Fellowship
Item 5 of 6Alexander McGibbon18 July 1910for Licentiateship
Item 6 of 6William Brown WhitieEarly 1921for Fellowship

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 18After 1901Boating Club HouseGlasgow Green GlasgowScotland 
Item 2 of 18After 1901City Halls and BazaarCandleriggs GlasgowScotlandInternal alterations and new 60-ft-long Austrian oak organ case for City Hall
Item 3 of 18After 1901Doctor's house and stablesStandburn StirlingshireScotlandIn private practice
Item 4 of 18After 1901Glasgow Botanic Garden, bridge over the River Kelvin  GlasgowScotland 
Item 5 of 18After 1901Glasgow Municipal Buildings  GlasgowScotlandRemodelling of Council Chamber
Item 6 of 18After 1901Glasgow Municipal Buildings  GlasgowScotlandDecoration of room for Lord Provost
Item 7 of 18After 1901Kelvingrove Park, bridge over the River KelvinKelvingrove GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 181907Bellahouston Park  GlasgowScotlandGate lodge and retiring rooms - in Office of Public Works, under supervision of A B McDonald
Item 9 of 181907City Halls and BazaarCandleriggs GlasgowScotlandWarehouses and cheese market (fireproof construction),(part fronting Bell Street and Albion Street) extension of fruit market and renovation of vegetable market - designed and executed, under supervision of A B McDonald in Office of Public Works.
Item 10 of 181907London County Hall  LondonEnglandCompetition design - reached final tier (in conjunction with Robert Horn)
Item 11 of 181908Pittencrieff Park, Bandstand for Carnegie TrustDunfermline FifeScotlandIn private practice
Item 12 of 18c. 1910Glasgow Public Halls  GlasgowScotlandAdditions; alterations and remodelling of Grand Hall; new Austrian oak organ case
Item 13 of 181914Glasgow Art Gallery and MuseumKelvingrove GlasgowScotlandNew south approaches, Italian Garden and alterations to main front - in Office of Public Works
Item 14 of 18After 1915Military campKinross Kinross-shireScotland 
Item 15 of 18After 1915Military campDunfermline FifeScotland 
Item 16 of 18After 1915Military campGailes AyrshireScotland 
Item 17 of 181921Mearnskirk SanatoriumNewton Mearns RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 18 of 181923Couper Institute and libraryCathcart GlasgowScotlandAdditional hall and library


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 4British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 4Glendinning, M, MacInnes, R and MacKechnie, A1996A History of Scottish Architecture   
Item 3 of 4Post Office Directories     
Item 4 of 4Who's Who in Architecture1914    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Builder3 February 1928v133 p208 - obituary
Item 2 of 3RIBA Journal14 January 1928v35London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp168 - death notice
Item 3 of 3RIBA Journal28 January 1928v35London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp201 - obituary

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 Additional information from Iain Paterson
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers L v2 no155 (microfilm reel 29); F no1794 (microfilm reel 14)