Basic Biographical Details

Name: Joseph Marr Johnston
Born: 26 April 1871
Died: 1934
Bio Notes: Joseph Marr Johnston was born in Leith on 26 April 1871 and educated at George Watson's College, Edinburgh. He was articled to Robert Rowand Anderson from December 1885 to 1891, and was subsequently assistant clerk of works at the University of Edinburgh for four years, thereafter moving to William Nicholas Thomson's office in Leith as chief assistant before setting up his own practice at 34 Bernard Street, Leith in 1900. He quickly established himself by winning the competition for Leith Poorhouse and took a larger office at 56 Constitution Street, Leith which was redesignated 47 Queen Charlotte Street in 1904. Thereafter he became architect to Leith Parish Council, Edinburgh Parish Council, Leith School Board and the Navy and Army Canteen Board.

Johnston was admitted LRIBA in the mass intake of 20 July 1911, by which time he had carried out work in independent practice to a total value of 100,000. His proposers were the then chairman of Leith School Board and the minister of the parish of South Leith. A letter accompanying his application explains the absence of fellow architects among his proposers at this time: 'During the last 10 years or so I have been so much tied up in this town as to have got out of touch with the members of the Institute with whom I am acquainted and have some reluctance in asking them to vouch for me now as I have no reason to believe they are acquainted with work I have done.' He appears to have re-established his professional connections by 1926 when he was elected FRIBA on 14 June, his proposers this time being Thomas Forbes Maclennan, John James Joass and Alexander Lorne Campbell.

During the First World War he carried out work for the Army Canteen Board in Scotland in collaboration with E M Joseph of London, and designed hospitals for the American Navy and various buildings for the American Red Cross, British Red Cross and War Department.

He was a member of the Scottish Conservative Club, and a prominent freemason: Master of Lodge Trafalgar, Grand Architect of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and one of the founders of the Watsonian Masonic Lodge and its architect. He was also musical, being for long principal bass singer in the choir of St Giles Cathedral but in his later years he suffered from deafness. He had two sons and two daughters: the elder son James Stewart Johnston became a partner in 1930 and continued the practice alone after his father's death while on holiday in Oban in 1934. The younger son Frank W Johnston did not become a partner until 1947, when the firm became J & F Johnston.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 685, Constitution Street, Leith, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1898c. 1899 
Item 2 of 634, Bernard Street, Leith, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1900Before 1904 
Item 3 of 656, Constitution Street, Leith, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 19001904Street redesignated 47 Queen Charlotte Street in 1904
Item 4 of 6115, Ferry Road, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivatec. 1903c. 1909 
Item 5 of 647, Charlotte Street, Leith, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness19041934New name for 34 Bernard Street
Item 6 of 65, Derby Street, Trinity, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivatec. 1910  

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 3Wardrop, Anderson & BrowneDecember 1885December 1885Apprentice 
Item 2 of 3Wardrop & AndersonDecember 18851891Apprentice 
Item 3 of 3William Nicholas Thomson18951900Chief Assistant 

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 9William Henry Johnson (junior)19031904Assistant 
Item 2 of 9George Angus Sutherland1904(?)1906(?)Assistant 
Item 3 of 9James Stewart Johnston19181920 Began training
Item 4 of 9Frank Wood JohnstonAfter 19211934Assistant(?) 
Item 5 of 9Robert Edward Thomas StockdaleApril 19231928Apprentice 
Item 6 of 9James Stewart JohnstonJanuary 19261930Assistant 
Item 7 of 9Colin William Glendinning19271932Apprentice 
Item 8 of 9Robert Edward Thomas Stockdale19281931Junior Assistant 
Item 9 of 9James Stewart Johnston19301934Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Alexander Lorne Campbell14 June 1926for Fellowship
Item 2 of 3John James Joass14 June 1926for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3Thomas Forbes Maclennan14 June 1926for 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 641885National Portrait Gallery and Museum of Antiquities  EdinburghScotlandAs apprentice to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 2 of 641887University of Edinburgh, Medical School and McEwan Hall  EdinburghScotlandMcEwan Hall - as assistant to Wardrop & Anderson
Item 3 of 641889Dunblane CathedralDunblane PerthshireScotlandRestoration - as apprentice to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 4 of 641889Hoddom CastleEcclefechan DumfriesshireScotlandSurvey plans and new lodge
Item 5 of 64After 1900Batsford Jenks & Co   United States of America 
Item 6 of 64After 1900Belstane  MidlothianScotland 
Item 7 of 64After 1900Burlington Street StablesLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 8 of 64After 1900Children's HomeCeres FifeScotlandAdditions and alterations
Item 9 of 64After 1900Dollar Academy, pavilionDollar ClackmannanshireScotlandSketch plans
Item 10 of 64After 1900Jenkinson's PremisesLeith? Edinburgh?Scotland 
Item 11 of 64After 1900Leith Docks, grain elevatorLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 12 of 64After 1900Leith Docks, grain siloLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 13 of 64After 1900Magic WellBalmullo FifeScotlandHouse, gardens, cottages, home farm, reservoir, drainage system
Item 14 of 64After 1900Mission HallLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 15 of 64After 1900Mosspark  PerthshireScotlandAdditions
Item 16 of 64After 1900Premises for Hislop & Day  EdinburghScotland 
Item 17 of 64After 1900Premises for John Wood  EdinburghScotland 
Item 18 of 64After 1900Premises for Messrs Wight & CalderLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 19 of 64After 1900Premises for Murray & SonLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 20 of 64After 1900Premises for PearceLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 21 of 64After 1900Premises for R LyonLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 22 of 64After 1900St Giles Cathedral  EdinburghScotlandOrgan case
Item 23 of 64After 1900Villas, Inverleith PlaceInverleith EdinburghScotland 
Item 24 of 64After 1900Whincorner  MidlothianScotland 
Item 25 of 64After 1900Works and offices for shipbuilding and engineering firmsLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 26 of 641903Leith PoorhouseLeith EdinburghScotlandPlaced 7th by the assessor but still secured job
Item 27 of 641903WarehouseLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 28 of 641905Premises for Sword & Sons, Great Junction StreetLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 29 of 641906Mr M P Galloway's property and properties in TimberbushLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 30 of 641906South Leith Parish Church HallsLeith EdinburghScotlandAdditions and alterations
Item 31 of 641907Swanfield Roller Flour MillsBonnington EdinburghScotland 
Item 32 of 641908Bonnyrigg Public LibraryBonnyrigg MidlothianScotlandCompetition design (unsuccessful)
Item 33 of 641909House in Barnton Avenue  EdinburghScotland 
Item 34 of 64After 1911Laurie Street CinemaLeith EdinburghScotlandUnclear at what stage he was involved
Item 35 of 64c. 1911Leith Hospital, King Edward VII MemorialLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 36 of 641913Alhambra Theatre of VarietiesLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 37 of 64Before 1914Balfour Place SchoolLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 38 of 64Before 1914Hermitage Park SchoolLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 39 of 64Before 1914Holy Cross AcademyLeith EdinburghScotlandAddition
Item 40 of 64c. 1915Buildings at Port EdgarSouth Queensferry West LothianScotland 
Item 41 of 64Before 1918City PoorhouseCraiglockhart EdinburghScotlandUpgrading of buildings
Item 42 of 64Before 1918St Cuthbert's Parish Council Offices  EdinburghScotlandInternal upgrading
Item 43 of 641920Leith Docks, West Old DockLeith EdinburghScotlandNew office accomodation, demolition of old cooperage and erection of new cooperage
Item 44 of 641921Premises of Messrs J & A WylieLeith EdinburghScotlandRestoration of buildings after fire
Item 45 of 641923House and garageLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 46 of 641923North of Scotland BankLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 47 of 641923North of Scotland Bank  EdinburghScotlandProbably alterations
Item 48 of 641925Shops and Houses Boswall Drive  EdinburghScotland 
Item 49 of 641926A & R Tod's MillsLeith EdinburghScotlandAdditions and alterations, new silos and bridge
Item 50 of 641926Leith HospitalLeith EdinburghScotlandAlterations; new nurses' home; new outpatients' department; new casualty department
Item 51 of 641926St Mary's RC Primary SchoolLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 52 of 64After 1926Dalmahoy Golf ClubhouseDalmahoy MidlothianScotlandReconstruction and extensions
Item 53 of 64After 1926Links Primary SchoolLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 54 of 64After 1926(?)St Cuthbert's PoorhouseCraigleith EdinburghScotlandReconditioning of original buildings
Item 55 of 64c. 1926(?)Capitol CinemaLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 56 of 641927Gogarburn Home for Mental Defectives  MidlothianScotlandCompetition design - not successful
Item 57 of 641929Wardie SchoolTrinity EdinburghScotland 
Item 58 of 64c. 1929Lochend Road SchoolLeith EdinburghScotlandAdditions
Item 59 of 641930St Ninian's RC SchoolRestalrig EdinburghScotlandWorking for the Edinburgh Education Authority
Item 60 of 641931Property of R G Ritchie  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 61 of 641933Ainslie Park High SchoolPilton EdinburghScotlandDied September 1934
Item 62 of 641933Wilson Memorial Church and HallsPortobello EdinburghScotland 
Item 63 of 641934Blackhall UF Church and hallBlackhall EdinburghScotland 
Item 64 of 64Late 1930sSouth House Primary School  EdinburghScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 4Bailey, Rebecca M1996Scottish architects' papers: a source book Edinburgh: The Rutland Press 
Item 2 of 4British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 3 of 4Johnston, James S1979J & F Johnston & Partners: a brief history of the firm   
Item 4 of 4Post Office Directories     

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder13 October 1934  Obituary
Item 2 of 4RIAS Quarterly193447Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)Obituary
Item 3 of 4RIBA Journal13 October 1934v41London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp1069 - obituary
Item 4 of 4Scotsman3 September 1934  Obituary

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 L v18 no1372; F no2400 (box 6)