Basic Biographical Details

Name: George Mackie Watson
Born: 1860
Died: 7 May 1948
Bio Notes: George Mackie Watson was born in 1860, the fourth son of George Watson, cabinetmaker and house furnisher, and his wife Agnes Shaw. He was the younger brother of John Watson (born about 1855) and the older borther of Arthur John Paul WAtson (born 1869) and Robert James George Watson (born 1871). He was educated at George Watson's College. In 1876, perhaps through the influence of his brother who had been in the office since 1869, he was articled to Robert Rowand Anderson, and remained as an assistant working on the McEwan Hall and the National Museum of Antiquities and Portrait Gallery, being promoted to chief assistant in 1884. During his later years with Anderson he had a financial interest in the business and was given the freedom to carry out his own private work from the office. He left full-time employment in Anderson's office to become the first architectural teacher in Anderson's Edinburgh School of Applied Art in 1892, but his RIBA nomination paper shows that he must have continued to assist Anderson until he commenced practice on his own account in 1899 at 4 Hope Street. In 1902 he brought an action against Anderson regarding fees owed to him when he was an assistant with Anderson while at the same time undertaking his own private commissions.

Although George Mackie Watson was never in partnership with his brother there were close links between them in the later 1880s and 1890s as they competed jointly with McArthy for the SSC library and Midlothian County Buildings in Edinburgh, for Ayr Public Library and possibly others in which they were unplaced. He also entered into a short association with James MacLachlan in 1907 and together they drew up a competition design for the Peace Palace at The Hague.

Watson was admitted LRIBA in the mass intake of 20 July 1911, but differed from most of the others in having proposers of some standing in his brother John, Francis William Deas and Thomas Duncan Rhind. At that date he had travelled in Italy, France and Holland. His office was then at 50 Queen Street. He was elected FRIBA by the RIBA Council on 25 July 1928. He was made an honorary member of the Scottish Arts Club in 1944.

George Mackie Watson married Jean Steedman Mirylees. Their home address was 8 Scotland Street in 1911, but at the time of his death on 7 May 1948 he was living at 17 East Claremont Street. He left estate of 400 2s 5d. He was survived by his wife, who died in London in December the following year.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 417, East Claremont Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate 7 May 1948 
Item 2 of 44, Hope Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1889Before 1907 
Item 3 of 450, Queen Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1902After 1940 
Item 4 of 48, Scotland Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1911After 1928 

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 6(Sir) Robert Rowand Anderson18761880Apprentice 
Item 2 of 6(Sir) Robert Rowand Anderson18801881Assistant 
Item 3 of 6Anderson & Browne18811883Assistant 
Item 4 of 6Wardrop, Anderson & Browne18831884Assistant 
Item 5 of 6Wardrop, Anderson & Browne18841885Chief Assistant 
Item 6 of 6Wardrop & Anderson18851899Chief 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 2John Myrtle SmithAfter 1900Before 1906Assistant 
Item 2 of 2Robert Wemyss Ferguson9 October 19051910Apprentice 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 4Francis William Deas20 July 1911for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 4(Sir) Thomas Duncan Rhind20 July 1911for Licentiateship
Item 3 of 4RIBA Council25 July 1928for Fellowship
Item 4 of 4John Watson20 July 1911for Licentiateship

RIBA Proposals

This proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 1George Patrick Houston WatsonJanuary 1933for 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 501876Holy Trinity Episcopal ChurchStirling StirlingshireScotlandAs apprentice to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 2 of 501876University of Edinburgh, Medical School and McEwan Hall  EdinburghScotlandMedical School - as apprentice/assistant/chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 3 of 501877Central Station Hotel  GlasgowScotlandAs apprentice/assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 4 of 501879Mount StuartRothesay (near)ButeButeScotlandRebuilding - as apprentice/assistant/chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 5 of 501880Conservative Club  EdinburghScotlandNew building - as assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 6 of 501885Ballochmyle HouseMauchline AyrshireScotlandReconstruction and extension - as chief assistant to Wardrop, Anderson & Browne
Item 7 of 501885National Portrait Gallery and Museum of Antiquities  EdinburghScotlandAs chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 8 of 501885St James' Episcopal ChurchGoldenacre EdinburghScotlandAs chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 9 of 501887University of Edinburgh, Medical School and McEwan Hall  EdinburghScotlandMcEwan Hall - as chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 10 of 501888Library for Solicitors to the Supreme Courts of Scotland  EdinburghScotlandFirst premiated competition design (entered jointly with McArthy & Watson); James Bow Dunn received commission
Item 11 of 501889Dunblane CathedralDunblane PerthshireScotlandRestoration - as chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 12 of 501889St Margaret's RC Memorial ChurchDunfermline FifeScotlandAs chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 13 of 501890Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and hallDunfermline FifeScotlandAs chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 14 of 501890King's College Chapel  AberdeenScotlandRestoration - as chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 15 of 501890South Morningside Free ChurchMorningside EdinburghScotlandAs chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 16 of 501891Ayr Public LibraryAyr AyrshireScotlandCompetition design - placed third: apparently initially placed first. Design prepared jointly with McArthy & Watson
Item 17 of 501891(?)Baptist ChurchBunessanMullArgyllScotlandIn independent practice
Item 18 of 501891Ethie CastleForfar AngusScotlandRestoration and alterations - as chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 19 of 501891Fairhaven and KingcraigColinton EdinburghScotlandPerhaps as assistant in the office of Rowand Anderson - this is a HS attribution
Item 20 of 501891Ringlewood and LedgrianachColinton EdinburghScotlandAs assistant to Anderson - HS attribution
Item 21 of 501892Charleton HouseMontrose/Forfar AngusScotlandRebuilding - as chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 22 of 501893BardrochatColmonell AyrshireScotlandOriginal house
Item 23 of 501895Glencoe HouseGlencoe Inverness-shireScotlandAs chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 24 of 501896Bothwell Parish Church and Hamilton MonumentBothwell LanarkshireScotlandRestoration - as chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 25 of 501897Pollokshaws Burgh HallPollokshaws GlasgowScotlandAs chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 26 of 501898Kylnadrochit MansionTomintoul BanffshireScotland 
Item 27 of 501898Paisley AbbeyPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandReconstruction of transepts - as chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 28 of 501899Inchinnan Parish ChurchInchinnan RenfrewshireScotlandAs chief assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 29 of 501899Midlothian County Council Buildings  EdinburghScotlandPlaced third in competition (entered jointly with John Watson)
Item 30 of 50After 1899(?)Strachur Parish ChurchStrachur ArgyllScotlandUnspecified work
Item 31 of 501900Hailes Estate feuing plan  EdinburghScotlandDrawing is from 4 Hope Street at which address Watson was at this date
Item 32 of 501901Carnegie Free LibraryHawick RoxburghshireScotlandCompetition design - not successful
Item 33 of 501901Coldstream LodgeMerchiston EdinburghScotland 
Item 34 of 501901London Road Fire Station  ManchesterEnglandCompetition design - placed 2nd. He refers to the building as'chief fire station' but this is not used locally.
Item 35 of 501901St Serf's Church and hallGoldenacre EdinburghScotlandAppointed architect after competition - his alternative designs being placed 1st and 2nd. Also designed oak pulpit
Item 36 of 501902Carnegie Public Baths and gymnasiumDunfermline FifeScotlandUnsuccessful competition design published - design in conjunction with T Hyslop Ure
Item 37 of 501907The Peace Palace  The HagueNetherlandsCompetition design
Item 38 of 501908Stirling Municipal BuildingsStirling StirlingshireScotlandCompetition design - not successful
Item 39 of 50c. 1908Kirkwall CathedralKirkwallMainlandOrkneyScotlandWon competition for restoration and secured job - included new roof and furnishings
Item 40 of 501910St James ChurchPortobello EdinburghScotland 
Item 41 of 50After 1911(?)Ballimore, Otter FerryLoch Fyne ArgyllScotlandUnspecified work, in independent practice - possibly 1914 extension?
Item 42 of 50After 1911(?)Conchra HouseKyle of Lochalsh Ross and CromartyScotlandAlterations/additions?
Item 43 of 50Before 1911Castle LachlanBy Lodh Fyne ArgyllScotlandUnspecified work, in independent practice
Item 44 of 50Before 1911Falkirk Old Parish ChurchFalkirk StirlingshireScotlandAlterations - in independent practice
Item 45 of 50Before 1911Keavil HouseDunfermline FifeScotlandUnspecified work, in independent practice
Item 46 of 50Before 1911St Paul's Church of ScotlandGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandUnspecified work, in independent practice
Item 47 of 501912Eilean Donan CastleDornie Inverness-shireScotlandReconstruction
Item 48 of 501919Knockdow HouseToward ArgyllScotlandAlterations - new east wing and entrance
Item 49 of 50Before 1920(?)St Fillan's Episcopal ChurchKillin PerthshireScotlandAltar and reredos
Item 50 of 501938The Roan, cottage and garageMelrose RoxburghshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 4British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 4Who's Who in Architecture1914    
Item 3 of 4Who's Who in Architecture1923    
Item 4 of 4Who's Who in Architecture1926    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder4 June 1948v174 p681 - obituary
Item 2 of 4Scotsman2 August 1944  p3 - report of AGM of Scottish Arts Club
Item 3 of 4Scotsman25 May 1948  p3 - obituary
Item 4 of 4Scotsman7 December 1949  p10 - death notice of his wife, Jean Mirrylees

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Edinburgh Architectural Association LibrarySketch book (formerly in possession of Esme Gordon)  
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers L v21 no1659; F no2586 (box 6)