Basic Biographical Details

Name: James Brown Nicol
Born: 1867
Died: 25 January 1953
Bio Notes: James Brown Nicol was born in Dumbarton on 27 February 1867. He attended Aberdeen Grammar School from 1882 to 1887 and was articled to Alexander Marshall Mackenzie from 1883 to 1888, where he worked under the supervision of the ablest of Makenzie's assistants, Alexander Mackintosh. There he met William Kelly, Henry Hardy Wigglesworth and James Carmichael ('a promising architect who died young'). In 1889 after a further year in Mackenzie's office he moved to Edinburgh to gain wider experience first with James Bow Dunn in 1889-90 and then with Sydney Mitchell & Wilson as chief assistant from 1890 until 1891 when he returned to Aberdeen as Kelly's assistant. Kelly took him into partnership eleven years later.

Nicol published 'Domestic Architecture in Scotland', a survey of contemporary work, in 1908, and at some point he made a study tour to Italy. He was an early contributor to the transactions of the Aberdeen Ecclesiological Society, having been enthused by the Rev Dr Cooper, proponent of that society and furthered the interests of his fellow-architects as President of the Aberdeen Society of Architects from 1925 to 1926 and as a member of the RIAS Council. For many years as Governor of Gordon's College he was Chairman of the Arts & Crafts Committee which controlled the School of Architecture and was largely responsible for building its reputation. He was also an elder of the South Church in Aberdeen.

Kelly retired from the partnership in 1928, Nicol continuing to practise, possibly in some kind of informal partnership with Robert Leslie Rollo with whom he shared offices in about 1939, until his own retirement in May 1952. The major work of this later stage in his career was the new Royal Infirmary at Forresterhill, a rugged granite-built complex on rising ground overlooking the sea.

Nicol was killed in an accident on the Aberdeen-Ellon road on 25 January the following year. He was married three times; first to William Kelly's sister Margaret and after her premature death in 1913, he re-married twice. He was survived by his third wife, three sons and two daughters.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 5123, Cranford Road, Aberdeen, ScotlandPrivate 1953 
Item 2 of 524, Loanhead Terrace, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusiness18821887 
Item 3 of 574, Forest Road, Aberdeen, ScotlandPrivate1927 *  
Item 4 of 5367, Union Street, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1927After 1935 
Item 5 of 5146, Union Street, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusinessc. 1939 *  

* 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 6Matthews & Mackenzie18831888Apprentice 
Item 2 of 6Matthews & Mackenzie18881889Assistant 
Item 3 of 6James Bow Dunn18891890Assistant 
Item 4 of 6Sydney Mitchell & Wilson18901891Senior Assistant 
Item 5 of 6William Kelly18911902Senior Assistant 
Item 6 of 6Kelly & Nicol19021952Partner 

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 15John A I Bremner 1938Assistant 
Item 2 of 15William Dalton Ironside19261929Apprentice 
Item 3 of 15Eric Melvin Galloway1929June 1932Apprentice 
Item 4 of 15Douglas William Innes19291933Assistant 
Item 5 of 15Robert Smart BrownJuly 1929(?) Assistant(?) 
Item 6 of 15Charles Alexander Rose1930(?) Assistant(?)Presumed to be working for Nicol at this time as Rose's nomination papers give a business address identical to Nicol's
Item 7 of 15Norman Stephen1930(?) Assistant(?)Presumed to be working for Nicol at this time as Stephen's nomination papers give a business address identical to Nicol's
Item 8 of 15William Robert Hector Taylor1930 Assistant 
Item 9 of 15Gordon Stansfield EsslemontJune 1932September 1934Assistant 
Item 10 of 15Eric Melvin GallowayJune 1932July 1935Assistant 
Item 11 of 15Robert ThomsonJuly 1932Before 1935Apprentice 
Item 12 of 15Stewart KilgourJuly 1933After 1934Assistant 
Item 13 of 15Robert Thomson1935 * Assistant 
Item 14 of 15George CruickshankJune 19351938Apprentice 
Item 15 of 15William Affleck DalgleishJuly 1939 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 3William Edgar Gauld5 July 1924for Fellowship
Item 2 of 3George Watt5 July 1924for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3Robert Gordon Wilson (junior)5 July 1924for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 63Alfred Easton Allan9 May 1938for Associateship
Item 2 of 63Joseph Anderson Allan16 October 1945for Fellowship
Item 3 of 63George Johnstone Anderson10 February 1942for Associateship
Item 4 of 63Alexander BlackEarly 1931for Licentiateship
Item 5 of 63Robert Muil Bremner1932for Associateship
Item 6 of 63Robert Smart BrownLate 1929for Associateship
Item 7 of 63John Ross Cheyne6 December 1937for Associateship
Item 8 of 63Alexander James CruickshankLate 1929 or early 1930for Associateship
Item 9 of 63George Cruickshank19 May 1942For Associateship
Item 10 of 63James Crane Cruickshank10 October 1930for Licentiateship
Item 11 of 63Gordon David Diack9 May 1938for Associateship
Item 12 of 63John Hutcheon Donald12 November 1940for Associateship
Item 13 of 63Percival Howard DouglasLate 1929 or early 1930for Associateship
Item 14 of 63John Sim DowJanuary 1930for Associateship
Item 15 of 63Francis Durward5 December 1927For Associateship
Item 16 of 63Charles Ritchie Emslie9 May 1938For Associateship
Item 17 of 63Gordon Stansfield Esslemont12 December 1944For Associateship
Item 18 of 63George Flett24 June 1935for Associateship
Item 19 of 63Alastair Stewart Foster19 July 1937for Associateship
Item 20 of 63Donald Alexander FowlerLate 1928 or early 1929for Associateship
Item 21 of 63Roderick Donald FraserLate 1928for Associateship
Item 22 of 63David Wishart GallowayLate 1928 or early 1929for Fellowship
Item 23 of 63Eric Melvin Galloway10 February 1936for Associateship
Item 24 of 63Alexander William GrahamLate 1931 or early 1932for Licentiateship
Item 25 of 63David Polson HallLate 1932for Associateship
Item 26 of 63Haydn Albert Edward Halstead5 February 1934for Associateship
Item 27 of 63Ivor Llewellyn Bowman Hopkins21 October 1941for Associateship
Item 28 of 63Douglas William InnesLate 1930 or early 1931for Associateship
Item 29 of 63William Dalton IronsideLate 1930for Associateship
Item 30 of 63Alexander Murdoch (or Murdock) Irvine5 February 1934for Associateship
Item 31 of 63Ruth Knox JacksonLate 1928for Associateship
Item 32 of 63Stewart Kilgour5 March 1934for Associateship
Item 33 of 63George Sutherland MacdonaldLate 1929 or early 1930for Associateship
Item 34 of 63Arthur Hay Livingstone MackinnonEarly 1932for Fellowship
Item 35 of 63(Captain) Gordon Nasmyth Mackintosh5 December 1927For Associateship
Item 36 of 63John Edward Martin19 June 1939for Associateship
Item 37 of 63Chessor Lille Matthew11 May 1936for Associateship
Item 38 of 63Edward Mackie McIntyre1 May 1940For Associateship
Item 39 of 63Ian Hastings McLarenEarly 1930for Associateship
Item 40 of 63Kenneth Bradley Miller6 December 1937for Associateship
Item 41 of 63George Angus MitchellLate 1930for Fellowship
Item 42 of 63George Bennett MitchellEarly 1931for Licentiateship
Item 43 of 63Robert James MorrisonLate 1929for Associateship
Item 44 of 63Sidney Patrick Murray9 May 1938for Associateship
Item 45 of 63Alexander PhilipEarly 1932for Associateship
Item 46 of 63John Charles Richardson12 April 1937for Associateship
Item 47 of 63Charles Alexander RoseEarly 1931for Associateship
Item 48 of 63Henry Edwin Scott30 November 1936for Associateship
Item 49 of 63Edmond Patrick Sharkey20 June 1938for Associateship
Item 50 of 63William Wyllie Clark ShewanLate 1929 or early 1930for Associateship
Item 51 of 63William Wyllie Clark Shewan3 April 1951For Fellowship
Item 52 of 63Gordon Alexander Smart4 June 1940for Associateship
Item 53 of 63George Dudley Stalker3 December 1934for Associateship
Item 54 of 63Norman StephenLate 1930for Associateship
Item 55 of 63T Scott SutherlandMid 1930for Fellowship
Item 56 of 63William Robert Hector TaylorEarly 1931for Associateship
Item 57 of 63Robert ThomsonMid 1935for Associateship
Item 58 of 63William George WhyteEarly 1929for Associateship
Item 59 of 63Alexander Milne Wilson6 December 1937for Associateship
Item 60 of 63Frederick Wright12 December 1944for Associateship
Item 61 of 63John Phin Miller WrightEarly 1932for Associateship
Item 62 of 63[James] Fenton ('Tony') Wyness5 December 1927for Associateship
Item 63 of 63[James] Fenton ('Tony') Wyness12 February 1946for 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 67 Glenbuchat Lodge  AberdeenshireScotlandRestoration and enlargement at rear - date unknown
Item 2 of 671902Demonstration School  AberdeenScotland 
Item 3 of 671902Society of Friends Meeting House  AberdeenScotland 
Item 4 of 67After 1902Aberdeen Royal Infirmary  AberdeenScotlandExtension
Item 5 of 67After 1902Business premises  AberdeenScotland 
Item 6 of 67After 1902Jubilee HospitalHuntly AberdeenshireScotlandExtension
Item 7 of 67After 1902Moy HouseForres MorayshireScotlandAlterations and reconstruction
Item 8 of 67After 1902Music Hall  AberdeenScotlandLarge additions
Item 9 of 67After 1902Woodend HouseBanchory Ternan AberdeenshireScotlandAlterations and reconstruction
Item 10 of 671903Abernethy's Lodge  AberdeenScotland 
Item 11 of 671903Banff District Asylum, Troup/LadysbridgeBanff BanffshireScotlandSeparate villa for male patients (Mayfield Villa)
Item 12 of 671903Mackie AcademyStonehaven KincardineshireScotlandAddition of wings
Item 13 of 671903Property for W Smith  AberdeenScotland 
Item 14 of 67c. 1903Invery HouseStrachan AberdeenshireScotlandRestoration and alterations - including later addition of south range beyond the pavilion
Item 15 of 671905Langley, 25 Forest Road  AberdeenScotlandAdditions
Item 16 of 671905Tertowie HouseKinellar AberdeenshireScotlandWing added
Item 17 of 671905The GablesStonehaven KincardineshireScotland 
Item 18 of 67c. 190569 Don StreetOld Aberdeen AberdeenScotlandRestoration
Item 19 of 671906Aberdeen Savings Bank  AberdeenScotland 
Item 20 of 671906Fife Arms HotelBraemar AberdeenshireScotlandWest wing rebuilt
Item 21 of 671907Carron CottageStonehaven KincardineshireScotlandInterior work including mantelpiece
Item 22 of 671907Memorial to James FergusonRothiemay AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 23 of 671907St Mary's Parish ChurchEllon AberdeenshireScotlandAlterations, including panelled and stencilled timber ceiling and the dado.
Item 24 of 671907Tilquhillie Cottage   Scotland 
Item 25 of 67After 1907Union Street and King Street and Union Bridge  AberdeenScotlandRailings (or parapets)
Item 26 of 671909Tudor LodgeStonehaven KincardineshireScotlandConflict of information. Stonehaven Journal gives Coutts as architect. Kelly information from owner in 1960s.
Item 27 of 671910Culter HousePeterculter AberdeenshireScotlandRestoration of interiors
Item 28 of 671910Gordon SchoolsHuntly AberdeenshireScotlandAddition of Higher Grade School
Item 29 of 671912Huntly Public SchoolHuntly AberdeenshireScotlandSecondary department added
Item 30 of 671913Villa, 86 Queen's Road  AberdeenScotlandAlterations
Item 31 of 671914Harlaw MemorialHarlaw AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 32 of 67c. 1914Chapel of Garioch Parish ChurchChapel of Garioch AberdeenshireScotlandGallery level windows - probably by Kelly & Nicol
Item 33 of 67c. 1918Murtle HousePeterculter AberdeenshireScotlandAlterations
Item 34 of 671920Memorial to the Seventh GordonsBanchory KincardineshireScotland 
Item 35 of 67c. 1920Aberdeen Grammar School, War MemorialDenburn AberdeenScotland 
Item 36 of 67c. 1920Banff War MemorialBanff BanffshireScotland 
Item 37 of 67c. 1920Dyce War MemorialDyce AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 38 of 67c. 1920War MemorialBirse AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 39 of 671921Ardoe House  AberdeenshireScotlandPorch (attribution)
Item 40 of 67After 1921Kinnaird Castle, with stables and lodgeBrechin AngusScotlandRestoration after fire, pavilion roofs removed and interior left incomplete
Item 41 of 671922King's College Chapel, University War Memorial  AberdeenScotland 
Item 42 of 671922St Clement's Episcopal Church  AberdeenScotland'only a small part of the design built'
Item 43 of 671923Raemoir House  AberdeenshireScotlandRestoration
Item 44 of 671923St James Episcopal Church  AberdeenScotlandAltar and war memorial reredos
Item 45 of 671923War MemorialBanchory KincardineshireScotland 
Item 46 of 671923 or 1926Keith Cottage HospitalKeith BanffshireScotlandFurther additions (Buildings of Scotland gives 1923- Richardson 1926)
Item 47 of 671924Dunecht House (including chapel)Echt AberdeenshireScotlandSome internal remodelling and redecoration of chapel; western gates (some undertaken by Kelly in private capacity after his retirement), Main Gates in Dunecht Village
Item 48 of 671925Dunecht, Estate Offices and HallEcht AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 49 of 671925Dunnottar Castle  KincardineshireScotlandConsolidation and partial re-roofing
Item 50 of 671927Aberdeen Royal InfirmaryForesterhill AberdeenScotland 
Item 51 of 671927College of Nursing Club and house at no 1 Fonthill Road  AberdeenScotlandAdditions to Club
Item 52 of 671927East Lochside SteadingSkene AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 53 of 671927Raemoir House  AberdeenshireScotlandGabled east wing and interior woodwork
Item 54 of 67After 1927Echt Churchyard, Monument to Viscount CowdrayEcht AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 55 of 67Before 1927Hospital for Sick Children  AberdeenScotland 
Item 56 of 67c. 1927Turin HouseRescobie AngusScotlandRebuilding on higher site
Item 57 of 67After 1928Castle Fraser  AberdeenshireScotlandRestoration work - left unfinished
Item 58 of 671930sGrand Hotel  AberdeenScotlandAdditions?
Item 59 of 671930sSavings BankHolburn AberdeenScotland 
Item 60 of 671930King's College Chapel  AberdeenScotlandRestoration of east window, new butresses, stalls, desks, restoration of NE window at apse. Medieval pulpit partly reconstructed.
Item 61 of 671930University of Aberdeen Union  AberdeenScotland 
Item 62 of 67c. 1930Aberdeen Lunatic Asylum  AberdeenScotlandExtensions
Item 63 of 671932Savings Bank  AberdeenScotland 
Item 64 of 671934Aberdeen Maternity Hospital  AberdeenScotland 
Item 65 of 671936University of Aberdeen Students' Union  AberdeenScotland 
Item 66 of 67193823 Don Street  AberdeenScotlandRestoration
Item 67 of 67Before 1938Aberdeen Royal Infirmary  AberdeenScotlandAlterations and additions


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 2RIBA1930The RIBA Kalendar 1930-1931 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 2 of 2RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Aberdeen Evening Express26 January 1953  Obituary
Item 2 of 4Aberdeen Grammar School MagazineJuly 1953Volume LVI, No 2 p115 - obituary
Item 3 of 4Aberdeen Press and Journal27 January 1953  Obituary
Item 4 of 4RIAS QuarterlyMay 1953SummerRoyal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)Obituary by A G R Mackenzie, pp 48-49

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Robert Gordon's University ArchiveCollection of plans, manuscripts etc 90 sketches and drawings from c.1884-1900, large photo album dated 1888 and about 60 loose photos, schedule of quantities and specifications for work done by W & J Smith & Kelly 1892-5.