Basic Biographical Details

Name: Barclay & Watt
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: c. 1854
Ended: Mid 1860s(?)
Bio Notes: Hugh Barclay was born on 8 February 1829, the son of Hugh Barclay, sculptor and his wife Margaret Buchanan. He was articled to William Spence c.1845 and around 1854 he and another apprentice at Spence's, Alexander Watt, formed the partnership of Barclay & Watt. They established a reputation very early, first with the remarkable triple-arched cast-iron fašade at 60-66 Jamaica Street in 1856-57 which took Baird and Spence's early experiments with cast-iron facades into a more three-dimensional form, and then with the refined and original classicism of the Ewing Place Church in Waterloo Street and the Corinthian Corn Exchange reconstruction on Hope Street, both in 1858. In or about 1857 James Sellars joined the practice as an apprentice, followed on 1 January 1861 by Hugh's much younger brother David, born 1846; both became members of Alexander Thomson's circle, David writing a memoir of him in 1904. The connection with Thomson was clearly a close one: David Barclay was married to Jane Ewing Walker, daughter of John E Walker, stabler and cab-hirer and Alexander Thomson's most important client. During his apprenticeship David started drawing under the painter A D Robertson and at the end of it undertook the continental study tour which was the foundation of his French and German influenced neo classicism.

The early success of the Brown & Watt practice was not sustained. In the mid-1860s it appears to have been seriously short of commissions. James Sellars left for James Hamilton's, although at least for a time some sort of working relationship remained; and at or about the same date Alexander Watt left to re-commence practice on his own account, first of all at 67 Renfield Street and from c.1884 at 131 West Regent Street.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 2136, Buchanan Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18561860 
Item 2 of 2101, West Nile Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessAfter 1860  

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 4Hugh Barclayc. 1854Mid 1860sPartner 
Item 2 of 4Alexander Wattc. 1854Mid 1860sPartner 
Item 3 of 4James Sellars18571864Apprentice 
Item 4 of 4David Barclay1 January 1861 Apprentice 

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice 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 51855Old Balgray Road development  GlasgowScotland 
Item 2 of 51857Colliseum  GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 51858Commercial Bank of Scotland, KilwinningKilwinning AyrshireScotland 
Item 4 of 51858Corn Exchange  GlasgowScotlandReconstruction
Item 5 of 51858Ewing Place Church  GlasgowScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 1Post Office Directories