Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Thomas Rochead
Designation: Architect
Born: 28 March 1814
Died: 7 April 1878
Bio Notes: John Thomas Rochead was born in Edinburgh on 28 March 1814, the son of John Rochead (or Rocheid) and his wife Catherine Gibb. He was educated at George Heriot's and apprenticed to David Bryce in or about 1831, probably initially at least at Bryce's own practice in Castle Street. In 1834 he sought admission to the Trustees' Academy with a testimonial from Bryce stating that he had been three years an apprentice and was admitted in June 1835. He is said to have been with Bryce seven years, and c.1837-38 he spent two years with William Hurst and William Lambie Moffatt in Doncaster - Moffatt having been a colleague of Bryce's in Burn's office - before moving to Glasgow where he was engaged as a draughtsman by David & James Hamilton. There he worked on the drawings for the Western Club, leaving in January or February 1839 to design saloons and cabins for steamships, work which was to bring major commissions from the shipbuilders in Dumbarton later. In 1840 he won the commission for the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Belfast. This was not built but it seems to have attracted the attention of potential clients as he was able to set up practice on his own account at 23 St Enoch Square, Glasgow in 1841, securing the commission for the reconstruction of the 1775 house at Minard, Argyll as a giant neo Tudor pile in the following year; this enabled him to marry Catherine Jane Calder at Gorbals on 23 May 1843.

Although Rochead also secured commissions for several disruption churches, he may have suffered some temporary setback in his practice as he applied for the senior clerkship in the Edinburgh Office of Works after Nixon died in 1848. In 1849 he collaborated with James Brown of Brown & Carrick on the Great Western Road terraces, which Rochead completed as Brown gradually withdrew from practice to focus on his civic duties. Two years later, in 1851, Rochead secured the commission for another major neo Tudor house, Knock Castle, for the Greenock industrialist James Steele, followed by several more from the Denny shipbuilders; and in 1855 the commission for the City of Glasgow Bank buildings in Trongate, which were not only the largest block of business chambers in Glasgow at that time, but, in parallel with Robert William Billings, introduced the Scots baronial idiom to commercial architecture.

Rochead was successful in a number of competitions. In 1849 he won that for The Royal Arch, Dundee; and in 1857 third premium of 300 for his Louvre-inspired design for the London War Office; in the following year that for St Mary's Free Church in Edinburgh; and in 1859 that for the Wallace Monument at Stirling. These were not without controversy: at St Mary's Rochead appears to have aggrandised his design with a manse, although it had not been specified in the brief; and at Stirling Rochead's design was coloured contrary to the conditions and exceeded the cost limit by 5,000. While Thomas Gildard put his involvement as tactfully as possible he suffered considerable embarrassment on 10 March 1860 when the Glasgow Architectural Society formally complained about the conduct of the Wallace Monument Competition. The contractor for the monument became insolvent during construction and Rochead never received his fees.

Rochead moved office to 201 West George Street in the early 1860s and to 150 Hope Street in 1866 or early 1867. In his later years much of his business came from the wool and livestock magnates around Hawick. His work there is predominantly baronial or Gothic, some of it with very unconventional detailing, but he was at his best as a High Renaissance architect of the Charles Barry school and his finest works were his last, the Bank of Scotland and North Park House, both in Glasgow. During the course of their building in 1869-71 he suffered a severe nervous disorder and he had to hand his practice over to John Honeyman; the completion of the Bank was undertaken by David Bryce, then building the Bank of Scotland's head office.

Rochead retired first to Innellan where he added a spire to the West Free Church as a thank-offering for what at the time seemed a fairly complete recovery. A year later the Rocheads moved to Edinburgh where he built a pair of semi detached houses in Morningside Place, one of which, Wellbridge at number 19, was for their own occupation. There is no record of him having any significant Edinburgh practice.

Rochead's circle of friends tended to be literary rather than architectural, but among them was his former colleague in Hamilton's office, Thomas Gildard, who described him as having 'indomitable energy: in the more picturesque styles he had a most fertile fancy, and if not much of a colourist he was a splendid draughtsman'.

Rochead died suddenly of angina at Morningside on 7 April 1878, leaving the then substantial sum of 7,897 17s 5d plus 326 1s 4d, and was buried at Grange Cemetery. He was survived by his wife and his son Stuart, who was living at 4 George Street, Manchester at the time of his father's death. Rochead's widow lived on until 18 October 1896, continuing to press the custodian for his fees for the Wallace Monument, but without success.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 823, St Enoch Square, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18411845 
Item 2 of 83, Windsor Place, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1851 *  
Item 3 of 83, Wellington Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness18541856 
Item 4 of 8150, Hope Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1865 or 1866c. 1868 
Item 5 of 8201, West George Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate/businessEarly 1860s1862Listed as both office and residence in 1862 PO Directory
Item 6 of 861, West Regent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness18701871i.e.John Honeyman's office as successor to his practice.
Item 7 of 8Innellan, Argyll, ScotlandPrivatec. 1870c. 1871 
Item 8 of 8Wellbridge/19, Morningside Place, Morningside, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivatec. 1871April 1878 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 4David Brycec. 1831c. 1837Apprentice 
Item 2 of 4William Hurstc. 18371838Assistant 
Item 3 of 4Hurst & Moffatt18381838 or early 1839Assistant 
Item 4 of 4D & J Hamilton1838 or early 18391839Draughtsman 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2Campbell Douglas18431847Apprentice 
Item 2 of 2John Hutchisonc. 1856(?)c. 1861(?)Apprentice 

Buildings and Designs

This architect 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 90 Stirling Cemetery, Virgin Martyrs MonumentStirling StirlingshireScotlandDate unknown
Item 2 of 901839Western Club  GlasgowScotlandAssisted D & J Hamilton with original building
Item 3 of 901840Roman Catholic Cathedral  BelfastNorthern IrelandCompetition design - placed first but not executed
Item 4 of 901842Adelphi Theatre  GlasgowScotland 
Item 5 of 901842Minard CastleMinard ArgyllScotlandRebuilding as neo Tudor mansion incorporating original house
Item 6 of 901843Free St George's Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 7 of 901844Free High Church and Free Church College  EdinburghScotlandTwo competition designs: 'early decorative' and 'collegiate'
Item 8 of 901844St Andrew's Free Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 9 of 901845Free ChurchRenton DunbartonshireScotlandAttribution by 'Buildings of Scotland'
Item 10 of 901845St Andrew's Free ChurchKilmun ArgyllScotlandNew roof and alterations
Item 11 of 901845St John's Free Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 901847Bazaar and market, Wemyss Place  EdinburghScotlandAlterted as St Stephen's Free Church
Item 13 of 901847Glasgow Necropolis, Reverend Thomas Brown MonumentDennistoun GlasgowScotland 
Item 14 of 901848Glasgow Necropolis, William Dunn of Duntochter MonumentDennistoun GlasgowScotland 
Item 15 of 901849Kew Terrace, Great Western Road  GlasgowScotlandIn collaboration with James Brown, who was then giving up practice
Item 16 of 901849Premises for the Buchanan Society, 97-101 Trongate  GlasgowScotland 
Item 17 of 901849Royal Arch, Dundee Docks  DundeeScotlandWon competition to secure job
Item 18 of 901849Temporary Arch at Jamaica Bridge for Queen Victoria's Visit  GlasgowScotland 
Item 19 of 901850Murdoch's Charity School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 20 of 901850Offices, 57-61 St Vincent Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 21 of 901850Proposed Fine Art Institute  GlasgowScotland 
Item 22 of 901850WoodlandsMilngavie StirlingshireScotland 
Item 23 of 90c. 1850Blair Vaddoch HouseShandon DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 24 of 901851Fern CliffWemyss Bay RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 25 of 901851Glasgow Necropolis, James Davidson of Ruchill MonumentDennistoun GlasgowScotland 
Item 26 of 901851Knock CastleLargs AyrshireScotlandOriginal house and garden pavilion block. Also walled garden
Item 27 of 901851West Shandon House  DunbartonshireScotlandOriginal house
Item 28 of 90c. 1851House for A F Mc(?) HaggartBridge of Allan StirlingshireScotlandPorbably by Haggart
Item 29 of 90c. 1851Marchieston HouseJohnstone RenfrewshireScotlandProbably by Rochead
Item 30 of 90c. 1851Shop for RiskDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 31 of 901852Buckingham Terrace  GlasgowScotlandEast section
Item 32 of 901852HelensleeDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandOriginal plans
Item 33 of 901853DennystownDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 34 of 901853Knock Castle (Old)Largs AyrshireScotlandRepairs and additions
Item 35 of 901853Langlands CottageGovan GlasgowScotland 
Item 36 of 901853Levenford HouseDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 37 of 901853Strath CottageDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 38 of 901853Unitarian Church  GlasgowScotlandWon competition and secured job
Item 39 of 901853Villa for Miss RankinDumbarton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 40 of 901854City of Glasgow Bank Buildings, Trongate and Nelson Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 41 of 901854Glasgow Sailors' HomeBroomielaw GlasgowScotlandCompleted for Brown & Carrick
Item 42 of 901855Grosvenor Terrace  GlasgowScotland 
Item 43 of 901855HelensleeDumbarton DunbartonshireScotlandConstruction--original plans simplified in execution
Item 44 of 90c. 1855Glasgow Necropolis, Monument to Hugh Cogan (died 1855)  GlasgowScotland 
Item 45 of 90c. 1855Swanstonhill ButeButeScotlandOriginal house
Item 46 of 901856Belvoir Park and Eaton Park Villa Layout     
Item 47 of 901856City of Glasgow BankGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 48 of 901856Established Church, Sandyford Toll  GlasgowScotlandAlterations, completed by Honeyman
Item 49 of 901856Feuing of the Queenstown EstateKelvinside GlasgowScotlandEntered limited competition but Salmon design selected in 1858. Did design Kew and Grosvenor Terraces.
Item 50 of 901856Park Parish Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 51 of 901856War OfficeWhitehall LondonEnglandCompetition design--won 300 premium
Item 52 of 90c. 1856Free Church College  GlasgowScotlandCompetition design
Item 53 of 901858Buchanan Street Railway Station  GlasgowScotlandCompetition design - placed first (pseudonym 'Caledonia Romana')
Item 54 of 901858Buckingham Terrace  GlasgowScotlandWest section
Item 55 of 901858Church of the Holy RudeStirling StirlingshireScotlandRepairs and alterations to west church
Item 56 of 901858Duncan Ban McIntyre MonumentDalmally ArgyllScotland 
Item 57 of 901858John Street UP Church  GlasgowScotland 
Item 58 of 901858St Mary's Free Church and Manse  EdinburghScotlandWon competition, then was dismissed, but church and manse were built to his design
Item 59 of 901859Manchester Assize Courts  ManchesterEnglandCompetition design - unplaced
Item 60 of 901859Wallace MonumentAbbey Craig StirlingshireScotlandWon in competition
Item 61 of 901860sUniversity of Glasgow, main quadranglesGilmorehill GlasgowScotlandUnexecuted design: circumstances in which it was produced unknown, perhaps in protest at exclusion of Scottish architects from the project
Item 62 of 901860Racquet Clubhouse and Court  GlasgowScotland 
Item 63 of 901860Villa for Mr Haskill   Scotland 
Item 64 of 901860 or 1862Wilton Parish ChurchHawick RoxburghshireScotlandUnsuccessful competition design
Item 65 of 901861Renfrew Parish ChurchRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 66 of 901862Two Unidendified Villas     
Item 67 of 901862 or 1864Scottish National Albert Memorial  EdinburghScotlandCompetition design
Item 68 of 901863Hillhead HouseHawick RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 69 of 901863Langlands ParkHawick RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 70 of 90c. 1863Sillerbut Hall lodgeHawick RoxburghshireScotlandThe main house to which this belonged was designed by Rochead and the lodge is likely to be also his design.
Item 71 of 901865Hawick Corn ExchangeHawick RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 72 of 901865HeronhillHawick RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 73 of 901866Innellan Parish ChurchInnellan/Inellan ArgyllScotlandAddition of porch
Item 74 of 901866Sillerbut HallHawick RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 75 of 901866Speirs SchoolBeith AyrshireScotlandFrench middle pointed design--not built
Item 76 of 901867Bank of Scotland, St Vincent Place and George Square  GlasgowScotlandCompleted by David Bryce
Item 77 of 901867Design for a Villa for James Oliver-Fraser   Scotland 
Item 78 of 901868Church of the Holy RudeStirling StirlingshireScotlandFurther work, perhaps not done, taken over by James Collie in 1869
Item 79 of 901868Design for Church at Glasgow in mixed Moorish and Lombardic Styles  GlasgowScotland 
Item 80 of 901868Design for Church in Ballagh, County Fermanagh in Early Pointed StyleBallagh County FermanaghEire 
Item 81 of 901868ThornwoodHawick RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 82 of 901869Aberfoyle Parish ChurchAberfoyle PerthshireScotlandOriginal building - commenced commission, but retired in 1869, passing job to John Honeyman
Item 83 of 901869Aberfoyle SchoolAberfoyle PerthshireScotlandOriginal building - commenced commission, but retired in 1869, passing job to John Honeyman
Item 84 of 901869North Park HouseKelvinside GlasgowScotlandDesigned and started house; completed by Honeyman
Item 85 of 901870Free St Andrew's ChurchHawick RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 86 of 901870Glasgow Necropolis, Bell Mausoleum  GlasgowScotland 
Item 87 of 90c. 187013-15 Morningside PlaceMorningside EdinburghScotland 
Item 88 of 90c. 187017, 19 Morningside Place (Wellbridge)Morningside EdinburghScotlandNo 19 for himself
Item 89 of 901871West Free ChurchInnellan/Inellan ArgyllScotlandAddition of spire (now demolished)
Item 90 of 90c. 1872The Loaning  EdinburghScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 6APSD The Dictionary of Architectureed Wyatt PapworthThe Architectural Publication Society (8v 1852-1892) 
Item 2 of 6DNB Dictionary of National Biography   
Item 3 of 6Dodd, W J T Rochead Architect, 1814-78 University of Strathclyde Dissertation (unpublished) 
Item 4 of 6Gildard, Thomas1895An Old Glasgow Architect on some Older OnesXXVIProceedings of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow 
Item 5 of 6RCAHMS1992Dundee on Record RCAHMSView of Victoria Royal Arch (1963), p45
Item 6 of 6Walker, Frank Arneil1986South Clyde Estuary: An Illustrated Architectural Guide to Inverclyde and Renfrew  p96, p145

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Aberdeen Daily Journal1878  Obituary--date missing
Item 2 of 4Builder27 October 1961  'Architectural Historians' Conference: Papers Submitted to the Edinburgh Meeting' p787 - David Walker delivered a paper entitled 'Towards a New Style' at the SAH (UK) Conference in Edinburgh on 15-17 Sept 1961 in which he mentioned the work of Rochead
Item 3 of 4ScotsmanApril 1878  Obituary
Item 4 of 4Scottish FieldSeptember 1964   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Mitchell LibraryGildard's 'Some Old Glasgow Architects' supplementary manuscript  
Item 2 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Additional information on death, collaboration with Brown and Virgin Martyrs Monument from research by Iain Paterson