Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Gillespie
Designation: Architect
Born: c. 1898
Died: 25 March 1957
Bio Notes: John Gillespie was born c.1898 in Dumfriesshire and educated at Pollokshields Public School and at that time won a prize in a national handwriting competition. He was awarded a bursary to the Albert Road Academy in Glasgow and in his final year there won the dux prize. About that time he had a serious cycling accident but recovered sufficiently to enter the office of Peter McGregor Chalmers.

In 1915 he attempted to enlist in the Army but was refused on account of the injuries he had sustained in a cycling accident. However two years later he was accepted into the Royal Scots, serving as a private, later moving to the ASC (Motor Transport) as a driver and NCO. He also served in the Ministry of National Service (Recruiting) and in the Imperial War Graves Commission in France.

After the war he resumed his architectural studies and gained practical experience in offices in Lanarkshire and Glasgow whilst attending classes at the Royal Technical College and Glasgow School of Art. He served as president of the Glasgow School of Architecture Club in 1924-25. In 1927 he was admitted LRIBA.

He entered the service of Greenock Corporation in 1928 and in 1937 became chief assistant to the Director of Housing and subsequently Principal Architectural Assistant, a position he held until his death. He also taught building construction for the Lanarkshire Education Authority in the last ten years of his career. He was responsible for the design of many buildings in Greenock, including the first women's hostel at Westburn Square and the South-West Library, and major housing developments at Gibbshill, South Maukinhill, Auchmead and Braeside.

Gillespie had a wide knowledge of Scottish history and his services as a lecturer were in much demand. He also contributed verse to various periodicals, including the poetry magazine, 'Country Bard' of America, and his booklet 'The Heatherland,' was sold in aid of the Greenock Spitfire Fund during the Second World War. In his spare time he was a motor boat enthusiast, his summers being spent on the 'The Gypsy Moon' out of the old East India Harbour on the Clyde. He also travelled and sketched abroad in France, Belgium and Holland and was made a member of the American Geographical Society of New York.

Gillespie was a Fellow of the RIAS, of the Society of Antiquaries in Scotland and of the Royal Society of Arts. He died on 25 March 1957, aged 59.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 3Greenock, Renfrewshire, ScotlandBusiness   
Item 2 of 356, Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1950 *  
Item 3 of 383, West Blackhall Street, Greenock, Renfrewshire, ScotlandBusiness1953 *  

* 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 2Peter Macgregor Chalmers  Apprentice 
Item 2 of 2Greenock Corporation19281957AssistantLater Principal Architectural Assistant

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 6After 1928Auchmead Housing EstateGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 2 of 6After 1928Braesyde Housing EstateGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 3 of 6After 1928Gibbshill Housing EstateGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 4 of 6After 1928South Maukinhill Housing EstateGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 5 of 6After 1928Women's hostelGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 6 of 61932South-west libraryGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 1RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Border MagazineFebruary 1937   
Item 2 of 2RIBA JournalNovember 1957 London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp32