Basic Biographical Details

Name: Laird & Napier
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: c. 1925
Ended: After 1939
Bio Notes: The partnership of J W & J Laird was dissolved in 1925 when John left to form a partnership with his son, George. Shortly thereafter James William Laird took James Napier from Burnet Son & Dick's office into partnership as J W Laird & Napier.

John William Laird was born at 137 Greenhead Street, Glasgow, on 30 March 1880, the son of George Laird, upholsterer, joiner and cabinetmaker, and his wife, Margaret Donald. Laird studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1897 until 1901 but it is not yet known to which practice he was articled. He commenced independent practice at 93 Hope Street at the early age of twenty in 1900 or 1901, but by 1903 or 1904 he had taken his much older brother, born 1868 into partnership as J W & J Laird. This continued until 1925 when the partnership was dissolved.

James Napier was born on 4 July 1889, the son of Alexander Napier, joiner and Annie McIntyre and appears to have been brought up in Port of Menteith, Perthshire. He was articled to John Fairweather from 5 December 1905 until 1910, during which period he was a student at the Glasgow School of Architecture from 1907 to 1912: as an exceptionally able student he was appointed assistant to Professor Charles Gourlay fro the session 1909-1910.

In 1912 Napier left Fairweather's office to join John James Burnet's Glasgow office. He was called up for war service and was admitted ARIBA under the special war exemption scheme on 16 December 1918, his proposers being Fairweather, John Watson & Burnet.

Napier returned to Burnet's Glasgow office after the war but his relationship with Norman Aitken Dick was difficult in 1925-26. Napier was one of the draughtsmen engaged on Glasgow University Chapel, working closely with Burnet and James Taylor Thomson who had been brought in to supervise the project, but Dick lost patience with the time it was taking to draw out the fleche and Napier left to join James W Laird who took him into partnership.

Napier was an excellent architect of the Burnet school. He died of lung cancer at Hairmyres Hospital on 6 November 1946, survived by his wife Margaret McIntosh Maclaren. Laird had died earlier of bronchial pneumonia at 1554 Barrhead Road Glasgow on 23 December 1939.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1219, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness19241940 

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 8James Taylor Gray19241929Assistant 
Item 2 of 8James William Lairdc. 1926(?) Partner 
Item 3 of 8James Napierc. 1926After 1939Partner 
Item 4 of 8Alexander Adair GowansOctober 19281933Apprentice 
Item 5 of 8Margaret (Margot) Florence MuirheadMid 1932Mid 1932ApprenticeFor summer term only
Item 6 of 8Margaret (Margot) Florence MuirheadMid 1933Mid 1933ApprenticeFor summer term only
Item 7 of 8William Logan junior19361937Assistant 
Item 8 of 8John Peter CoiaJuly 1939December 1939Assistant(?) 

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 101927Legal and General Assurance office  GlasgowScotlandWon competition and secured job
Item 2 of 101930Ladykin SchoolGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 3 of 101931Proposed churchMelville Grange EdinburghScotland 
Item 4 of 101931Scottish Ideal Home ExhibitionKelvin Hall GlasgowScotlandWon competition, All Scottish House competition
Item 5 of 101933MoorhouseStrathblane StirlingshireScotland 
Item 6 of 101935Buchanan Arms HotelDrymen StirlingshireScotland 
Item 7 of 101936Norwood Cinema  GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 101938Bay HotelGourock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 9 of 101938Yorkshire Insurance Company offices, St Vincent Street  GlasgowScotlandDrew up plans
Item 10 of 101939Offices and teahouseMonkton AyrshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 1Walker, Frank Arneil1986South Clyde Estuary: An Illustrated Architectural Guide to Inverclyde and Renfrew  p139