Basic Biographical Details

Name: James Napier
Designation: Architect
Born: 4 July 1889
Died: 6 November 1946
Bio Notes: 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 for the session 1909-1910.

In 1912 Napier joined 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 and 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.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 5339, Caledonia Road, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate19071908 
Item 2 of 5c/o Mackay/170, Woodlands Road, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate19081909 
Item 3 of 5Dykehead, Port of Menteith, Perthshire, ScotlandPrivate1918 *  
Item 4 of 5219, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1931After 1939Laird & Napier office
Item 5 of 5Gable End Cottage/The Cottage, Peel Road, Thorntonhall, Lanarkshire, ScotlandPrivate1939 *1946 

* 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 4John Fairweather5 December 19051910Apprentice(?) 
Item 2 of 4John Burnet & Son1912c. 1926AssistantWith the exception of war service
Item 3 of 4Laird & Napierc. 1926After 1939Partner 
Item 4 of 4(Sir) John James BurnetEarly 1920sc. 1925Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3(Sir) John James Burnet16 December 1918for Associateship
Item 2 of 3John Fairweather16 December 1918for Associateship
Item 3 of 3John Watson16 December 1918for Associateship

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 12c. 1923University of Glasgow, War Memorial Chapel and Arts BuildingGilmorehill GlasgowScotlandAs assistant to Burnet Son & Dick on detailing in chapel
Item 2 of 121927Legal and General Assurance office  GlasgowScotlandWon competition and secured job
Item 3 of 121930Carlung HouseWest Kilbride AyrshireScotlandCompletely new house
Item 4 of 121930Ladykin SchoolGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 5 of 121931Proposed churchMelville Grange EdinburghScotland 
Item 6 of 121931Scottish Ideal Home ExhibitionKelvin Hall GlasgowScotlandWon competition, All Scottish House competition
Item 7 of 121933MoorhouseStrathblane StirlingshireScotland 
Item 8 of 121935Buchanan Arms HotelDrymen StirlingshireScotland 
Item 9 of 121936Norwood Cinema  GlasgowScotland 
Item 10 of 121938Bay HotelGourock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 11 of 121938Yorkshire Insurance Company offices, St Vincent Street  GlasgowScotlandDrew up plans
Item 12 of 121939Offices and teahouseMonkton AyrshireScotland 


Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Personal information from John Watson and research by Iain Paterson
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no2680 (microfilm reel 22)