Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||McNair & Elder |
|Designation: ||Architectural practice |
|Started: ||1936 |
|Ended: ||After 1941 |
|Bio Notes: ||Charles James McNair was born on 1 November 1881, the son of Henry McNair, butcher, and Catherine Sloan. He was articled to James Archibald Morris of Ayr from 1898 to 1903. In the latter year he moved to Glasgow to become assistant to John Nisbet and took over his practice on his retirement in 1910, with Robert Norman Houghton McKellar as his chief assistant from 1913. |
McNair was primarily a cinema architect mainly through his partnership with George Urie Scott in the Cinema Construction Co: between the wars he worked with Robert Walter Elder. Elder had been born at Cathcart in 1899 (Reg Dist 560, entry no 159), the son of David Elder, assistant city assessor, and his wife Elizabeth Sorley Buchan. He had been educated at Uddingston Grammar School and had taken a two-year evening class course in building construction at Glasgow High School to qualify for entrance to the Glasgow School of Architecture. He had undertaken the diploma course from 1921 to 1926 while articled to Southorn & Orr, and had won the bronze medal with a design for a shelter in a public park in 1923. A minor travelling scholarship had enabled him to spend a fortnight in London. He had been admitted ARIBA on 20 June 1927, his proposers being T Harold Hughes, James Lochhead and William Brown Whitie. Immediately thereafter he had joined McNair as senior assistant, soon to become junior partner, and his name was acknowledged in the practice title from 1936 as McNair & Elder.
Elder was the principal designer in the firm, working with five assistants and an apprentice in a back room on accomplished Art Deco schemes which ensured the practice's continuing success. He was personally a timid chain-smoker who preferred to let McNair deal with the clients. He was remembered by an assistant, Robert Forsyth, as 'a very shy man who didn't want to take the credit'. Some of the practice's later work was considerably influenced by Thomas Smith Tait. By 1950 Arthur James Ridley had been taken into partnership, the practice title becoming C J McNair Elder & Ridley.
McNair was married twice: first to Agnes Jane Hamilton, and later to Margaret Coutts Jack. He died of coronary thrombosis in Victoria Infirmary on 17 August 1955, his home address at the time of his death being 16 Carolside Avenue, Clarkston. He left estate of £8,902 17s 10d.
Elder never married and in later years suffered from Parkinson's disease. He died of pneumonia at Belvidere Hospital on 15 February 1963.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|272, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, Scotland||Business||Before 1937||After 1941|| |
Employment and Training
Employees or Pupils
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architectural practice:|
|Peter, Bruce||1996||100 Years of Glasgow's Amazing Cinemas|| ||Edinburgh: Polygon|| |