Basic Biographical Details

Name: Wylie, Shanks & Underwood
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: Between October 1956 and April 1957
Ended: 1960
Bio Notes: Edward Grigg Wylie was born at 12 Raeberry Street, Glasgow on 11 April 1885, the son of Robert Wylie, commercial traveller and brush manufacturer and his wife Agnes Robinson Grigg. He was articled to William Forsyth McGibbon from 1900 to 1905, during which period (from 1901) he studied at Glasgow School of Art and the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College, and from 1904 at the Glasgow School of Architecture where he took the full-time course and became close to Eugène Bourdon. At the end of his apprenticeship in 1905 he won the RIBA Silver Medal and the following year took up a place in the office of John Burnet & Son. During his time as apprentice and assistant he undertook five sketching tours in England and France, each of one month's duration.

In 1909 Wylie commenced practice on his own account, Bourdon having appointed him as part-time post at the Glasgow School of Architecture, and in 1911 he merged his practice with that of a colleague at Burnet's, Alexander Wright as Wright & Wylie. The practice was closed during the First World War. Wright served with the Royal Engineers, latterly in Italy, a country to which he was devoted. Wylie served with the Durham Light Infantry and was several times mentioned in despatches, gaining the MC and bar; he was also made a Chevalier of the Order of the Crown of Italy. The partnership was resumed in 1919. Wylie was appointed an instructor at Glasgow School of Art under Alexander McGibbon in that year, and admitted ARIBA under the war exemption scheme in 1920, his proposer being Sir John James Burnet. He was appointed Professor of Architecture and Head of the Glasgow School of Architecture in succession to Eugène Bourdon who had died in 1916 but Wyle resigned in 1921 after only one year because of his fast growing private practice. In 1927 Wright & Wylie moved to larger premises at 204 West Regent Street, business having grown enormously as a result of the competition wins for Hillhead High School and the Scots Legal Life Building. In 1928 Wylie's nephew, Frederick Robert Wylie (born in Partick in 1904, the son of Wylie's brother William, company director and Isabella Pringle Forsyth) was taken into partnership, the practice title now becoming Wylie Wright & Wylie, the changed precedence reflecting Wylie's leading role as both designer and job-getter.

The partnership with Wright was dissolved in 1935 by mutual agreement. Wright recognised that by both age and temperament he was no longer suited to the fast changing nature of the practice, and set up his own which tended to specialise in alterations and additions rather than new buildings. In the following year Wylie took George Ferguson Shanks into partnership, the practice name becoming Wylie, Shanks & Wylie. Shanks had been born at Partick on 15 May 1898, the son of George Ferguson Smellie Shanks, engine patternmaker and Eliza Jane Borthwick. He had studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1914 to 1917 and again from 1918 to 1919, and had become an Associate of both the Glasgow Institute of Architects and the RIBA by 1930.

In 1937 Wylie was appointed chief consulting architect to Scottish Industrial Estates Ltd and from that year onwards designed many of their buildings, and not long thereafter also became architect to Scottish Oils and Shell Mex Ltd. By 1939 Shanks had become a Fellow of the Glasgow Institute of Architects.

In 1946 Walter Underwood was taken into partnership. Underwood had been born in Shettleston on 19 November 1906, the son of Matthew Underwood, Inspector of Buildings and Annie Eliz [sic] Tait. He had married Mary Campbell Gunn, daughter of David Flett Gunn, wine and spirit merchant, at All Saints Episcopal Church, Jordanhill on 31 January 1933, and had been Chief Architect to the Scottish Co-Operative Wholesale Society from at least 1932 until 1945. The firm name was not changed to Wylie, Shanks & Underwood until some time after Underwood joined,at some point after October 1956 and before April 1957. In 1949 Wylie was appointed OBE for his services to the Scottish Industrial Estates Company.

Edward Grigg Wylie died of a cerebral thrombosis at his home, 8 Queensborough Gardens, Glasgow on 31 August 1954 on the eve of the opening of the Scottish Industries Exhibition at the Kelvin Hall for which he had been largely responsible, Lord Bilsland paying tribute to his memory. He left a widow, Elizabeth Wyper Forsyth and the then substantial sum of £48,562 11s 5d.

Shanks retired in 1963. He died of heart disease on 2 August 1985 at Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock.

Frederick Robert Wylie retired in 1969 and died of myocardial infarction at Glen Fruin, Dunbartonshire on 13 January 1982.

Underwood broke away from the Wylie partnership in 1960 and set up his own practice. Although his architecture was very modern, he was very much an old-school Glasgow professional gentleman. One of his last undertakings, carried out after he had officially retired, was the conservation of the village of Luss in which he took a close personal interest. He died of prostate cancer at 1 Belmont Road, Glasgow on 13 April 1988. His death was reported by his daughter J M Staples, then of 8 Gamekeeper's Road, Edinburgh.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 112, Clairmont Gardens, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1954 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 6Walter Underwood19491960Partner 
Item 2 of 6Frederick Robert WylieBetween October 1956 and April 19571960Partner 
Item 3 of 6George Ferguson Smellie ShanksBetween October 1956 and April 19571960Partner 
Item 4 of 6William JardineBetween October 1956 and April 19571960Partner 
Item 5 of 6Peter Leslie Aitken WilliamsBetween October 1956 and April 19571960Partner 
Item 6 of 6William McLean1959 Assistant 

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 12Between October 1956 and April 1957Glasgow Maternity Hospital  GlasgowScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 2 of 12Between October 1956 and April 1957Killearn HospitalKillearn StirlingshireScotlandAlterations and extension to wards, labs and X-ray and operating theatres
Item 3 of 121957Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Pathology Department  GlasgowScotlandExtension and alterations
Item 4 of 121957Royal College of Science and Technology, James Weir Engineering Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 5 of 121957St Paul's Parish Church  GlasgowScotlandSubdivision
Item 6 of 1215 February 1957Foundry for Fry's Metal FoundriesDalmarnock GlasgowScotlandBuilder p 344
Item 7 of 121958Scottish Widows Fund and Life Assurance and Junior Conservative Club  GlasgowScotlandAlterations - three balconies removed from front, attic added and interior reconstructed.
Item 8 of 121958Stow College of Building and Printing  GlasgowScotland 
Item 9 of 121959Scottish Industries Exhibition 1959  GlasgowScotlandPlan
Item 10 of 122 January 1959Stow College of Building and Printing and Stow College of Commerce and Distributive Trades  GlasgowScotlandarchitects, per Builder p28
Item 11 of 12Late 1950sGlasgow Western Infirmary, Radiotherapy Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 1215 April 1960Factory block for Industrial Estates Managment Corporation for Scotland  Dundee, AngusScotlandper Builder p767


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 2Glendinning, M, MacInnes, R and MacKechnie, A1996A History of Scottish Architecture  p603
Item 2 of 2Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp18, p178 Stow College of Distributive Trades, and Building and Printing

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Courtesy of David J LeslieInformation sent to Dictionary Sent March 2008
Item 2 of 2Courtesy of Morag CrossInformation sent to DSA Sent December 2010