Basic Biographical Details

Name: William Bow
Designation: Architect
Born: 4 January 1882
Died: 10 August 1956
Bio Notes: William Bow was born in Glasgow on 4 January 1882, the son of John William Bow, a prosperous drapery warehouse owner and his wife Margaret Roger Bow. He was articled to John Burnet & Son on 3 September 1898 and studied at Glasgow School of Art and the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College. He was retained as a draughtsman, becoming chief draughtsman when William John Blain left in 1912. Because of Bow's influential mercantile connections the possibility of an eventual partnership in the Glasgow office was discussed, but Bow recognised that Norman Dick's ten year partnership agreement from 1909 was going to make any such advancement too far in the future. As chief draughtsman Bow drew out the administration and nurses' home block of Glasgow Sick Children's Hospital, the remainder being in the hands of his successor as chief draughtsman, John Wilkie Weddel.

In 1912 Bow's brother Douglas Scott Bow sent him the competition brief for the University of British Columbia campus. He came second with a prize of 3000 dollars and decided to emigrate. He left Burnet's office in January 1913 to set up practice in his brother's office, taking his wife Jean Creber and their two children with him.

Because of family responsibilities Bow did not enlist, undertaking war work at North Vancouver Municipal Hall. He recommenced practice after the war and took James Clark Mackenzie into partnership in 1920. This did not gain a lot of work and Mackenzie's wife and children proved disruptive in the office. In 1923 Bow dissolved the partnership to join the wealthy and extremely successful James Anderson Benzie, a fellow student at Glasgow School of Art and the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College, under the title of Benzie & Bow.

Benzie died in February 1930. Bow then formed a partnership with a somewhat similar society architect, Bernard Cuddon Palmer, under the title of Palmer & Bow. This was equally successful and prospered even through the post-war depression but Palmer died early on24 May 1936. Bow continued to practise under the same name and retained the confidence of Palmer's clients. He was President of the AIBC 1933-35.

Bow worked for Pacific Salvage during the Second World War, taking George Evans into partnership in 1945, but retired in 1946. Nevertheless he did not give up practice completely and was associated with Evans on the design of New Westminster Junior High School in 1949.

Bow died at Gower Point on 10 August 1956. In person he was over six feet tall, soft-spoken and very gentlemanly. In Burnet's office he was 'Mr Bow' perhaps because of his married status and his father's large drapery store, but the photo in Luxton suggests that he was less formal in later years. His architecture was notably Burnetian, the composition of Wilmar, Vancouver, 1925, being markedly reminiscent of Burnet's Corrienessan, built as long ago as 1887.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 2Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate/business1898  
Item 2 of 2Vancouver, British Columbia, CanadaPrivate/business1913  

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 7John Burnet & Son3 September 1898 Apprentice 
Item 2 of 7John Burnet & Sonc. 1903 Draughtsman 
Item 3 of 7John Burnet & SonAfter 1912 Chief Draughtsman 
Item 4 of 7Bow & Mackenzie1920 Partner 
Item 5 of 7Benzie & Bow19231930Partner 
Item 6 of 7Palmer & Bow19301936PartnerThough name of Palmer & Bow retained until later
Item 7 of 7Bow & Evans1945 Partner 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 1Luxton, Donald (ed.)2003Building the West: the early architects of British Columbia Vancouver: Talon Books 

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Research also by Robert Close and personal recollections of A G Lochhead who worked under his supervision in 1911-12.