Pollokshields Heritage Heritage Trail Two 

William James Anderson (1863-1900)

Responsible for Balmory.

Anderson was born in Dundee on 22nd November 1863. In 1877 he found employment in the office of Robert Rowand Anderson and George Washington Browne where he worked on Glasgow Central Station. He moved to Glasgow in 1883 as chief assistant to Thomas Lennox Watson and studied at Glasgow School of Art. In 1887 he won the Alexander Thomson Travelling Scholarship to Italy. In 1889 he moved to William Leiper’s office where he assisted Leiper on the Sun Insurance Building, Renfield Street, and Templeton’s Carpet Factory.

In 1890 he became president of the Glasgow Architectural Association. In 1893-94 the Governors of Glasgow School of Art commissioned him to deliver a series of lectures on the architecture of the Italian Renaissance. Published as ‘The Architecture of the Renaissance in Italy’ and ‘The Architecture of Greece and Rome’, these led to his appointment as head of architecture at the Glasgow School of Art.

A major client was builder William Orr of The Fireproof Building Company Ltd, a pioneer of pre-Hennebique reinforced concrete construction. In 1898 while supervising construction of Napier House on Govan Road a partial collapse of the floors led to the death of five workmen. The subsequent inquest cleared him, but Anderson suffered a nervous breakdown and was admitted to Gartnavel Hospital. He committed suicide on 25th March 1900.