Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Architect Ancestors

When I started this blog last year, I also wanted to blog about my family history. Unfortunately, my posts on this subject have been rather sporadic!

Last week I rediscovered the Dictionary of Scottish Architects and contacted them as there are a couple of my relatives included in there. I've been able to add to the information they have on my relatives and add another potential architect to the dictionary.

My architects are my great grandfather John Stewart who was born in Falkirk in 1876 and his sons John Henry Fraser Stewart and William Ferguson Stewart. John Stewart (senios)'s family came from the area of Logierait in Perthshire, particularly around Tullimet and Dalcapon.

John Stewart

Born: 26 Oct 1876, Falkirk
Died: 5 Nov 1945, Lanark

From 1893, John studied at Heriot Watt College and Edinburgh School of Art and served an apprenticeship under C.S. Johnston of St. Andrews Street, Edinburgh. By 1898, he had set up in practice as an Architect at 38 High Street, Lanark in partnership with a Mr Traill. As an Architect, he was involved with the construction of:

Glengonnar House (Abington) for Lord Colebrook of Crawford
A shooting lodge at Hyndfordlea, Lanark
Christ Church Hall, Lanark
Whitehouse, Lanark where John and his family later lived
Also alterations and restoration of Lamington House for Lord Lamington

John married Margaret Isabella Henry on 19 Aug 1903 in Turriff, Aberdeenshire. They had four children, 3 sons and a daughter. Two of the sons also became Architects, the third being a Civil Engineer.

On 12 May 1916, John joined the 4th (Reserve) Batallion (Territorial) of the Royal Scots Fusiliers with the rank of Captain and may previously have served with the Lanarkshire Yeomanry. He was promoted to Major on 19 July 1917. On 28 Dec 1916, John was sent to serve in France. He was awarded the Victory medal and Territorial Decoration for his services.

In 1920, John became the Architect for the Lanarkshire Educational Authority and from 1919 was involved with the construction of a number of schools in Lanarkshire, including Knowetop special school and St. Mary's School in Lanark. In particular, Drumpark special school, Coatbridge, was seen to be 'excellently planned and outstanding for it's mural decorations'. He was responsible for all schedule and surveying for work carried out by Lanarkshire County Council and was County Architect, based at 32 - 36 Albert Street, Motherwell. John was also Consultant Architect to the counties of Moray and Nairn.

In 1931 John became a Fellow of the Royal Institution of British Architects.
On 3rd June 1932, the following appeared in the London Gazette:

'Major John Stewart, MBE
The King has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of the celebrations ofHis Majesty's Birthday to give orders for the following promotions in, andappointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire:-
To be members of the Civil Division of the said Most Excellent Order:-
Major John Stewart, T.D., F.R.I.B.A., Architect to Lanarkshire Education Authority'

John Henry Fraser Stewart

Born: 13 Dec 1904, Lanark, Lks
Died: 9th June 1945, Taiwan

Eldest son of John Stewart and Margaret Isabella Henry.

Fraser attended Lanark Grammar School before training as an Architect at Glasgow School of Architecture. In 1925, he set up in practice at 38 High Street, Lanark, where his father had previously been in practice. He also became a Licentiate of the Royal Institution of British Architects.

His work included St. Andrew's Church Hall, Carluke, Elgin County Buildings and Abington Hotel. He was particularly involved in the construction of school buildings, including Blackwood School, St. Mary's School, Lanark, and Lanark Grammar School.

In WW2, Fraser served as a Captain in the 155 (The Lanarkshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese, probably at the fall of Singapore in 1942 and was a POW on Taiwan, mainly held in the notorious Kinkaseki camp. After he fell ill in 1945, he was transferred to the Shirakawa camp where he died on the 9th June 1945. After the war ended, his body was recovered and he was reinterred at the Sai Wan War Cemetery on Hong Kong.

He left a widow and two daughters.

Commonwealth War graves Commission
Never Forgotten - The Story of the Taiwan POW's

William Ferguson Stewart

Born: 2 Aug 1917, Lanark, Lks
Died: Around 1990

Youngest son of John Stewart and Margaret Isabella Henry.

I have little information on William. According to my mother, he was also an architect like his father and brother. He also served in WW2 in the Middle East. He married twice and lived at some point in Welwyn Garden City in England.


Cheryl said...

How fascinating! My uncle has researched our family history back a long way, its so interesting. Oh and my dad went to Lanark Grammer School and i have a cousin there now!!

Julie said...

I love family history Lesley, this was very interesting

My DH found an uncle of his in the commonwealth graves at Lodge Hill Cemetary Birmingham, we visited last Summer, it was a very moving experience

Sally said...

Family history is very interesting isn't it? I love researching and have found out quite a lot.