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John Gillespie was born in Kirkgunzeon, Kirkcudbright, on the 10th of April 1897, one of 2 children of Isabella and Charles Gillespie, a shepherd, and his sister was called Mary. He attended The Glasgow School of Art from 1916-1917 as an evening student of drawing and painting. He registered to continue his studies for 1917-1918, however was unable to attend as he enlisted into the 77th Training Reserve Battalion. In 1918 he was discharged from service, as he had a previous injury which had been aggravated by service. He had first attempted to enlist in 1915 but was rejected due to this knee injury, caused by an accident with a motor car while he was cycling. After the war, he continued his studies at The Glasgow School of Art, as well as studying at the Royal Technical College; taking an evening class in architecture at GSA in 1918-1920, and then returning as a day student from 1922-1923, before becoming an evening, and then afternoon student of architecture from 1923-1925. From 1924-25 he was the president of The Glasgow School of Architecture Club and in 1927 was admitted into the Society of Architects (LRIBA). In 1938, after working there for several years, he became the Chief Assistant to the Director of Housing at the Greenock Corporation, and then became the Principal Architectural Assistant. At the same time he was teaching building construction for the Lanarkshire Education Authority. Gillespie contributed verse poetry to several periodicals, including a booklet titled 'The Heatherland' which was sold in aid of the Greenock Spitfire Fund during the Second World War. He was a Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, the Society of Antiquaries in Scotland, and the Royal Society of Arts. Gillespie married Elizabeth Richmond Gallacher in 1951. He died of cardiac failure on the 25 March, 1957 at the age of 59. Gillespie is commemorated on The Glasgow School of Art's First World War Roll of Honour.
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