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James McNab, better known as Hamish, was born on 22 July 1891, the eldest son of Isabella Braid Christie McNab (nee Walls) and William Hunter McNab, architect. James' father, William, worked in the office of William Leiper, well known for his arts and crafts /Scots baronial styled houses particularly in the Helensburgh area and also for churches and the polychromatic Venetian Gothic Templeton Carpet Factory. William Hunter McNab eventually took over Leiper's practice becoming sole partner on Leiper's retirement in 1909. James McNab commenced his studies at The Glasgow School of Art in 1907 until 1914 whilst working as an apprentice with James Miller. James' younger brother William Leiper, presumably named after his father's former partner , also studied architecture at The Glasgow School of Art from 1915 but by this point James had left to serve with the Royal Engineers, rising to the rank of Lieutenant by his discharge in 1919. In 1927 his father took him into partnership and two years later he became a lecturer in Paisley College of Technology and School of Art. He was elected LRIBA in mid-1933, his proposers being James Miller, John Keppie and John Watson. He was also a member of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. His father died in December 1935, and Hamish continued the practice under the existing title of William Hunter McNab & Son. His brother William Leiper McNab, also worked in the family firm but did not become a principal. The practice had very little architectural business after 1930. The office at 121 West George Street was also the studio of Hamish's sculptress wife, Florence Ida Mary Magee, and they supported themselves mainly by making garden statuary, craftwork and decorative work. In the late 1930s they downsized to the Aitken Studios at 551 Sauchiehall Street. McNab died on 21 April 1937 aged 46 years. James McNab is commemorated on The Glasgow School of Art's First World War Roll of Honour.
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