Item NMC/0379 - Public Library and Museum, Campbeltown

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Key Information

Reference code



Public Library and Museum, Campbeltown


  • 1897-1899 (Creation)

Level of description



1 item

Content and Structure

Scope and content

Library building with busy street scene.

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General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

Architect, Glasgow, Scotland. Alexander ('Sandy') McGibbon was born at 11 Pitt Street, Anderston on 5 February 1861, the son of Alexander McGibbon, engine fitter and maritime engineer, and his wife Jane Cameron Selkirk. He was articled to Harry Blair in Glasgow c.1875, studying at Glasgow School of Art and although not mentioned in his nomination paper, his obituary states that he was an assistant in the office of Campbell Douglas & Sellars. In 1882 according to his own account he obtained a place as a draughtsman in the office of John Honeyman and in 1884 was one of the earliest Scottish architects to take the qualifying exam. He was admitted ARIBA on 9 June the same year, his proposers being Honeyman, David Barclay and Campbell Douglas. In 1889 he moved to Burnet Son & Campbell where he is recorded as having worked alongside A N Paterson; the Honeyman & Keppie staff photograph showing him with McNair, Mackintosh and Whitelaw probably commemorated his departure from that office. In 1890 McGibbon commenced practice on his own account and was appointed to the staff of Glasgow School of Art as assistant to William James Anderson. The census of the following year recorded him as living with his three unmarried sisters: Christina, a teacher; Annie Jane, described as a housekeeper; and Margaret Helen, a music teacher. Of these Annie Jane subsequently married.

In 1893-94 he contributed to 'The Builder' a series of illustrations of the Scottish cathedrals which established his reputation as a brilliant perspective draughtsman, and his practice thereafter was more as perspectivist than architect. Between 1894 and 1920 he maintained an office, at 109 Hope Street from 1894 to about 1905 and at 248 West George Street thereafter. He succeeded William James Anderson as Director of Glasgow School of Art on the latter's death in 1900 with the title of Professor. Harold Hughes who taught with him in 1920-26 provided a sketch of his years at the School: 'As a teacher McGibbon was indefatigable, and there must be very many architects now in practice who can remember with gratitude his inspiring marginal sketches, kind words and his never failing encouragement. He was a tremendous worker. His practice when at the School of Art was to reach the School in the middle of the morning having had a somewhat late breakfast. He stayed without a break till half-past five. Should be become hungry, he would chew nuts, of which he always carried an ample supply in his pocket. At half-past five he would leave for the good old-fashioned Elizabethan dinner, and returned night after night to the School at seven o'clock, where he stayed till ten o'clock. At ten o'clock he would retire to his small private office and make perspective drawings up to two, three or even four o'clock in the morning. His perspectives were turned out with remarkable rapidity, and the accounts rendered for these perspectives were never in proportion to the work he put into them. If he felt a man could not well afford to pay for the perspectives, McGibbon would most certainly forget to send an account'.

McGibbon retired in 1926 when his portrait was painted by Maurice Greiffenhagen. He never married. Although big-built he was short in stature, the hem of his coats being just above his toecaps. His main interest outwith the profession was St George's Church where he was an elder for 49 years, superintendent of its Sunday school and Convener of its St Michael's Mission Committee. He died of myocarditis at his house, 51 Kessington Road, Bearsden on 5 December 1938.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born in Glasgow. He was the son of Lieutenant George Burnet of the Kirkcudbright and Galloway Militia, a self-taught architect based in Glasgow. John James trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts c1874-77. Afterwards, he joined his father's practice (Burnet Son & Campbell till 1897) and later established a successful office of his own initially in Glasgow (John Burnet & Son) and then a second office in London (John J. Burnet). The latter was set up in 1905 after Burnet had secured the prestigious contract to design the Edward VII galleries for the British Museum (1903/4-14). One of Burnet's key assistants and later partners was the architect Thomas Tait (John Burnet, Tait & Lorne from 1930).

He was also a visitor and examiner to classes at The Glasgow School of Art, performing the following roles between 1882 and 1916:

Examiner for local competitions 1882-1884.

Examiner for local competitions (Architectural Section): 1889-1892, 1897.

Examiner for local competitions (Design) 1891-1893. Examiner for local competitions (Modelling section) 1891, 1892.

Examiner for Haldane bursaries: 1892-1894, 1900. Examiner for local competitions (Antique, life and still life) 1894.

Visitor for Architecture 1893. Visitor and examiner for Architecture 1894 - 1899.

Examiner for Institute of Architects' Prize 1898. Visitor to classes and examiner under local prize scheme (Architecture and modelling) 1901, 1902.

Visitor to classes and examiner under local prize scheme (Design and Decorative Art) 1901.

Examiner for bursaries and studentships (Architecture and Modelling) 1903,1904. Examiner for bursaries and studentships (Architecture) 1904/1905.

Judge for Diplomas, scholarships and bursaries (Modelling) 1909/1910, 1912/1913.

Judge for Diplomas, scholarships and bursaries (Drawing and Painting) 1915/1916.

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Language and script notes

Physical Description

pen and ink on paper

Dimensions: 415 x 685 mm

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Administrative Information

Description identifier

GB 1694 NMC/0379

Institution identifier

GB 1694

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description - Second edition


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