James Miller

Biography of James Miller

James Miller, Architect (1860-1947)
James Miller, Architect (1860-1947)

James Miller (1860-1947) was a Scottish architect known for designing the University's West Medical Building and Natural Philosophy Building (now The Kelvin Building).

James Miller was born in 1860 in the parish of Auchtergaven where his father George Miller was a farmer. Miller spent his childhood in Little Cairnie, Forteviot and in 1877 he entered into an apprenticeship with Andrew Heiton of Perth. At the end of his apprenticeship Miller spent some time with Hippolyte Jean Blanc before joining the Caledonian Railway Engineering Department, initially at Perth, under John Morrison Barr. He was transferred to the Glasgow office in 1888, where he designed a number of stations under the supervision of the engineer-in-chief, George Graham. These brought his work to the attention of the management and directors, and in 1890 an old school friend, Donald Alexander Matheson, a pupil of the Perth architect and civil engineer John Young, joined him in the office as resident engineer for the construction of the Glasgow Central Low Level lines.

In 1894 Miller's experience at railway work brought commissions for the stations on the West Highland Railway. On Graham's death in 1899 Matheson took over as engineer-in-chief, and although limited competitions were to be held for some Caledonian projects, Matheson's influence ensured that all the major ones went to Miller.

In 1898 Miller won the competition for the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1901; in 1901 the Glasgow Royal Infirmary; in 1903 those for the West Medical Building and Natural Philosophy Building at the University of Glasgow; and in 1904 he secured the patronage of the Glasgow & South Western Railway for its hotel at Turnberry. In 1910 he won the competition for the Institution of Civil Engineers in Westminster and secured that for the extension of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers to match it on the opposite side of Great George Street. Miller came near to eclipsing Sir John James Burnet in London and in Glasgow, but his London office at 1 Victoria Street (opened in 1912) was not reopened after the First World War.

Miller married Emelina Henrietta Crichton around 1898 and had one son, George, and two daughters, Mabel (Mrs Harper) and Muriel. In 1911 the Millers moved to Randolphfield, Stirling.

Miller never troubled himself with the qualifying exam and was admitted FRIBA relatively late on 7 April 1902, his proposers being William Leiper, William Forrest Salmon, both of Glasgow, and John Slater of London.

From 1935 to 1938, Miller made substantial additions and alterations to the Anatomy Building at Queen Margaret College (owned by the BBC at this point in time).

After the death of his son in 1940 Miller retired in December of that year aged eighty. James Miller died at Randolphfield on 28 November 1947.


James Miller
Born 1860.
Died 28 November 1947.
University Link: GU Degree:
Occupation categories: architects
Record last updated: 6th May 2015

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