Glasgow - City of Sculpture
By Gary Nisbet
William James Anderson

A graduate of St Andrew's University, he trained first with Gillespie, of St Andrew's, then with Robert Rowan Anderson and George Washington Browne in Edinburgh.

He worked briefly in Dundee before moving to Glasgow, where he worked for T L Watson , working on the Evening Citizen Building, 24 St. Vincent Place (1885-9), and William Leiper .

The first winner of the Alexander Thomson Travelling Studentship, 1887, for measured drawings of Thomson 's Queens Park Church, the 60 prize enabled him to explore Italy in 1888. Returning to Scotland, he opened his own practice at 65 Cadder Street, Pollokshields, and published his sketches in Architectural Studies in Italy, 1890.

A year later he submitted a design for the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Competition which was described in the press as 'an exceedingly good design which does credit to the younger school of Glasgow architects' (The Builder).

He moved to 136 Wellington Street in 1893 and then to 95 Bath Street in 1893, where he remained for the rest of his career.

His executed work includes the innovative Orient Boarding House, 16 McPhater Street, in which he experimented with partial steel framing and concrete floors (1892-5); the domestic Balmory, 21 Sherbrooke Avenue (1893); the mural decoration and metal coronas, Eglinton Congregational Church, 341 Eglinton Street (1895, dest. 2000); and Neptune House, 638-646 Govan Road (1898-9), where he again experimented with steel framing and concrete flooring, but with tragic consequences. The building's fifth floor collapsed causing the death of five workmen and, ultimately, his own death, through stress.

Appointed Director of the Department of Architecture, GSA , 1894, he twice served as President of the Glasgow Architectural Association and published further studies of Italian architecture in The Architecture of the Renaissance in Italy, 1896, and later, The Architecture of Greece and Rome, 1902, which was completed after his death by Phene Spiers and Thomas Ashley.

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