James Hutcheson

Electric lighting contractor; window blinds

Colour photograph of James Hutcheson's invoice for work at the Glasgow School of Art, 1901

James Hutcheson (1836–1904, born 'McHutcheson') was a Glaswegian blacksmith and bellhanger, who, like many of his colleagues, turned to gasfitting and electric light-installation, as domestic demand for the latter increased. 1 Hutcheson's sons all followed him as various skilled tradesmen; the eldest, John pursued his father's trades. Another son, Andrew, is treated separately as he also worked on Honeyman, Keppie and Mackintosh projects.

Hutcheson's firm appears in the Glasgow Post Office Directory from 1878 to 1908, based at 247 West George Street from the mid-1880s, moving to 199 Bath Street in the early 1900s. He showed 'some improved electric bells' at the Edinburgh International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry in 1886, demonstrating the crossover between electrical wiring, and the more traditional 'bell-hanging'. 2 The firm was probably continued by one of his sons after James's death, and by 1908 it was an 'electrical engineer, bellhanger, gasfitter, brassfounder, telephone contractor, window blind manufacturer, [and] contractor to H.M. Board of Works'. 3

As well as offering other metalworking skills, which were commonly practised in parallel to his original trade of smithing, Hutcheson opened a city-centre showroom and 'counting house', besides his manufacturing workshop. In 1909–10, Andrew Hutcheson, also an electrician, took over his father's offices, now at 211 West Campbell Street, and continued to trade under his own name. 4

Notes:

1: McHutcheson O.P.R. Births 622/00 0100 0192 Barony; Hutcheson 1904, Statutory Deaths 644/07 0099, at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, accessed 13 June 2012.

2: Scotsman, 17 August 1886, p. 5.>

3: Glasgow Post Office Directory 1908–9.

4: Glasgow Post Office Directories 1878–1910.