Alex Muir & Sons

Masons

Glasgow builders Alexander Muir & Sons (not '& Son') was called after its founder, who commenced operations at 180 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow around 1860. 1 Within ten years, the business had grown from one worker, to 66 employees (1871), and had nearly 70 men and 59 apprentices in 1881. 2 The company established itself in Eglinton Street, Tradeston, in the mid-1870s, where they remained until c. 1902, when they moved to Nithsdale Drive. 3 As a mark of his success, Alexander Muir (born Kilmarnock, c. 1825–1915) moved to the substantial 'Dean Villa' (possibly built by his own firm), 58 Aytoun Road, in prosperous Pollokshields around 1875. 4

Muir's sons, Allan (born c. 1857–1928) and William (born c. 1863) joined the family business, which began advertising as 'Alexander Muir & Sons' around 1887. 5 In 1885, the Muirs were constructing a tenement at the corner of Great George Street and Victoria Street (now Byres Road), Hillhead, when a labourer's widow received compensation for his fatal accident. 6 Alexander Muir and architect H. E. Clifford submitted an expert report (1897) on the 'structurally ... unsafe' medieval Rutherglen Parish Church, recommending an entirely new building. 7 During a strike in 1904, Allan Muir's resolution to reduce stonemasons' wages by a halfpenny an hour was accepted by fellow employers, despite opposition from various trades unions who supported the masons. 8 Muir & Sons were also contractors for unspecified new Glasgow University buildings in 1904, and the demolition of the old Justiciary Buildings, Jail Square in 1910. 9

Outwith his business interests, Alexander Muir was vice-president of the Architectural Section of Glasgow Philosophical Society (1886), and subsequently served on its council with architects P. McGregor Chalmers and Campbell Douglas (1889). 10 Alexander spoke at the Building Trades Exchange in 1896, on the construction industry, with John Keppie and sculptor Robert A. McGilvray (see separate entry) in the audience. 11 William became Collector of the influential Incorporation of Masons in 1912. 12 When his brother Allan Muir died in 1928, he left a substantial personal estate of 18,782. 13

Notes:

1: Glasgow Post Office Directory 1860–1, p. 215.

2: Census Data, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 20 July 2013].

3: Glasgow Post Office Directory 1875–6, p. 337; 1902–3, p. 460.

4: Glasgow Herald, 11 February 1915, p. 1; England & Wales, National Probate Calendar 1858–1966, www.ancestry.co.uk; Census Data, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 20 July 2013]; Glasgow Post Office Directory 1875–6, p. 337.

5: Census Data, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 20 July 2013]; Scotsman, 14 April 1928, p. 8; 19 May 1928, p. 9; Glasgow Post Office Directory 1887–8, p. 457.

6: Edinburgh Evening News, 28 January 1886, p. 2; 19 February 1886, p. 3; 14 May 1886, p. 2; Glasgow Herald, 29 January 1886, p. 10; 8 April 1886, p. 7; 15 May 1886, p. 7.

7: Glasgow Herald, 29 September 1897, p. 9.

8: Scotsman, 18 August 1904, p. 6.

9: Edinburgh Evening News, 19 October 1904, p. 3; Scotsman, 17 May 1911, p. 12.

10: Glasgow Herald, 17 March 1886, p. 6; 19 March 1889, p. 3.

11: Glasgow Herald, 31 January 1896, p. 9.

12: Scotsman, 21 September 1912, p. 7.

13: Scotsman, 19 May 1928, p. 9.