Archibald Gilchrist Paton

Architect; JHKM employee

Archibald Gilchrist Paton (1893–1964), born in Ayr, was an architect, about whom relatively little is recorded. 'Archie' Paton was the son of Agnes (née Baird) and spirit merchant Robert Paton. The family moved from Ayr to Apsley Street, Partick, in Glasgow in the mid-1890s. Robert held various jobs before becoming a property factor's clerk in the 1900s. 1 It is possible that his father's job gave Paton useful professional contacts. He was, by his own account, articled to Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh in November 1908, and first paid by them in August 1909. 2

Paton entered the Glasgow School of Art as a student in 1910, when his date of birth was wrongly recorded as 8 October 1894, rather than 1893. He enrolled for the last time at the art school in 1912, giving his profession as 'architect's apprentice'. 3 Paton continued to receive small sums intermittently during the First World War, during which he spent three years in the armed forces. He may have been the Private Archibald G. Paton who served in the Royal Scots Fusiliers, an Ayrshire regiment, and then in the famous Glasgow-based Highland Light Infantry, from December 1915 until June 1919, but as there were at least six other soldiers with similar names, this is not certain. 4

Paton seems to have continued working with John Keppie & Henderson (the firm's post-1916 style reflecting the new partnership) after the war. He exhibited architectural and landscape subjects at the Royal Scottish Academy and London's Royal Academy in 1926, 1927 and 1929, using 257 West George Street, Keppie's Glasgow office, as his address. 5 He exhibited etchings with the Dundee Art Society in 1936, at a 'low-priced' or 'budget' show, and showed watercolours in Glasgow in 1944. 6 Later exhibition submissions reflect holidays spent sketching in the Channel Islands, including his drypoint etchings 'St Helier's Chapel, Elizabeth Castle', and 'We pay homage to St Helier' (1943). 7 The father of his wife, Lucinda Halliday Scrymgeour (c. 1898–1979), was minister at St Columba's Presbyterian Church in St Helier, Jersey. 8

Paton was nominated by John Keppie and A. N. Paterson as an Associate Member of the RIBA in the large post-war intake of 1921. He was still working for John Keppie & Henderson when he joined the Glasgow Institute of Architects in 1926, but left to work for the nearby practice of George A. Boswell, around 1929. Boswell was the vice-president of the GIA in 1929–30, and based at 257 George Street (although Paton failed to update his address in some listings, and still appears, confusingly, at Keppie's premises). 9

From about 1936, Paton was employed as an assistant in the office of David B. McLay, Dundee Corporation's city architect, moving to Barry, near Carnoustie. In 1938, Paton won the Department of Health for Scotland premium of £75 for his designs for a rural four-apartment cottage. Its full working drawings were intended as models for wider public and private builders' use. Apart from this, his work in Dundee was concentrated on school buildings. 10

Paton moved to Inverness around 1946 when he was appointed deputy county architect. In March 1957, he became the county architect and chief planning officer for Inverness-shire. 11 He died on 14 October, 1964. 12

Notes:

1: Statutory Births, Census information, 1895 and 1905 Valuation Rolls, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 8 April 2014].

2: 'Archibald Gilchrist Paton', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 8 April 2014]; The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: John Honeyman & Keppie / Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh / Keppie Henderson cash book, 1889–1917, GLAHA 53079, p. 128.

3: Student Registers, information kindly provided by the Glasgow School of Art Archives, 12 March 2014; Census 1911, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 8 April 2014].

4: David Stark, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Co., Catrine, Ayrshire: Stenlake Publishing, 2004, p. 217; 'Archibald Gilchrist Paton', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk; British Army W.W. I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914–1920, online database, www.ancestry.co.uk [both accessed 8 April 2014].

5: Angela Jarman, Royal Academy Exhibitors 1905–1970, Calne, Wiltshire: Hilmarton Manor Press, 1987, 3, p. 281; Charles Baile de Lapierre, ed., The Royal Scottish Academy Exhibitors 1826–1990, Calne, Wiltshire: Hilmarton Manor Press, 1991, 3, p. 431.

6: Dundee Post Office Directory, 1941–2, pp. 46, 1065; Dundee Courier, 12 December 1936, p. 10; 23 April 1943, p. 3; 7 October 1944, p. 2.

7: 'A. G. Paton, Etching, Past Lot 264, Sold by Bonhams-Langlois, Jersey, 7 December 1994', Invaluable [Auctioneers' Directory of Archived Sales], www.invaluable.com [accessed 7 April 2014]; Charles Baile de Lapierre, ed., The Royal Scottish Academy Exhibitors 1826–1990, Calne, Wiltshire: Hilmarton Manor Press, 1991, 3, p. 431.

8: Census information, England & Wales, National Probate Calendar, 1858–1966, www.ancestry.co.uk; Alice L. McVearry, 'A Google search discovery', The Skirmisher: The Bulletin of the Scrimgeour Clan Association, 27, 2005, pp. 33–6 [pdf document], www.scrimgeourclan.org.uk [accessed 8 April 2014].

9: 'Archibald Gilchrist Paton', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 8 April 2014]; Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1926–7, Appendix, p. 164; 1929–30, pp. 171–2.

10: Aberdeen Journal, 27 May 1938, p. 5; Scotsman, 26 May, 1938 p. 8; Dundee Courier, 26 May 1938, p. 11; National Records of Scotland, RHP142201/3–6, 'Architectural drawings, Rural Cottage Competition 1938, A. G. Paton', online catalogue [O.P.A.C.], www.nas.gov.uk [accessed 8 March 2014].

11: 'Archibald Gilchrist Paton', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 8 April 2014].

12: [Online Resource], www.ancestry.co.uk; Statutory Deaths, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, [both accessed 7 April 2014].