Kean & Wardrop


B/W Advertisement for Kean & Wardrop, 'Glasgow Building Trades Exchange', 1896, p. 136

The tiler George Kean and slater Thomas Leishman Wardrop started in business around 1878 as Kean & Wardrop, 'ceramique, mosaic and encaustic paving tile-layers and art tile merchants'. 1 Kean had married Wardrop's sister, and after Wardrop's death in 1882, Kean continued under the same style. He moved between various Glasgow premises, being based mainly at 167 Bath Street from the mid-1890s. 2 During the 1880s the firm's advertisements listed a wide range of wares: 'Marble, wood and tile chimney pieces, embossed, majolica, glazed and other tiles for hearths, fire places ... hand-painted art tiles (from Minton's China Works) for Grate Cheeks, Pilasters, Cabinet Work, etc.' 3

The firm supplied French tiling with geometric borders for the entrances and arcade of the Blythswood Holm Buildings in Hope Street (Peddie & Kinnear, 1876–80; recast, J. Dick Peddie, 1890). 4 They supplied tiling to Dalziel School Board in Motherwell (c. 1889–90), for Knoxland School, Dumbarton (1893–4), and for the Glasgow Samaritan Hospital for Women (MacWhannell & Rogerson, 1895–6). 5

Wardrop's three sons – John, Thomas and George – continued as wall- and floor-tile merchants and fixers until 1919, when George retired from the partnership. 6 In 1923 Thomas also retired, and John was left as the sole trader, working from the Bath Street premises, where the family had also lived from the 1890s until at least 1910. 7


1: Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1878–9.

2: Marriage and will information, [accessed 18 June 2012].

3: Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1880–81, Advertising appendix, p. 212.

4: Glasgow Herald, 23 June 1880, p. 4; Elizabeth Williamson, Anne Riches and Malcolm Higgs, Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow, London: Penguin, 1990, p. 227.

5: Glasgow Herald, 16 July 1889, p. 6; 8 September 1893, p. 9; 18 May 1895, p. 9.

6: Edinburgh Gazette, 4 July 1919, p. 2343.

7: Edinburgh Gazette, 9 February 1923, p. 274.