John Train & Taylor

Mason, digger, brickwork, steelwork

John Train & Taylor was a major firm of Glasgow building contractors, founded by two brothers-in-law, John Train (later 'Sir', b. Cambusnethan, 1873–1942) and William Taylor (b. Co. Down, Ireland, c. 1870–1954). Taylor married Train's sister, Dorothea, in 1892. 1 Train was a stonemason's son who, like Taylor, became a mason himself, and Train's obituary dates the firm's origins to 1894. However, the firm only appears in local directories from 1904, and its address is listed as 'Dalmarnock Bridge, Rutherglen' from 1905 onwards. 2

From the mid-1900s both men lived in Burnside, Rutherglen, and their contracts included £58,413 for the enormous, and famously lavish Argyll Motor Works, Alexandria (1905–6) and £24,592 for the reconstructed McLellan (Art) Galleries, Glasgow (1911). 3 John Train & Taylor were commissioned to build the Clyde Trust's brick-faced and concrete 11-storey Meadowside Granary (1911) for £56,697. 4 They also successfully tendered for Cambuslang Drainage Committee's Threeneuk Sewer (costing £16,302 in 1913), and built Dalmarnock Power Station (1914–20), then the largest in Britain. 5 The original firm was dissolved in 1923, and William Taylor & Son (Glasgow) Ltd was formed with James Train Taylor (born c. 1898). 6 Taylors constructed the Kelvin bridge at Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow (1929), Burntisland's open-air swimming pool (1935–6), and were wound up in 1950. 7 Train, meanwhile, traded as John Train & Co., Ltd, their work encompassing the Kelvin Hall (earning them £207,000 in 1926), 8 Glasgow University Memorial Chapel (c. 1923–7), offices and churches. 9 His company built the India Tyre Works, Inchinnan (1929–30), Lennox Castle Hospital (1931–5) and additions to Templeton's Carpet Factory, London Road (probably c. 1928–30). 10

Outside work, Train was politically active, chairing Rutherglen Parish Council (1912–18), was a Lanarkshire County Councillor from 1916–30, and also served as its vice-convenor, and Deacon of Glasgow's Incorporation of Masons. 11 He was a Glasgow City Councillor, Deacon Convenor of the prestigious Trades House, and member of the highly-influential Cyde Navigation Trust from 1927–9. 12 He chaired numerous official housing, health and building trades committees and enquiries. 13 He was elected Unionst M.P. for Cathcart in 1929, was knighted in 1936, and left an estate of £113,571 in 1942. 14

Notes:

1: Census Data, www.ancestry.co.uk; Marriage and Death Date, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 4 August 2013].

2: Glasgow Herald, 19 March 1942, p. 6; Glasgow Post Office Directory 1904–5, p. 634; 1905–6, p. 706.

3: Glasgow Herald, 27 June 1906, p. 12; 18 March 1908, p. 5; 13 September 1911, p. 10; Scotsman, 27 June 1906, p. 12; 18 March 1908, p. 12; 13 September 1911, p. 8.

4: Glasgow Herald, 4 October 1911, p. 10; Scotsman, 4 October 1911, p. 13; 10 January 1912, p. 10.

5: Scotsman, 29 March 1913, p. 8; Glasgow Herald, 3 September 1920, p. 6; Report ... Committee on Electricity to the Corporation ... Revenue and Expenditure, Glasgow: City Council, 1923, pp. 8, 12, 14; 'Tenders Received' (21 August 1914), Electrician: A Weekly Illustrated Journal, 73, April–October 1914, p. 816, 851; 'Memoranda', Concrete and Construction Engineering, 11, 1916, p. 630; E.G.W. Souster, 'Dalmarnock Power Station, Glasgow', Concrete and Construction Engineering, 15, 1920, p. 19; 'Dalmarnock Power Station, Glasgow: Photographs', Concrete and Construction Engineering, 15, 1920, p. 727.

6: Edinburgh Gazette, 9 February 1923, p. 274; Census Data, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 4 August 2013].

7: Scotsman, 10 August 1929, p. 9; Evening Telegraph, 3 October 1935, p. 3; Edinburgh Gazette, 7 March 1950, p. 111.

8: Glasgow Herald, 17 February 1926, p. 9; 23 February 1926 p. 7; Evening Telegraph, 16 February 1926, p. 6; 'The Kelvin Hall of Industries', 6 August 1926, The Engineer, 142, July–December 1926, p. 133; Scotsman, 7 September 1926, p. 5.

9: The chapel contracts were awarded the month that the 'John Train & Taylor' were dissolved, and were continued by 'John Train & Co. Ltd'; Advertisment, The Book of Lennox Castle, Glasgow: City and Counties Publishing, 1936, p. 14; Nick Haynes, Building Knowledge: An Architectural History of Glasgow University, Edinburgh: Historic Scotland, 2013, pp. 118, 120; Nick Haynes, personal communication, 6 August 2013; Scotsman, 20 April 1923, p. 7; 9 June 1923, p. 5; 18 February 1929, p. 8; 4 May 1929, p. 12; Glasgow Herald, 2 February 1923, pp. 8–9; 5 October 1929, p. 9; 'University of Glasgow War Memorial Chapel, Building Report', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 4 August 2013].

10: Joan S. Skinner, Form and Fancy: ... Wallis, Gilbert & Partners 1916–39, Liverpool: University Press, 1997, pp. 128–9; A. L. Ritchie, The Book of Lennox Castle, Glasgow: City and Counties Publishing, 1936, pp. 14 (Advertisement), 36–8; 'Templeton's Carpet Factory, Building Report', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 4 August 2013].

11: Scotsman, 22 September 1923, p. 7; 9 October 1924, p. 5; The Times, 19 March 1942, p. 7; Scottish Biographies 1938, London: E. J. Thurston, and Glasgow: Jackson, Son & Co (Booksellers), Ltd, 1938, p. 751.

12: Scotsman, 19 March 1942, p. 4; Glasgow Herald, 19 March 1942, p. 6; ‘Train, Sir John’, Who Was Who, Oxford University Press, 2012, online edn, www.ukwhoswho.com [accessed 4 August 2013]; The Times, 19 March 1942, p. 7.

13: Scotsman 4 February 1925, p. 7; 9 July 1925, p. 5; Glasgow Herald, 1 January 1936, p. 11; Evening Telegraph, 23 December 1939, p. 3; Scottish Biographies 1938, London: E.J. Thurston, and Glasgow: Jackson, Son & Co (Booksellers), Ltd, 1938, p. 751.

14: Dundee Courier, 22 August 1942, p. 3; Scotsman, 7 May 1929, p. 9; ‘Train, Sir John’, Who Was Who, Oxford University Press, 2012, online edn, www.ukwhoswho.com [accessed 4 August 2013].