Charles Whitelaw

Architect; JHKM employee

Charles Edward Whitelaw (1869–1939) was an architect articled to the Glasgow practice of Campbell Douglas & Sellars in 1887. Following Sellars's death in October 1888, Whitelaw accompanied John Keppie to the newly-constituted firm of John Honeyman & Keppie. 1 Payment to him by the firm is first recorded in December 1889. 2 Whitelaw had enrolled as a student at the Glasgow School of Art in August 1887, giving his profession as 'assistant architect', and over the next five years, was awarded prizes in numerous local and national art examinations. He gained certificates in freehand and model drawing and in building construction in 1888 and 1889. 3 In 1889, he won the School's Haldane Bursary. 4 Between 1890 and 1891, Whitelaw took three prizes in national competitions set by the Government's Science and Art Department in South Kensington, for measured drawings and architectural design. He also received a series of awards given to students studying in and around Glasgow, including prizes for a design for a church and studies of ornament. 5 Whitelaw was last paid by John Honeyman & Keppie in January 1891, although he continued at the School of Art, where he gained the Queen's Prize for architectural design in 1892, and passed local classes in design and historic ornament. 6 An unrelated namesake, C. E. Whitelaw, appears in the London Gazette as a newly-appointed government factory inspector in 1893, and his career has sometimes been mistaken for that of the architect. 7

Around 1893–4, Whitelaw spent 15 months at the Atelier Pascal in Paris, as well as travelling in Italy and Germany. On his return, he became chief draughtsman first to T. L. Watson until c. 1896, and then to fellow Atelier-graduate, A. N. Paterson, where he remained until 1899. Paterson also employed two other former John Honeyman & Keppie apprentices, George Andrew Paterson and Donald M. Stoddart. 8

Whitelaw began working on his own account in 1900 at 188 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, and designed Dun Eaglais (1902–3) at Kippen, Stirlingshire ('harled ... Lorimeresque') for the distinguished artist and etcher D. Y. Cameron. 9 He soon entered into partnership with architect Henry Mitchell (1864–1932), another ex-Sellars and former John Honeyman & Keppie employee. 10 Mitchell had been in practice with T. L. Watson, at 166 Bath Street, next door to Whitelaw's family home at 168. 11 Although there has been some confusion about the sequence of both Mitchell's and Watson's different partnerships, T. L. Watson and Henry Mitchell dissolved their firm by mutual consent on 11 January 1902. 12 Whitelaw was immediately able to form 'Mitchell & Whitelaw', and worked from 219 Bath Street from 1903 until about 1914. 13

In parallel with his architectural career, Whitelaw became a noted expert on Scottish ecclesiastical and military architecture, becoming a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland around 1902. He lectured on church archaeology, and became a secretary of the Society in 1906, working alongside such highly-respected figures as Sir John Stirling Maxwell of Pollok and Lord Balcarres M.P. 14 Whitelaw and Mitchell were both elected to the Glasgow Institute of Architects in 1907, among the first members of the newly-created membership category of 'Fellows'. This was defined as being 'architects in practice [having completed] at least six years as pupils or assistants'. They were also admitted to the Royal Institute of British Architects in April 1911, among the numerous nominations to the R.I.B.A. made during John Bennie Wilson's presidency of the Glasgow Institute. 15

Mitchell & Whitelaw designed numerous villas in Helensburgh. These included 'six Easterhill Road villas, 1907–12 ... Scots Renaissance', sited to tempt purchasers wishing to join the adjacent golf course, whose clubhouse (1908) was also designed by the practice. 16 They worked on two ships' interiors for the Allan Line, the S.S. Californian and S.S. Virginian, as well as Beulah Lodge (1906), and house extensions at 116 West King Street (1910) both in Helensburgh. They were also feuing land at King's Park in Stirling (1906), possibly hoping to be commissioned to build on them. 17

The executors of Whitelaw's father had owned a Glasgow city-centre corner property at 150–2 Wellington Street and 147–163 Sauchiehall Street, which his Trustees (i.e. Charles, his brother and David Murray, the family lawyer) redeveloped in 1908. 18 This was a valuable commercial site, immediately adjoining the busy department store of Copland & Lyle, the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, and the thriving retail premises of Pettigrew & Stephens. The building was reconstructed as a warehouse and later (1912) converted into a cinema.

The architectural partnership ceased around 1914. Whitelaw had moved to Rhu, near Helensburgh, by mid-1915. He continued practising under his own name, from 141 Bath Street, Glasgow, between c. 1915 until 1919 and developed his historical pursuits. 19 He had 'written on Scottish arms [weapons] in his notes for the exhibitio[n] held in Edinburgh in 1908', and theorized about 'the arrangement of an ideal National Historical Museum based on his experience in organising the remarkable Palace of History at the Scottish Exhibition in Glasgow', in 1911. 20 Whitelaw was one of the campaigners for the preservation of Provand's Lordship, the oldest house in Glasgow, and cottages in Water Row, Govan Ferry. He also raised funds to restore Whitekirk Church after a fire, and assisted in 'the extensive exploration of the vitrified [Iron Age] fort at Dunagoil, Bute' in 1914 and 1919, for Buteshire Natural History Society. 21

In December 1921, Whitelaw married Eliza 'Leila' Graham Callander, of Almondbank, Perth, the sister of one of his antiquarian colleagues, John Graham Callander. Callander was director of the National Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh from 1919–38, an institution which benefited greatly from Whitelaw's generosity. 22 Whitelaw lent '233 objects ... Highland broadswords, dirks, pistols ... [and] Luckenbooth brooches' to the Museum in 1929; the loan was converted into a bequest which 'greatly enriched' the national holdings. He also gifted carved 16th-century woodwork from Stirling Castle to the government, to be put on display in the Castle. 23 Whitelaw wrote for both the academic community and the general public, publishing, for example, an important 'Treatise on Scottish Hand Firearms' in 1923 and a newspaper article on the bronze trophies of arms at the Scottish National War Memorial in 1930. 24

Whitelaw died on 17 November 1939. 25 He bequeathed part of his valuable weapons collection to Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow, matching his gifts to Edinburgh. 'Whitelaw had a passion for exact knowledge', and undertook archive research to unearth overlooked gunmakers and silversmiths. 'He did not accumulate objects for the pleasure of possess[ion]', but to make them 'as representative and instructive as possible', showing his altruism by sharing his enthusiasm with the public. 26

Notes:

1: David Stark, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Co., Catrine, Ayrshire: Stenlake Publishing, 2004, pp. 139–41; 'Charles Edward Whitelaw', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 11 May 2014].

2: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: John Honeyman& Keppie / Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh / Keppie Henderson cash book, 1889–1917, GLAHA 53079, p. 4.

3: Student Registers, information kindly provided by the Glasgow School of Art Archives, 12 March 2014.

4: Student Registers, information kindly provided by the Glasgow School of Art Archives, 12 March 2014.

5: Student Registers, information kindly provided by the Glasgow School of Art Archives, 12 March 2014.

6: Student Registers, information kindly provided by the Glasgow School of Art Archives, 12 March 2014; The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: John Honeyman& Keppie / Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh / Keppie Henderson cash book, 1889–1917, GLAHA 53079, p.10.

7: London Gazette, 12 May 1893, p. 2759; 16 May 1893, p. 2838; Edinburgh Gazette, 18 June 1907, p. 632.

8: 'Charles Edward Whitelaw' and 'Alexander Nisbet Paterson', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 11 May 2014]; David Stark, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Co., Catrine, Ayrshire: Stenlake Publishing, 2004, p. 206.

9: John Gifford, F. A. Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Stirling and Central Scotland, London: Yale University Press, 2002, p. 563.

10: Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1900–1, p. 641; 'Charles Edward Whitelaw', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 11 May 2014];.

11: Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1901–2, pp. 637, 647, 692.

12: Edinburgh Gazette, 6 June 1902, p. 569.

13: Incorrectly listed as 'William E. Whitelaw, Architect', Valuation Roll 1905–6, Govan and Gorbals, Glasgow Burgh, VR102/577/196, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 11 May 2014]; Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1903–4, pp. 454, 650; 1914–15, p. 701.

14: Evening Telegraph, 10 January 1902, p. 5; Scotsman, 1 December 1906, p. 1; Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1902–3, p. 652.

15: Scotsman, 19 December 1907, p. 6; 'Glasgow Institute of Architects', The Scottish Architects' and Measurers' Companion, Glasgow: Hoxton & Walsh, 1911, p. 17; 'Charles Edward Whitelaw', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 11 May 2014].

16: F. A. Walker, Fiona Sinclair, North Clyde Estuary: An Illustrated Architectural Guide, Edinburgh: RIAS, 1992, p. 83; F. A. Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Argyll and Bute, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2000, pp. 274, 287.

17: 'Charles Edward Whitelaw: Architect Biography Report', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk, [accessed 11 May 2014]; Scotsman, May 16, 1906, p. 2.

18: J. T. Whitelaw, Inventory Reg. 16 February 1887, Glasgow Sheriff Court SC36/48/116, pp. 616, 624, 626; 'James T Whitelaw's Trustees', Valuation Roll 1906–7, Glasgow Burgh, VR102/570/20, and VR102/570/50–1, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 14 May 2014].

19: 'Owner: C. E. Whitelaw', House, Easterhill Road, Row, 1915 Owner, Valuation Rolls 1915–16, Row Parish, Dunbartonshire, VR96/61/16, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 11 May 2014]; Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1914–15, p. 701; 1919–20, p. 668.

20: Ludovic M. Mann, 'Authority on Scots Weapons: An Appreciation', Glasgow Herald, 20 November 1939, p. 9; R. B. K. Stevenson, 'The Museum, its Beginnings and its Development', in A. S. Bell, ed., The Scottish Antiquarian Tradition, Edinburgh: John Donald, 1981, p. 174.

21: Ludovic M. Mann, 'Authority on Scots Weapons: An Appreciation', Glasgow Herald, 20 November 1939, p. 9; Scotsman, 9 May 1914, p. 1; 5 April 1940, p. 5.

22: Scotsman, 17 December 1921, p. 16; Aberdeen Journal, 17 December 1921, p. 3; R. B. K. Stevenson, 'The Museum, its Beginnings and its Development', in A. S. Bell, ed., The Scottish Antiquarian Tradition, Edinburgh: John Donald, 1981, pp. 186, 278.

23: Scotsman, 15 April 1924, p. 8; 5 April 1940, p. 5; 2 December 1940, p. 3.

24: C. E. Whitelaw, 'A Treatise on Scottish Hand Firearms', in H. J. Jackson, European Hand Firearms of the Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, London: Philip Lee Warner, 1923; Scotsman, 24 February 1930, p. 8.

25: Scotsman, 26 August 1939, p. 20; 18 November 1939, p. 16; Glasgow Herald, 18 November 1939, p. 1; Statutory Deaths, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 11 May 2014].

26: Glasgow Herald, 20 November 1939, p. 9; Scotsman, 5 April 1940, p. 5; 17 September 1940, p. 4; 2 December 1940, p. 3.