Biography of John Burnet Sr
John Burnet Sr
John Burnet Sr (1814-1901) was a Scottish architect known for designing the University's John McIntyre Building, Dumbarton Lodge, Gymnasium and the Western Infirmary.
John Burnet was born at Craighead House, Kirk o' Shotts in 1814, the son of Lieutenant George Burnet of the Kirkcudbright and Galloway Militia, and his wife Margaret Wardlaw. He was educated at Dunipace Parish School, apprenticed as a carpenter, and moved on to architecture through experience as a clerk of works.
In 1843 Burnet commenced his own practice working on free churches at Shandon, Alloa and Clackmannan, all in a simple round-arched Italian style and in 1845 he married Elizabeth Hay Bennet. He rose in prominence in the mid-1850s with the design of Elgin Place Church, the Clapperton/Middeton warehouse in Miller Street, and Madeira Court on Argyle Street. His practice flourished partly due to success in limited competitions and he may have had good connections among the Glasgow merchants and shipowners for whom he designed large baronial houses at Auchendennan, Arden, Kildalton and the giant Kilmahew in the mid-1860s. He was also considered an accomplished Gothic designer most notably for his design of Woodland Church and the Glasgow Stock Exchange.
Burnet was elected FRIBA on 4 December 1876, his proposers being John Honeyman, John Macvicar Anderson and Wyatt Papworth, editor of the Architectural Publication Society's Dictionary.
In 1882 Burnet took his son, Sir John James Burnet, into partnership, calling the practice John Burnet & Son. On 13 August 1886 John Archibald Campbell was taken into the partnership changing the practice title to John Burnet Son & Campbell.
John Burnet Sr retired in 1889 or 1890 at the age of seventy-five. Outwith the office his interests were sketching and fishing. He died in Glasgow on 15 January 1901.