Boyd, James Stirling, b. 1874, architect

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Boyd, James Stirling, b. 1874, architect

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b. 1874


James Stirling Boyd was born on 9 September 1874 in the parish of Newbattle, Edinburgh to Thomas Boyd, a joiner, and his wife Jane (nee Stirling). James initially entered his father's trade, but had higher ambitions. As a 21-year-old apprentice joiner, he enrolled at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College (GWSTC), where he pursued evening studies from session 1895-1896 to session 1899-1900. Having taken classes in Building Construction, Architecture, and Architectural Drawing, supplemented by a summer course in Mathematics in session 1902-1903, Boyd gained the GWSTC Course Certificate in Architecture and the GWSTC Course Certificate in Building Construction in 1904.

On 4 August 1899, while still an evening student, Boyd married Catherine Jane Grant, a dressmaker, in Paisley. By this time, he had completed his apprenticeship and was working as a journeyman joiner in Paisley. The couple went on to have two daughters, Catherine, born in 1900, and Jane, born in 1904.

Shortly after his marriage, Boyd became an Assistant Lecturer in Building Construction at Paisley Technical College. On 7 June 1901, he was appointed as Assistant (later Lecturer and Chief Assistant) to Charles Gourlay, Professor of Architecture and Building Construction at the GWSTC. There, Boyd's responsibilities included lecturing on courses in Carpentry and Joinery, Masonry, Brickwork and Building Construction, History of Architecture, Constructive and Historical Design, and Architectural Descriptive Geometry, as well as delivering special courses of lectures on Stereotomy.

Whilst employed at the GWSTC, Boyd spent his summers measuring and sketching the architectural features of various churches in Scotland and England. In 1909, he also spent eight weeks studying and photographing Renaissance architecture in London, at Hampton Court, in Paris and at Versailles. In 1910, he was elected as a Licentiate of the Royal Institute of British Architects (LRIBA), with Gourlay acting as one of his proposers.

During World War I, Boyd served as an Inspector for the Admiralty. In September 1917, the Chairman’s Committee of the Royal Technical College (RTC, formerly known as the GWSTC) considered his position, noting that ‘Mr. Boyd is acting as an Inspector under the Admiralty, and his services are not available to the College except for evening work. It is recommended that payments to him for the current financial year in respect of salary shall bring his total income from the Admiralty and from the College up to £250, provided that the payments from the College shall not exceed £100.'

Boyd resigned from the RTC in September 1918 and subsequently moved to England where he practiced as an architect in Sidcup, Kent. He later lived at 5 Wallace Road, Bath, and at 84 Hill Crescent, Bexley, Kent.


Glasgow, Scotland

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GB 249

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ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2003); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).


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Created by Anne Cameron, May 2023.




  • GB 249 OE/1/1/17: Royal Technical College Board of Governors and Committee Minutes, 1917-1919, pp.37, 94
  • GB 249 OE/11/3/1/8-15: Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College Registers of Students, 1895-1896 – 1902-1903
  • GB 249 OE/11/3/3: Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College/Royal Technical College card index of Certificate, Diploma and Associateship award holders, 1887-1937
  • GB 249 OE/11/3/4: Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College register of Certificate holders, 1887-1908
  • GB 249 OE/6/1/1: Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College/Royal Technical College card index of staff, 1900-1948
  • OE/10/1/27: Royal Technical College Calendar 1913-1914, pp.224-233
  • Dictionary of Scottish Architects, accessed 11 May 2023
  • 1874 BOYD, JAMES STIRLING (Statutory registers Births 695/ 84), accessed via Scotlandspeople, 12 May 2023

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