James Salmon


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Scots architect. A pupil of William Leiper (1839–1916), he was in partnership in Glasgow with his father, William Forrest Salmon (1843–1911) from c.1890. The firm was joined by John Gaff Gillespie (1870–1926), and became Salmon, Son, & Gillespie until 1913. His work had more in common with Continental Art Nouveau than any of his contemporaries in Scotland (including Mackintosh). While with Leiper, he worked under William James Anderson (1864–1900) on the Italian Gothic Templeton Carpet Factory, Glasgow Green (1888–92), and the François Ier Sun Life Assurance Building, 38–42 Renfield Street, Glasgow (1889–93). Salmon's best building on his own account was the Mercantile Chambers, Bothwell Street (1896–7), at the time one of the largest steel-framed office-blocks in the city, with sculpture by Francis Derwent Wood (1871–1926). He is best remembered for 142–4 St Vincent Street (1898–1900), known as the ‘Hatrack’ because of the peg-like forms of its exterior: in this remarkably complex building, the entire façade of which is cantilevered from an internal steel frame, the external stone dressings are reduced to a minimum, and most of the details are Art Nouveau in style. Other works include elegant restorations at 79 West Regent Street (1900–4). His Lion Chambers, 170–2 Hope Street (1904–6), used reinforced-concrete construction based on the Hennebique system. The firm eventually transmogrified into Gillespie, Kidd, & Coia.

AH, xxv, (1982), 114–19;Das Werk ;A. S. Gray (1985);Gomme & Walker (1987);O'Donnell (2003);RIBA Journal (Journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects), ser. 3, xcvii/8 (Aug. 1990), 35–40;Service (ed.) (1975);Jane Turner (1996)

Subjects: Architecture.

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