James Gillespie Graham

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For other people named James Graham, see James Graham (disambiguation).
Graham's Blythswood House, Glasgow. Home of the Lords Blythswood it was demolished in 1935.
James Gillespie Graham's Edinburgh townhouse, at 34 Albany Street

James Gillespie Graham (1776–1855) was a Scottish architect, prominent in the early 19th century.


He was born in Dunblane on 11 June 1776, the son of Malcolm Gillespie, a solicitor. He was christened simply as James Gillespie[1]

He is most notable for his work in the Scottish baronial style, as at Ayton Castle, and he also worked in the Gothic Revival style, in which he was heavily influenced by the work of Augustus Pugin. However, he also worked successfully in the neoclassical style as exemplified in his design of Blythswood House near Glasgow.

Graham designed principally country houses and churches. He is also well known for his interior design, his most noted work in this respect being that at Taymouth Castle and Hopetoun House.

Some of his principal churches include St Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow, and St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral and the Highland Tolbooth Church (now The Hub) in Edinburgh. His houses include Cambusnethan House in Lanarkshire.

He was also responsible for laying out the Drumsheugh area of Edinburgh's New Town, and for the design of Hamilton Square and adjoining streets in the then new town of Birkenhead, England. According to the writer Frank Arneil Walker he may have been responsible for the remodelling of Johnstone Castle, Renfrewshire.[2]

In the 1830s he is recorded as living at 34 Albany Street in the eastern New Town in Edinburgh.[3]

He died in Edinburgh on 11 March 1855 after a four-year illness.

He is buried in the sealed south-west section of Greyfriars Kirkyard generally called the Covenanter's Prison together with his wife and other family members.


In 1815 he married Margaret Ann Graham, daughter of a wealthy landowner, William Graham of Orchill (d.1825) in Perthshire.[4] On 1825, on the death of his wife's father, they inherited his large country estate and James thereafter became known as James Gillespie Graham.[5]

James had two daughters by Margaret who died in 1826, soon after the inheritance.

James secondly married Elizabeth Campbell, daughter of Major John Campbell of the 76th Regiment of Foot.

Principal Works[edit]


Tolbooth Kirk Edinburgh (now The Hub)
The west front of Crawford Priory as it is today.
Torrisdale Castle
19–34 Hamilton Square, Birkenhead

See also[edit]

Media related to James Gillespie Graham at Wikimedia Commons