If you’ve ever been to Paisley, chances are you have noticed the work of one of our best known architects, James Steel Maitland.
Maitland was born in Strone, Argyllshire on 27th August 1887. He attended Kilblain Academy in Greenock and Glasgow School of Art. Not long after the end of his apprenticeship, Maitland joined Brown and Vallance in Montreal (Brown was the cousin of the Browns in Brown and Polson). During this time he worked on the Herald Building and the Bleury Building, both in Montreal. Maitland went to New York to learn to fly after the outbreak of World War 1, and subsequently joined the British Royal Naval Air Service. He was awarded the Air Force Cross on 1st January 1919.
After a break from architecture in 1920 he became Principal Assistant at the Paisley office of Thomas Graham Abercrombie. He became partner in 1923, then sole partner in 1926 following Abercrombie’s death. The practice closed in 1963, and Maitland lived in Paisley until his death on 27th February 1982.
His most notable local works include the Russell Institute, the former Arnotts’ building in Gauze Street, Kelvin House, 50 High Street (now Deli Malatso) and Woodside Crematorium. He also became Burgh Architect for Renfrew in the 30s and designed numerous properties in Moorpark housing scheme.
Article thanks to Jean-Marie Stewart