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Thomas Graham Abercrombie
Where We Live

Paisley Architects – James Steel Maitland

Paisley Architects – James Steel Maitland (Part 6 of 7)

Although James Steel Maitland is famous for many of the buildings that dominate the Paisley skyline, he was in fact born in Strone, Argyllshire, 27th August 1887.  He did not intend originally to become an architect, however after his parents openly disapproved of his choice to become an artist, he worked with William Leiper and William Hunter McNab.

He studied at the Glasgow School of Art during his apprenticeship with William Leiper.  He then moved to London and took up an unpaid position for 2 years, then moved to Canada.

On his return to Scotland, he began to work for Thomas Graham Maitland.  He worked his way up to partner and the Company became famously known as Abercrombie & Maitland.  He even continued as the sole partner after Abercrombie’s death in 1926 until the practice closed in 1963 and where he did most of his iconic work in Paisley, e.g.:


14 St James Street

14 St James Street


35 High Street

35 High Street

50 High Street

50 High Street

Anchor Recreation Clubhouse

Anchor Recreation Clubhouse.  Used by the Paisley Rugby Club.


Initially used by Cochrane & Sons Arnotts Pendulum Restaurant and Flats

Initially used by Cochrane & Sons (1st image), known locally as the former Arnott’s Department Store Building (2nd image).  This has now been converted to a restaurant at ground level with luxury residential flats above (3rd image).

Dobbies Cigarette Factory

Dobbie’s Ciggarette Factory.

Janitors House - Paisley Grammar

Janitor’s House, Paisley Grammar School.  This is now a private residential house.

Kelvin House

Kelvin House.  Most recently used by the Renfrewshire Social Work Department, but now lies derelict.

RAI Casualty Department RAI Casualty Department

Royal Alexandra Infirmary Casualty Department.  Most of the original building, designed by Thomas Graham Abercrombie have been converted into flats. This section designed by Maitland, remains derelict unfortunately.

Russell Institute Russell Institute

Russell Institute.  Originally used by the NHS, but mainly used nowadays as a business centre.

Having been given a tour of this building, some areas are very creepy, especially the dark nit room with it’s vault like door where children were actually treated in.

West Primary School West Primary School

West Primary School.  Still used today as a primary school.

Woodside Crematorium

Woodside Crematorium.  This is still a crematorium to this day.


Littlecroft.  Maitland designed this as his family home and lived here until he died in 1982, at the age of 95.

To see more posts in this series check out my first post, second post, third post, fourth post or fifth post.

Look out for the last post in the series where I’ll be looking at the work of James Donald.

If you have any questions or comments about any of the properties featured in this post, let us know in the comments below.