J C McKellar was one of the foremost tenement architects in Glasgow, designing about 640 tenements between 1890 and 1910. He also operated his own building company, John C McKellar Ltd, which was vigorously entrepreneurial. This company was very successful in building tenements in such places as Crossmyloof and Maryhill. This portrait of J C McKellar is from the Mitchell Library, Glasgow Room. Biographical notes have been written by Nicholas Morgan.
His architectural practice produced the designs for three-quarters of the tenements in Hyndland, including our DACT block, and most of the properties in Clarence Drive, Queensborough Gardens, Polwarth Street, Lauderdale Gardens and Falkland Street.
Wishing to improve the lot of the working classes, and believing in home ownership, he devised a highly innovative plan to encourage tenants to buy their own homes with a deposit and quarterly payments - unheard of in Scotland at the time.
Unfortunately deepening economic recession and the 1909 Finance Act struck at the roots of his tenement building culture, and his building programmes more or less stopped, along with many others in Scotland at the time.
After the First War, he declined to participate in building the new local authority housing schemes, which he strongly disapproved of, but which would have proved financially advantageous. He remained a prominent Conservative and member of the property-owning lobby in Scotland until his death in March 1941.
John Short, Alex Adam, Andrew Mickel, Kenneth and Benzie produced designs in the early years. John Nisbet worked on Novar Drive and in part of Airlie Street, he was joined by C J MacNair.
J C McKellar designed about three-quarters of Hyndland between 1898 and 1910 for three building companies: the Western Property Company, Duncanson and Henderson, and Robert McCowat. In 1901, John Duncanson and John Henderson each held 33% of the shares in the Western Property Company.