Burnet, John James

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Burnet, John James Gender: M
born on 31 May 1857 at 18:30 (= 6:30 PM )
Place Glasgow, Scotland, 55n53, 4w15
Timezone GMT h0e (is standard time)
Data source
Quoted BC/BR
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Wright
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_gemcol.18.gif 10°11' s_mo.18.gif s_vircol.18.gif 24°00 Asc.s_scocol.18.gif 17°49'


Scottish Edwardian architect who was noted for a number of prominent buildings in Glasgow and London.

He joined the architectural practice of his father, John Burnet. When hsi father retired, the younger Burnet took the practice in a more adventurous direction, looking towards the London architectural scene to keep abreast of fashion and to increase their chances of winning national competitions (which usually had London assessors). The dramatic shift in style, which became known as Burnet Baroque, did not always meet with favour. "Burnet Baroque" was highly influential; competitors quickly assimilated the new vogue for Neo-Baroque and by 1900 it was the common language of Glasgow building, and even influenced the winning design of the North British Hotel by William Hamilton Beattie. In 1896, Burnet submitted designs to the competition to build the Glasgow School of Art; he was not successful, the commission instead being handed to a flourishing young designer called Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

In 1902, Burnet recruited a promising young architect called Thomas Smith Tait to be his assistant. Tait later became a partner in the firm and went on to be one of the most influential architects in the British Modern architecture movement.

In 1903-04 the Office of Works selected Burnet to design the Edward VII Galleries at the British Museum in London. In 1905 Burnet opened a London office, taking the young Tait with him. The prestigious work on the British Museum brought in new commissions for Burnet's practice: the General Buildings in Aldwych (1909–11) and the Kodak Building on Kingsway (1910–11). This latter project was a significant milestone for the firm; the American client, George Eastman, was not afraid of a modern design, and after rejecting several design proposals drawn up by Burnet, eventually selected a design submitted by Thomas S. Tait which was to serve as a model for future developments by the firm.

The advent of the First World War brought a time of hardship for Burnet's practice, and during this period a disagreement resulted in Tait leaving the practice to work in America. After the war, the London office began to receive commissions once more, including work on completing the Selfridges department store on Oxford Street. The Imperial War Graves Commission also commissioned war memorials from Burnet's firm in Gallipoli, Palestine and Suez (1919). Burnet took a leading role in the design of the memorials and in the work on Adelaide House, London Bridge. His health was deteriorating, however; stress-related eczema, brought on by wartime hardship, professional disagreements and financial scandals in the Glasgow office, made it hard for him to work. Thomas Tait had returned to the practice after a reconciliation, and he began to take a leading role in the practice.

For further information, see http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=200088

Link to Wikipedia



Source Notes

Paul Wright quotes birth record


  • Lifestyle : Work : Stressful work
  • Vocation : Building Trades : Architect/ Planner
  • Notable : Awards : Knighted
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession