Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Architect, of Belfast. William John Gilliland was born on 27 March 1855, the son of John Gilliland, grocer, of Monkstown, Co. Antrim.(1) He was educated at the Royal Academical Institution, Belfast, and articled to THOMAS JACKSON  THOMAS JACKSON in Belfast from 1872 to 1876. From 1876 to 1879 he worked in the office of Edward Banks and William Doubleday in Woverhampton and also in Doubleday's Birmingham office. On his return to Belfast in 1879 he commenced independent practice as an architect and engineer. He also attended classes in Natural Philosophy at Queen's University, Belfast, during the academic year 1879-1880 as a non-matriculated student.(2) Throughout his career he was engaged mainly in commercial and industrial projects. No ecclesiastical work by him is recorded, although in 1895 he adjudicated the competition for designing All Souls Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church in Elmwood Avenue, Belfast.(3) The Irish Builder records very little domestic work. His engineering expertise was called upon in at least one lawsuit, that of Henderson v. McTear at the Belfast Spring Assizes in 1904, when he charged a fee of five guineas a day for appearing as a witness.(4)

Gilliland was an energetic man,(5) who was active in public life in Belfast. He was a founder member of the Ulster Society of Architects and in 1906 promoted the formation of the joint art committee of that society, the Belfast Art Society and the Ulster Arts Club.(6) of which he became chairman. He lectured to various bodies on architectural and building subjects.(7) By 1912 he had become a city councillor for Victoria Ward(8) and as such showed a particular interest in the building of an art gallery and museum in Belfast.(9) He was elected vice-chairman of the corporation's library and technical instruction committee in 1914.(10) A friend or acquaintance, writing in the Irish Builder after Gilliland's death in 1929, describes him as an individualist, who had 'abounding confidence in himself and no confidence whatever in architectural bodies', which is perhaps surprising after his involvement in the beginnings of the RSUA. 'But he had a kindly heart,' the same friend writes, 'and his wishes for the improvement of Belfast were very sincere.'

Gilliland died in 1929.(11) He was married to Elizabeth, daughter of George Jamieson, of Belfast, but had no children. His pupils or asssistants included ADAM BUNYAN DOBSON ADAM BUNYAN DOBSON , HERBERT JOHN GOSKAR HERBERT JOHN GOSKAR , CHARLES WILLIAM MAXWELL  CHARLES WILLIAM MAXWELL and C.F.W. PRICE.& PRICE.& #160;  He was a subscriber to George Lister Sutcliffe, The Principles and Practice of Modern House-Construction (London, 1898).


Belfast Architectural Association: won First Prize in Classes 5 and 6 of Association's competition, 1876;(12) lecture on 'Warming and Ventilation', 13 Mar 1876.(13)
RIAI: elected member, 5 Feb 1894, proposed by ROBERT WATT  ROBERT WATT and seconded by A.E. MURRAY MURRAY ;(14) council member, 1904,1905;(15) had ceased membership by 1906.(16) RIBA: elected fellow, 1905.(17)
RIBA: elected fellow, 5 June 1905, having been proposed by THOMAS DREW THOMAS DREW , VINCENT CRAIG  VINCENT CRAIG and FREDERICK TULLOCH. FREDERICK TULLOCH.
RSUA: founder member, 1901;(18) vice-president, 1901; president, 1904,1905,1908,1909;(19) member of deputation to Senate of Queen's University, Belfast, which proposed that design for new buildings for Queen's should be open to competition;(20) lecture on 'Reinforced Concrete' 20 Feb 1911.(21)
Ulster Arts Club: exhibited designs at exhibition, 1903;(22) president, 1905;(23) lecture on 'The Genesis and Development of Art and Architecture', 13 Apr 1904.(24)

Addresses: Donegall Sq W, 1880;(25) Lombard St;(26) Royal Ave, 1890;(27) 74 Royal Ave Belfast, 1894-1898;(28) 9 Howard St, 1901-1916;(29) 8 Waring St, <=1920->=1922;(30) 43 Waring St, 1924.(31)
Home: Ardmore, Holywood, Co. Down, 1910.

See WORKS.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from R.M. Young, Belfast and the Province of Ulster in the 20th Century (1909), 599, which is illustrated with a portrait photograph, and from Directory of British Architects 1834-1914 (RIBA 2001), I, 728. A brief obituary of Gilliland is in IB 71, 28 Sep 1929, 869. Another (not seen) is in B 137, 13 Sep 1929, 418. His signature is reproduced in RIBAJ 12 (1904-5), 115.

(1) Information from Miss Hilda McDowell, Student Records Office, Queen's University of Belfast, in letter of 24 Oct 1996.
(2) See note 1, above.
(3) B 68, ? ? 1895, 127.
(4) IB 47, 2 Dec 1905, ?.
(5) IB 71, 28 Sep 1929, 869.
(6) IB 48, 24 Feb 1906, ?.
(7) See below, under Belfast Architectural Association, RSUA and Ulster Arts Club; other lectures include 'Statutory Registration and Education of Architects', given to the AAI, 13 Mar 1906 (IB 24 Mar 1906, 217) and 'The Housing problem in Belfast' delivered at Mountpottinger YMCA in 1920.(IB 62, 19 Jun 1920, 418).
(8) He was still a councillor in 1918 but had ceased to be one by 1921.
(9) Building News, 17 May 1912, 702; 22 Aug 1913, 254.
(10) IB 56, 6 Jun 1914, 359; Building News, 12 Jun 1914, 831.
(11) An architectural practice carrying his name appears to have continued at 43 Waring Street at least until 1940, see addresses of R.A. Veitch.
(12) IB 18, 15 May 1876, 142.
(13) B 34, 25 Mar 1876, 298.
(14) RIAI council meeting minutes, 15 Jan,5 Feb 1894, 309.
(15) RIAI list of members 1904,1905.
(16) RIAI list of members, 1906.
(17) IB 47, 17 Jun 1905, 405.
(18) See IB 43, 16 Jan 1901, ?.
(19) RSUA Jubilee Yearbook 1951-1952, 5,17.
(20) IB 51, 17 Apr 1909, 225.
(21) IB 53, 4 Mar 1911, 146,150.
(22) IB 45, 3 Dec 1903, 3010.
(23) IB 47, 22 Apr 1905, 258.
(24) IB 46, 23 Apr 1904, 246, which says that lecture was given to 'Belfast Arts Club'. This might be either the Ulster Arts Club of the Belfast Arts Society.
(25) Marcus Patton, Central Belfast: an historical gazetteer (UAHS, 1993), 121.
(26) Information from J.A.K. Dean re drawings for gates and lodges at Finnebrogue, Co. Down.
(27) IB 32, 15 Dec 1890, 295.
(28) RIAI council meeting minutes, 5 Feb 1894, 309; RIAI list of members, 1898.
(29) RIAI list of members, 1901; IB 58, 29 Jan 1916, 53.
(30) Marcus Patton, Central Belfast: an historical gazetteer (UAHS, 1993), 122; IB 64, 11 Feb 1922, 86.
(31) IB 66, 20 Sep 1924, 822;IB 74, 19 Nov 1932, 1048.


60 work entries listed in chronological order for GILLILAND, WILLIAM JOHN


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Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, CRUMLIN ROAD, METHODIST CHURCH
Date: 1884
Nature: 'about to be fitted with Renton Gibbs' Patent Heating Apparatus, accoarding to the plans of Mr J. Gilliland, architect'.
Refs: IB 26, 15 Feb 1884, 46

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ROYAL AVENUE, NO. 072-74 (GRESHAM CHAMBERS)
Date: 1887
Nature: 4-storey red terracotta, for Gresham Life Assurance Co.
Refs: Drawing exh. Ulster Arts Club archt exhibition, 1903, see IB 45, 3 Dec 1903, 3010; Marcus Patton, Central Belfast: an historical gazetteer (UAHS, 1993), 288.

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, HIGH STREET, SHOPS & PREMISES
Date: 1888
Nature: New. For William F. Curley.
Refs: PRONI, W.H. Stephens & Sons papers, D1898/1/4

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ORMEAU ROAD, ORMEAU BAKERY
Date: 1888
Nature: Bakehouse, for Robert Wilson.
Refs: PRONI, W.H. Stephens & Sons papers, D1898/1/5

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, HIGH STREET, NO. 016
Date: 1888-89
Nature: 'probably by W.J. Gilliland for Francis Curley'
Refs: Marcus Patton, Central Belfast: an historical gazetteer (UAHS, 1993), 190

Building: CO. DOWN, FINNEBROGUE
Date: 1888ca
Nature: Main entrance lodge, for Maj. R.P. Maxwell.
Refs: Drawings for gates and lodges, signed W.J. Gilliland, Lombard Street, Belfast, in collection of ? (information from J.A.K. Dean superseding information in The Gate Lodges of Ulster (UAHS, 1994), 75)

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, HIGH STREET (& CHURCH LANE), WILLIAM REID & SONS
Date: 1890
Nature: Enlargement and improvement 'more apparent...internally han externally'. Contractor: Robert Corry, Donegall Pass.
Refs: IB 42, 15 Dec 1890, 295

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, VICTORIA STREET (& TOWNHALL STREET), WAREHOUSE (MARSHALL)
Date: 1891
Nature: New warehouse.
Refs: PRONI, W.H. Stephens & Sons papers, D1898/1/9

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, VICTORIA SQUARE, NO. 036-40
Date: 1893
Nature: 4-storey warehouse for T.& J. McErvel, seed merchants, extended 1897.
Refs: Marcus Patton, Central Belfast: an historical gazetteer (UAHS, 1993), 291(illus.),318

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, CRUMLIN ROAD, PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH SCHOOL
Date: 1893-98
Nature: New schools behind church on Tennent /Langley Sts.
Refs: PRONI, W.H. Stephens & Sons papers, D1898/1/14

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ANNADALE, HOUSE
Date: 1894
Nature: Villa for Alexander McCann.
Refs: PRONI, W.H. Stephens & Sons papers, D1898/1/15.

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ORMEAU ROAD, STABLES & STORES
Date: 1894
Nature: -
Refs: PRONI, W.H. Stephens & Sons papers, D1898/1/5

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ANNSBORO' STREET, NELSON MEMORIAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Date: 1894
Nature: New Italianate church in red sandstone. Building and site given by Miss Mary Nelson in memory of her brother, Rev. Isaac Nelson (d.1888).  Opened, 12 May 1896.
Refs: PRONI, W.H. Stephens & Sons papers, D1898/1/16;  Laurence Kirkpatrick, Presbyterians in Ireland: an illustrated history (Booklink, 2006),

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, CROMAC STREET, BAKERY (J. MCWATTERS)
Date: 1894-1910
Nature: New? bakery & adds., for J. McWatters. Builder of adds., 1909: Courtney & Co. (Demolished, 1981)
Refs: PRONI, W.H. Stephens & Sons papers, D1898/1/17; IB 51, 9 Jan 1909, 18

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ANN STREET (& POTTINGER'S ENTRY), PREMISES
Date: 1895
Nature: New premises, for James Lowden, Esq.
Refs: PRONI, W.H. Stephens & Sons papers, D1898/1/20

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ORMEAU ROAD, HOUSES & SHOPS
Date: 1896
Nature: -
Refs: PRONI, W.H. Stephens & Sons papers, D1898/1/5

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, LAWNBROOK AVENUE, WAREHOUSE AND OFFICES
Date: 1898
Nature: Nearly complete. £5,000.
Refs: IB 40, 15 Jan 1898, 16

Building: CO. DOWN, ROSTREVOR, GLENMORE HOTEL
Date: 1899
Nature: Alts. & adds. Builder: Courtney & Co.
Refs: IB 42, 15 Jan 1900, 246

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, MAY STREET, STABLES & SMITHY
Date: 1899
Nature: For John Boyd Dunlop. Builder: Courtney & Co.
Refs: IB 42, 15 Jan 1900, 246; Marcus Patton, Central Belfast: an historical gazetteer (UAHS, 1993), 230

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, NORTH STREET, SHOPS & WAREHOUSE
Date: 1899
Nature: Builder: Courtney & Co.
Refs: IB 42, 15 Jan 1900, 246

Building: CO. DOWN, BALLYNACRAIG (DOWNPATRICK), INCH RECTORY
Date: 1901-1905
Nature: Additions and alterations. For Robert Perceval-Maxwell.
Refs: Correspondence, estimates, receipts, 1901-1905, in PRONI, Perceval-Maxwell Papers, D2480/3/A (see PRONI e-catalogue,http://applications.proni.gov.uk/LL_DCAL_PRONI_ECATNI/ResultDetails.aspx , last visited Nov 2011.)

Building: CO. ARMAGH, BESSBROOK, ENGINE HOUSE
Date: 1903
Nature: New.
Refs: Bessbrook [1945], pp.41-42

Building: CO. ANTRIM, CARRICKFERGUS, FACTORY (WOODBURN)
Date: 1903
Nature: Erection of factory recently destroyed by fire. Contractor: McLaughlin & Harvey, £6,000-£7,000.
Refs: IB 45, 9 Apr 1903, 1700

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ORMEAU BAKERY
Date: 1906
Nature: Enlargement. Builders: H.& J.Martin.
Refs: IB 48, 19 May 1906, 414

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, HIGH STREET, NO. 070-74 (IMPERIAL BUILDINGS)
Date: 1906-7
Nature: 4-storey, stone and red brick. Partly rebuilt following bomb damage in 1941.
Refs: Marcus Patton, Central Belfast: an historical gazetteer (UAHS, 1993), 191

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, RAVENHILL AVENUE, NO. 093 (UNITED CO-OP BAKING SOCIETY)
Date: 1906;1926
Nature: New bakery of fireproof construction, opened 16 Apr 1906. Contractor: W.J. Campbell & Son, Belfast. Adds. 1926.
Refs: B 90, 28 Apr 1906, 471; IB 53, 27 May 1911, 361; 74, 68, 25 Dec 1926, 956; 74, 19 Nov 1932, 1048

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ELMWOOD AVENUE, ALL SOULS UNITARIAN CHURCH HALL
Date: 1907-1908
Nature: FS laid 9 May 1908. Opened 3 Oct 1908. Contractor: W.J.Campbell & Son, belfast.
Refs: IB 49, 2 Nov 1907, 754; 50, 16 May,17 Oct 1908, 309,639; 51, 9 Jan 1909, 18; B 94, 16 May 1908, 579; A.J. Rowan & C.E.B. Brett, Queen's University (UAHS, revised edition 1975), 27,40(illus.)

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, CHICHESTER STREET, WAREHOUSE
Date: 1908
Nature: Tenders received for erection of same.
Refs: IB 50, 11 Jul 1908, 437

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, CHICHESTER STREET, WAREHOUSE
Date: 1908
Nature: Tenders received 3 Jul 1908.
Refs: IB 50, 11 Jul 1908, 437

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, AVA STREET, BAKERY
Date: 1909
Nature: Extensive adds., for Robert Wilson. Builder: Courtney & Co.
Refs: IB 51, 9 Jan 1909, 18

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, BROUGHAM STREET, SHOP
Date: 1911
Nature: Reconstruction of house to make shop. For Belfast Co-Op Soceity.
Refs: IB 53, 1 Apr,27 May 1911, 209,362

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, DONEGALL ROAD, BELFAST CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY
Date: 1911
Nature: Tenders invited for new premises, Feb 1911. New plans decided upon, May 1911.
Refs: IB 53, 18 Feb,27 May,10 Jun 1911, 113,361,398

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, DONEGALL ROAD, SHOPS, STORES & HOUSES (002)
Date: 1911
Nature: -
Refs: IA&C 1, 11 Mar 1911, 88

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ?, RELIABLE FLOUR MILLS
Date: 1912
Nature: New. For James Neill Ltd.
Refs: IB 54, 17 Aug 1912, 483

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, CASTLE STREET, SHOP & STORE PREMISES
Date: 1914
Nature: Builder: Courtney & Co.
Refs: IB 56, 1 Aug 1914, 475

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, HENRY STREET, PREMISES (JAMES MCCAUGHEY & CO.)
Date: 1915-16
Nature: -
Refs: Builder: Thornbury Bros, Ravenhill Rd, Belfast.

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, MAY STREET, NO. 079-81 (WOODWORKERS' HALL)
Date: 1916-20
Nature: 2-storey, single bay, Arts & Crafts style, for Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers.
Refs: Marcus Patton, Central Belfast: an historical gazetteer (UAHS, 1993), 233

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, PETER'S HILL, PUBLIC BATHS
Date: 1920-24
Nature: Extension.
Refs: IB 62, 18 Dec 1920, 777; 64, 11 Feb 1922, 8666, 20 Sep 1924, 822; 74, 24 Sep 1932, 858

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, QUEEN STREET, NO. 001-5
Date: 1920ca
Nature: 3-storey brick warehouse.
Refs: Marcus Patton, Central Belfast: an historical gazetteer (UAHS, 1993), 271

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, CROMAC STREET, SHOP & SHOWROOM
Date: 1924
Nature: Reconstruction.
Refs: IB 66, 12 Jan 1924, 25

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, BALMORAL INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL
Date: 1925
Nature: Sanitary accommodation.
Refs: IB 67, 11 Jul 1925, 554

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, LISBURN ROAD, HOUSES (016)
Date: 1925
Nature: 6 villas.
Refs: IB 67, 8 Aug 1925, 649

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, MACART ROAD, STORE
Date: 1925
Nature: -
Refs: IB 67, 3 Oct 1925, 818

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, MUSGRAVE PARK, BOWLING GREEN PAVILION
Date: 1925
Nature: -
Refs: IB 67, 11 Jul 1925, 554

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, PERCY STREET, FLOUR MILL
Date: 1925
Nature: ?By WJG.
Refs: IB 67, 8 Aug 1925, 649

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, AVA AVENUE, ORMEAU BAKERY
Date: 1926
Nature: Adds. Plans approved by City Surveyor.
Refs: IB 68, 6 May 1926, 178

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, FEDERATION STREET, UNITED CO-OPERATIVE BAKING SOCIETY
Date: 1926
Nature: Stores. Plans approved by City Surveyor.
Refs: IB 68, 25 Dec 1926, 956

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, BURMAH STREET, PREMISES
Date: 1927
Nature: Adds.
Refs: IB 71, 17 Aug 1927, 747

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, FEDERATION STREET, BELFAST CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY
Date: 1927
Nature: Adds., for United Co-Op Society. Plans approved by City Surveyor.
Refs: IB 69, 11 Jun 1927, 435

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, GREAT GEORGE'S STREET, MUNSTER, SIMMS & CO.
Date: 1927
Nature: Alts. & adds. to store.
Refs: IB 69, 19 Feb 1927, 122

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, HENRIETTA STREET, PREMISES
Date: 1927
Nature: Alts., for Felix O'Hagan. Plans approved by City Surveyor.
Refs: IB 69, 14 May 1927, 358

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, EXCHANGE STREET, PREMISES
Date: 1928
Nature: Adds.
Refs: IB 70, 4 Feb 1928, 110

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, GREAT GEORGE'S STREET, OIL TANK FOUNDATION
Date: 1928
Nature: Foundation for 6 oil tanks.
Refs: IB 70, 27 Oct 1928, 923

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, ROSAPENNA PARADE, HOUSES (008)
Date: 1928
Nature: ?By WJG.
Refs: IB 70, 15 Sep 1928, 796

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, UNION PLACE, OIL TANKS (005)
Date: 1928
Nature: -
Refs: IB 70, 15 Sep 1928, 796

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, VICTORIA STREET, STORES
Date: 1928
Nature: Adds.
Refs: IB 70, 12 May 1928, 420

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, EXCHANGE STREET, STORES
Date: 1929
Nature: -
Refs: IB 71, 2 Feb 1929, 106

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, LISBURN ROAD, SHOP & HOUSE
Date: 1929
Nature: ?By WJG.
Refs: IB 71, 25 May 1929, 464

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, RAVENHILL AVENUE (& FEDERATION STREET), OFFICES, GARAGE & WORKSHOP
Date: 1929
Nature: For United Co-Op Bakery Society?
Refs: IB 71, 25 May 1929, 464

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, BRIDGE STREET (& ROSEMARY STREET), MADIGAN CHAMBERS
Date: ?
Nature: Destroyed in Blitz.
Refs: Marcus Patton, Central Belfast: an historical gazetteer (UAHS, 1993), 42-43

Author Title Date Details
Gilliland, William John 'Architectural education' 1906 IB 48, 24 Mar 1906, 221-2. (Paper read to AAI, 13 Mar 1906.)