Gowan, James (2 of 10) National Life  Story Collection: Architects' Lives

  • Add a note
    Log in to add a note at the bottom of this page.
  • All notes
  • My notes
  • Hide notes
Please click to leave a note

The British Library Board acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors to this recording and the rights of those not identified.
Legal and ethical usage »

Tags (top 25):
(No tags found for this item)
  • Type


  • Duration


  • Shelf mark


  • Subjects


  • Recording date

    2012-06-20, 2012-09-18, 2012-12-05, 2013-10-22, 2013-11-12, 2013-12-04

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, London

  • Interviewees

    Gowan, James, 1923-2015  (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Dillon,  Niamh (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 2: Track two: [01:34:00] [Session two: 18th September 2012] His full name, James Gowan. Talks about his first school, Hindland School. [00:02:20] Describes his secondary school which was in a new building. [00:03:18] Remembers that the primary school was more enjoyable – how art was the only subject he really enjoyed. [00:05:25] Reflects on how his secondary school was chosen. Discipline in Scottish schools. [00:08:14] Mentions moving to Pollockshields to live with his mother – describes winning the art prize at secondary school: he chose books; one on Italian Renaissance, he browses through the books [00:12:32] James Gowan reflects on why he chose the books, his interest in architecture. [00:14:56] JG on drawing in his early years. Talks about his walks around Partick Hill, [00:18:24] how it would be dangerous to walk there now. [00:20:08] JG on his awareness of the differences in class and wealth in Glasgow. [00:22:18] His own social class. Mentions class and religion [00:25:54] the lack of cars in his childhood – his father arriving to visit in a car. [00:27:42] Wearing a hat to school – [00:29:13] discusses being aware of the British Empire though stamp collecting – his admiration of the colonial stamps – describes using the engraving technique on Churchill College drawings. [00:33:42] The images and colours on the colonial stamps. [00:34:54] Visits to the cinema with his mother, describes having tea at the Cranston tea rooms. [00:39:22] Glasgow Corporation’s care of their architectural heritage – discusses the addition to the Glasgow School of Art. [00:43:17] JG remembers the Hollywood films they saw and their escapist nature. [00:45:24] Visits to his mother – describes his mother: her bossiness, beautiful handwriting, her good taste, lack of opportunity for talented women. JG wondered why his parents couldn’t be together and raise him [00:51:46] his parents’ separation was unusual at the time. Talks about his mother’s ambition for him to become a doctor – [00:54:01] mentions the career advisors suggested JG study architecture, JG joined the practice of Richard Mervyn Noad who specialised in Episcopalian work. [00:57:15] He was a ‘splendid fellow” – JG doing his first presentation drawing. Remembers art classes at school. [01:02:56] Anecdote about not revising for a test at school. [01:05:35] Mentions how classmates never discussed what they would do in the future – emigration from Glasgow in the period. [01:07:12] Reflects on whether he thought he would leave Glasgow. [01:08:20] His brother’s name (Donald) father (James) Mother Isabella (MacKenzie). His relationship with his brother – how they got on better as adults than children – anecdote about his brother staying with JG in London. [01:12:54] His brother’s career, his character as he got older. [01:15:23] His brother’s estrangement from his mother in her latter years. [01:19:40] JG reflects on whether he was ambitious.

  • Metadata record:

    View full metadata for this item