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John Thomas Rochead

John Thomas Rochead, architect, was born in Edinburgh on 28 March 1814. He was educated at George Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh, and was articled in 1830 to David Bryce and William Burn. In 1840 he opened his own practice in Glasgow and shortly afterwards married his wife, Catherine Jane Calder (d. 1896) on 23 May 1843.

Rochead's first works were Free churches, the most important of which were St John's and St George's in Glagow (built 1843-5). He also established a reputation as a an architect of country houses. One of these was Knock Castle, Ayreshire (1851), a castellated neo-Tudor house built for Robert Steele.

In Glasgow, Rochead designed a number of commercial and terrace blocks. The Scottish baronial City of Glasgow Bank Buildings, Trongate (1853) was the largest commercial block at that time in Glasgow. It has recently been restored in a general upgrading of the area. His finest works however, were his last. These were The Bank of Scotland and North Park House, both in Glasgow.

Amongst his other designs are several monuments in the Necropolis, including the mausoleums for John Bell (1842); Dunn of Duntocher (1848) and James Davidson of Ruchill (1851); and the monument to shipbuilder Robert Barclay (1864).

In 1869, following a severe nervous disorder, Rochead and his wife retired to Wellridge, 19 Morningside Place, Edinburgh. It was there that he died on 7 April 1878. He was buried shortly afterwards in Grange Cemetery, Edinburgh.


Stronach, G (2004) ‘Rochead, John Thomas (1814–1878)’, rev. David M. Walker, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Oxford []

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