James Miller lived from 1860 to 28 November 1947. He was an architect known for his buildings in Glasgow and for his many railway station buildings. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
James Miller was born and brought up in Perthshire. He was educated at Perth Academy and then became an apprentice to the Perth architect, Andrew Heiton. Having completed his apprenticeship he went to work for Hippolyte Blanc in Edinburgh. In 1888, he gained a post with the Caledonian Railway's Drawing Office in Glasgow. While there he designed a number of railway stations under the supervision of the engineer-in-chief, George Graham, and his successor Donald Matheson.
In 1892 Miller set up his own architectural practice, working from an office at 223 West George Street, Glasgow. He continued to receive commissions from the Caledonian Railway, and increasingly found himself working for other Scottish railway companies as well. In 1893 he was asked to design the stations on the West Highland Railway, at the time under construction from Glasgow to Fort William. Meanwhile he was producing designs for a startling variety of different types of building in Glasgow, ranging from public and commercial buildings to factories and hospitals, churches, banks and schools, plus a number of private houses.
Amongst the most notable of Miller's buildings were the 1914 Glasgow Royal Infirmary; the truly magnificent 1903 Wemyss Bay Railway Station; and the 1903 Turnberry Hotel. But what perhaps sets Miller apart from many other Scottish architect was his combination of quality of design with quantity of output. No-one who has ever travelled on the West Highland Line can fail to appreciate the contribution that the good, and highly distinctive, architecture of the stations makes to the experience.
James Miller married Emelina Crichton in 1898 and they had three children. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1902. As an artist he had been exhibiting at the Royal Scottish Academy from 1890, and he became an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1901, and a full member in 1930. James Miller's son George died in 1940, and James ceased to practice as an architect later that year, at the age of 80. He died in 1947 at his home in Stirling.