James Robert Rhind lived from 1853 to 10 January 1918. He was an architect remembered primarily for the eight Carnegie libraries he built in the Glasgow area. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
James Robert Rhind was born in Inverness, the son of architect George Rhind. After leaving school, James became an apprentice to his older brother John Rhind, who also had an architectural practice in Inverness. After completing his apprenticeship he moved to Glasgow where he worked in the City Architect's Department.
In 1880 he moved to London to work in the practices of Isaacs & Florence and Boulnois & Warner. He emigrated to Canada in 1888, and established his own practice there, having a role in the building of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. Rhind moved back to Scotland in 1895 to take over the practice of his brother in Inverness. He designed a library in London, and it seems that this, plus perhaps the contacts he made while working in the Glasgow City Architect's Department, allowed him to compete successfully for a series of eight Carnegie Libraries built in and around Glasgow in the years between 1903 and 1906. Many of the libraries were constructed from locally quarried sandstone, which fitted well into tenement neighbourhoods. His major buildings tended to make liberal use of columns, domes and sculpted features, including a series of stone and bronze statues by the noted Glasgow sculptor, William Kellock Brown. His stylistic approach has been called both "Edwardian Baroque" and "Beaux-Arts", and seem to reflect strongly influences he picked up in London and Montreal.
Most of Rhind's other Scottish commissions were in Inverness, where he completed a number of tenements, houses, offices and a factory. He also designed a grand mansion in Dornoch, The Grange, which later in life was converted into the Royal Golf Hotel. Rhind died at his home in Inverness on 10 January 1918. He was survived by his wife, Florence Ellaby, and by three sons, Victor, John and James, who also survived their military service in the First World War.