Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Henderson, John (1804-1862)

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1413297Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 25 — Henderson, John (1804-1862)1891Bertha Porter

HENDERSON, JOHN (1804–1862), architect, son of John Henderson, gardener at Brechin Castle, and ‘his wife Agnes Thomson,’ was born at Brechin on 14 June 1804. In 1814 his father took some land at the Den, Brechin, and started in business as a nurseryman. The firm styled John Henderson & Sons still exists. After serving an apprenticeship in carpentry in his native town, and studying drawing and construction, John became assistant in the office of Thomas Hamilton [q. v.] the architect, and afterwards practised in Edinburgh on his own account. He made a special study of Gothic architecture, and his works are almost exclusively in the pointed style.

Among his ecclesiastical works may be mentioned the spire of the old abbey or parish church, Arbroath, 1831; St. Mary's Established Church, Dumfries, 1837–9 (which was renovated and reseated in 1879); Morningside parish church, 1838; Trinity Episcopal Church, Dean Bridge, Edinburgh, 1838; Newhaven parish church, 1838; Mariners' Church, Leith, 1840; St. Thomas's Church, Leith, with manse, school-house, and asylum, 1840; St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Dunblane, 1844; St. Columba's Episcopal Church, Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, 1845; Trinity Episcopal Church, Stirling, 1845, taken down in 1879; St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Fasque, 1847; St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Hamilton, 1849; St. John's Episcopal Church, Glasgow, 1850 (since enlarged); St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Dalmahoy, 1850; St. Luke's Free Church, Queen Street, Edinburgh, 1851; St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Arbroath, with parsonage, 1852–4; private chapels St. Michael and All Angels, Ardgowan, Renfrewshire, 1856, and Lamington, Lanarkshire, 1857; Christ Church, Lanark, 1858; St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Montrose, 1858 (rebuilt, the former church having been destroyed by fire 7 Feb. 1857); St. Baldred's Episcopal Church, North Berwick (in the Norman style), 1861–2, which was enlarged in 1865. He also designed the museum at Montrose, 1836; public schools (with library, lecture hall, &c.), Brechin, 1838; the Highland Society's Offices, No. 3 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, 1838–40, built for and used as the society's museum till 1866; Trinity College, Glenalmond, Perthshire, 1847, which, with its beautiful Decorated chapel, is considered his best work (cf. Builder, 1851, with view, pp. 24–5); and a bridge across the Den, Brechin, 1856. He conducted the engineering works at Burntisland pier.

Henderson died at his residence, 7 Greenhill Park, Edinburgh, on 27 June 1862, aged 58. He married in 1843 Hannah Matilda Exley, by whom he had seven children, all of whom survived him. His eldest son, George, practised as an architect in Edinburgh, in the firm of Hay & Henderson.

[Information from the family; Dict. of Architecture; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Cassell's Old and New Edinburgh (Grant), i. 153, 295, iii. 38, 70, 248, 259, 303; Glasgow Past and Present, i. 132; Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland; Paterson's North Berwick, p. 13; Black's Brechin, pp. 221–5; Edinburgh Building Chronicle, 1854 pp. 25, 79, 1856 pp. 80, 140–1; registers of Brechin and Edinburgh, communicated by David Winter, esq.]

B. P.