Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Rochead, John Thomas

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ROCHEAD, JOHN THOMAS (1814–1878), architect, son of John Rochead, chartered accountant, was born in Edinburgh on 28 March 1814. He was educated in George Heriot's hospital, and at the age of sixteen entered the office of David Bryce, architect. After seven years' apprenticeship there he became principal draughtsman in Harst & Moffatt's office, Doncaster, where he remained for two years. In 1840, among 150 competitors, he gained the first premium for a proposed Roman catholic cathedral in Belfast. In 1841 he started as an architect in Glasgow, where he resided till 1870. He soon became recognised as an architect of great ability and originality. He was a skilful draughtsman, and his designs, to their most minute details, were done by his own hand. After the ‘disruption’ he designed many free churches in Scotland. His knowledge of Gothic art is well displayed in the Park church and St. John's Free Church, both in Glasgow, the parish churches of Renfrew and Aberfoyle, and St. Mary's Free Church, Edinburgh. His able treatment of Italian and classic architecture was shown in the Bank of Scotland, John Street United Presbyterian Church, the Unitarian Chapel, and his design for building the University—all in Glasgow. In 1857 he won a 300l. prize in the competition for designs for the war office in London, and in two keen competitions his designs for the Wallace monument, Stirling, were successful. Rochead was the architect of Queen Margaret College, Glasgow, and he designed many private mansions in Scotland, including Minard Castle, Knock Castle, West Shandon, Blair Vaddoch, and Sillerbut Hall. In 1870, owing to impaired health, he retired to Edinburgh, where he died suddenly on 7 April 1878. He was survived by his widow (Catherine Calder, whom he married in 1843), a son, and four daughters.

[Scotsman, 10 April 1878, and Builder, 20 April 1878; Dict. of Architecture, vii. 54; information supplied by the family.]

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