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James Shearer


1881 - 1962

Architect. Born in Dunfermline, the son of a textile manufacturer, Shearer was educated at Dunfermline High School. He began work at sixteen but, in 1901, on the recommendation of Fra Newbery (1855 - 1946), art consultant to the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust and also Director of Glasgow School of Art, Shearer gained a position with the Glasgow architectural practice of J.J. Burnet, and his training there shaped his career. At the same time, Shearer was able to study at Glasgow School of Art.

In 1907, Shearer set up his own practice in Dunfermline and gained a series of local commissions. After service in the army during the First World War, he returned to architectural practice and was appointed architect to the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust in 1922. In this position he designed the Carnegie Memorial Hall (1925).

Shearer's work included the noteworthy Dunfermline Fire Station (1935). He also extended Dunfermline Central Library - the first of the Carnegie Libraries - refurbished the Abbot's House and worked on Dunfermline Abbey. He served as town-planning consultant for Dunfermline Town Council and for Clackmannan. He was also Consulting Architect to the Scottish Youth Hostels Association.

From 1946 Shearer became involved with the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board and designed several power station buildings and other structures which formed part of the Conon, Affric-Beauly and Shin hydro schemes. This work brought him an OBE in 1959.

Shearer continued to serve as lead designer for his practice until his death, in the same house as he was born. He was buried at Warriston Cemetery in Edinburgh.


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