James Williamson

1881 - 1953

Engineer. Born in Holytown (North Lanarkshire), he was educated at the Royal Technical College in Glasgow and then the University of Glasgow. He joined Forman and McCall in the city, working initially on railways, but became responsible for a drainage system in Neilston (East Renfrewshire); extensions to Ardrossan Harbour (North Ayrshire); office buildings and an extension to the now-demolished Savoy Theatre in Glasgow. He went on to help design Aberdeen Railway Station (1913) and, during the First World War, designed the remarkable H.M. Factory Gretna, including its extensive railway network. Also during the War, he was involved in designing train-ferries and concrete ships. In 1920, he joined Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners and became involved with power generation. He designed hydro-electric power schemes in Canada, India and South Africa, together with the Galloway Hydro-Electric Power Scheme (1931-36) in Scotland. He went on to a senior role in Sir William Arrol & Co (1938), became a member of the Cooper Committee on hydro-electric development in Scotland (1942), and then joined the newly-formed North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board (1943), overseeing the design of the Sloy-Awe Hydro-Electric Power Scheme (1950), extensions to the Tummel Hydro-Electric Power Scheme (1950), the Affric-Beauly Hydro-Electric Power Scheme (1952) and the Glen Shira Hydro Electric Scheme (completed 1956).

Williamson gave a number of papers to the Institution of Civil Engineers and wrote several books on technical engineering. He was awarded a CBE in 1953 and died in Milngavie (East Dunbartonshire).

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