W. S. Moyes

Architect; JHKM employee

William Shepherd Moyes (1879–1962) was the son and grandson of house factors and land agents, so by training as an architect he was continuing the family tradition of property development. From c. 1869 until 1883, his father, James (c. 1845–1893), and grandfather Robert Moyes (c. 1820–1883) traded as R. & J. Moyes, 248 West George Street, Glasgow. They also acted as 'quarrymasters and brickmakers', latterly extracting stone at Gartnavel, on the city's western edge. 1

In 1897, while William Moyes was taking art classes at Glasgow Technical College, he won a bronze medal in the annual National Competition for a 'design for a hall fireplace'. Starting that same year he also attended the Glasgow School of Art until the 1900–1 session, giving his occupation throughout as architectural draughtsman. He was articled to John Honeyman & Keppie / Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh for most of this time, being first paid by them in April 1898. 2 In 1900, he was among the Glasgow entrants for the 'National Schools of Science and Art' art competition, winning a bronze medal.

Moyes remained with Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh until 1907, becoming one of its longest-serving draughtsmen. He is now remembered more for his association with Mackintosh than for his own output. When the early Mackintosh scholar Thomas Howarth contacted Moyes in the 1940s, he provided Howarth with valuable information on Mackintosh's working practices and design input on various larger projects. 3 Modern accounts of the cultural significance of his later Australian work for the Government Architect's Department, New South Wales, usually mention his training during Mackintosh's tenure with the practice. 4

As well as setting up Mackintosh's perspective for Scotland Street School, Moyes worked on the design for the Glasgow School of Art, and probably helped with the interiors for Pettigrew & Stephens, Sauchiehall Street. 5

In 1907 Moyes emigrated to New South Wales, Australia, where he became a draughtsman for the Cootamundra Public Works Department. 'In a very unassuming way he [was] obliging in the community. He was a diligent worker in the court-house garden', but left for Sydney in February 1910. 6 Moyes then joined the office of Walter Liberty Vernon (1846–1917), who retired as Government Architect of New South Wales in 1911. Moyes 'would have brought to the office a new enthusiasm about some of the developments in English [sic] architecture and may well have influenced the design of a number of key buildings' in and around Sydney. This was a large department designing railway stations, post offices and district hospitals, with numerous fellow Scotsmen, including the next two successors as Government Architects, George McRae (born Edinburgh, 1858–1923), and Gorrie McLeish Blair (1862–1939). 7

While working for the Government's Public Works Department, Moyes designed an award-winning colonnade as a memorial to the Boer War in Melbourne (1915), and the gate-keeper's lodge for Long Bay prison complex, south of Sydney (also 1915). 8 During the 1920s, although much of their work is credited to the corporate body, rather than to any particular individual, the Sydney Public Works office was heavily engaged in infrastructure and approach-roads for Sydney Harbour Bridge. Moyes is known to have designed furniture for the University of Sydney's Agriculture Faculty. 9

Moyes was living in Engadine, New South Wales when he corresponded with Howarth in 1947. He died there in 1963. 10


1: Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1869–70, p. 269; 1880–1, pp. 394–5; 1883–4, p. 427; Census information, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 5 April 2014]; Edinburgh Gazette, 3 July 1868, p. 830; 19 November 1869, p. 1453; 14 August 1877, p. 602.

2: Scotsman, 25 November 1897, p. 10; Student Registers, information kindly supplied by the Glasgow School of Art Archives, 12 March 2014; The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: John Honeyman & Keppie / Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh / Keppie Henderson cash book, 1889–1917, GLAHA 53079, p. 46.

3: University of Toronto, Robarts Library: letters from William S. Moyes to Thomas Howarth, 29 April 1947; 6 June 1947; 22 July 1947, B96-0028/017 (13); Noni Boyd, No Sacrifice in Sunshine, Walter Liberty Vernon: Architect 1846–1917, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia, 2010, pp. 274, 276, 461.

4: 'Historic Notes and Themes', in 'Brooklyn Hotel: Statement of Significance', Heritage and Conservation Register, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, www.shfa.nsw.gov.au; 'Walter Liberty Vernon', Historic Architects, Sydney Architecture, www.sydneyarchitecture.com [both accessed 4 April 2014].

5: 'William Shepherd Moyes', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 6 March 2014]; David Stark, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Co., Catrine, Ayrshire: Stenlake Publishing, 2004, pp. 107, 180.

6: Cootamundra Herald, 15 February 1910, p. 3.

7: Sydney Morning Herald, 1 March 1939, p. 9; 'Walter Liberty Vernon', Historic Architects, Sydney Architecture, www.sydneyarchitecture.com [accessed 4 April 2014].

8: The Argus (Melbourne), 20 October 1915, p. 7; Heritage Group [authors], 'Gatekeeper's Cottage', Long Bay Correctional Complex Conservation Plan, Sydney, Australia: Dept of Public Works & Services, 1997, pp. 94–5, at Open Access Research Repository, Corrective Services New South Wales, http://csa.intersearch.com.au/resources/index.php [accessed 4 April 2014].

9: Agriculture Faculty, information kindly provided by Nyree Morrison, University of Sydney Archives, June 2013; 'Walter Liberty Vernon', Historic Architects, Sydney Architecture, www.sydneyarchitecture.com [accessed 4 April 2014].

10: U.K. Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878–1960; U.K., Outward Passenger Lists, 1890–1960; Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865–1935; Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903–1980; England & Wales, National Probate Calendar, 1858–1960; 'Bishop Family Tree' (owner: 'bishoo01'), Public Member Trees (online databases), www.ancestry.co.uk [all accessed 6 April 2014].