William Sinclair Manson

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Famous Scots. / Writings · 14 August 2023

Famous Scots. James Campbell.

James Campbell Walker (11 April 1821 – 10 January 1888) was a Scottish architect in the 19th century, practising across the country and specialising in poorhouses and schools. His main claim to fame is in having designed Dunfermline Carnegie Library, the world’s first Carnegie library, in Andrew Carnegie‘s home town of Dunfermline.


He was born in Strathmiglo to a family of bleachers, in Scotland known as “waulkers“. He became the son of Thomas Walker and Barbara Campbell.

He trained in Edinburgh under the architect William Burn from January 1842. In the 1850s he transferred to work for Burn’s friend David Bryce. His work shows the influence of each, but he never received the widespread fame of these two.


Due to family links he received many estate commissions for farms then began to specialise in poorhouses.

Very late in life, in 1875, he married his cousin, Agnes Walker from Eastbourne.

He died of chronic bronchitis in 1888 and is buried in Auchtermuchty in Fife.

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