14 Meikle Stained Glass Studio, Toronto
Career and St. John the Evangelist
The Meikle’s family and studio’s histories both began in Scotland and then branched into Canada. William Meikle Sr. founded the family’s glazing business in Glasgow. His two sons, William Tait Meikle and James Harvie Meikle inherited the glazing business and began designing stained glass in 1886. James Harvie’s son, William James who founded Meikle Studios in Toronto, was born in Ontario but his family returned to Glasgow when he was a child. William James apprenticed in Glasgow with the influential stained glass artist, Stephen Adam. When a bitter legal battle ensued between James Harvie and William Tait due to James Harvie’s departure from Meikle & Sons in 1895, William James moved to New York City. In New York, he became a designer with Gorham Silversmiths. He then moved to Chicago before returning to Toronto in 1914. In Toronto, William became the Art Director for Hobbs Glass where he designed ecclesiastic stained glass. He then served as Art Director for Robert McCausland Ltd for over twenty years and even managed the firm when Robert McCausland was ill. He established his own studio in Toronto and his son carried on the business in Southampton, Ontario and then Port Elgin, from about 1960 until its closure around 1980.
Due to Lyon and Meikle’s experience at Robert McCausland Ltd, three companies have stylistic, design, subject, and colour similarities and Gothic inspirations. Their works often feature flowers, leaves, animals, and other aspects of nature along with the canopies completing the tops of windows, the medallions, and borders.
“Person Record: Meikle, William James.” Grey Roots Museum & Archives: Online Collections. 2015.https://greyroots.pastperfectonline.com/byperson?keyword=Meikle%2C+William+James.
Salata, Sim. “Reconnecting History: The Desboro United Church Windows and the Meikle Family.” Grey Roots Museum and Archives. Accessed July 10, 2021. https://greyroots.com/story/reconnecting-history-desboro-united-church-windows-and-meikle-family.
Spicer, Elizabeth. Trumpeting Our Stained Glass: The Church of St. John the Evangelist, London, Ontario. London: St. John the Evangelist, 2008.
“William Meikle & Son.” Mackintosh Architecture. 2014. https://www.mackintosh-architecture.gla.ac.uk/catalogue/name/?nid=MeikWSon.
War Memorial Window
Artist: Meikle Stained Glass Studio, Toronto, 1949.
Dedication: “To the Glory of God and in Lasting Remembrance of All Who Gave Their Lives, and in Honour of Those Who Served, 1914-18; 1929-45.”
The window commemorates those who served and gave their lives in WWI and WWII and includes one of the earliest Canadian memorials to honour women’s service. At the forefront are the four patron saints of the British Isles: St. Patrick and St. George on the left and St. Andrew and St. David on the right. The two outer panels include representations of war and peace as the archangel Gabriel, with lilies and a lamb, points upwards to a scroll inscribed “On earth peace, good will towards men” and St. Michael, holding a spear, has his foot on the defeated Dragon. Surrounding the group are angels bearing symbols of Christ’s Passion and carrying the Cross and the Crown. In the tracery at the top of the window, the figure of Christ with his right hand raised appears in a medallion surrounded by emblems, the Chalice (faith), the Anchor (hope), and the Cross (sacrifice), and the monogram IHS (Jesus). The bottom panels include the crests of the Navy, the Army and the Air Force, and the Eagle, emblem of St. John the Evangelist.
In 1945, a War Memorial Committee was set up to consider several proposals. The Women’s Guild suggested a large West Window and subscribed $1500 towards its cost. On January 9, 1949, the War Memorial Window was unveiled on the west wall by Major E.S. Fisher, which was followed by the reading of the names of those served and in memory of those who had paid the supreme sacrifice. Later, floodlights were installed in memory of Helen Roadhouse (1910-1979) by her husband Joyce Roadhouse to make the window visible from the street at night.
 Elizbeth Spicer, Trumpeting Our Stained Glass Windows (London: St. John the Evangelist, 2008), #28.