John Gibson was born at Castle Bromwich on 2 June 1817 and educated at King Edward Grammar School in Birmingham. He was articled first to Joseph Aloysius Hansom, but after that architect got into difficulty in 1835 transferred to the office of Sir Charles Barry in London, where he worked until 1844 when he won the competition for the National Bank of Scotland, Queen Street, Glasgow, completed in 1847. He established his reputation in England with the Imperial Assurance Building on Threadneedle Street in 1846, and from at least the second half of the 1840s worked in partnership with G. MacDougall. He was admitted ARIBA on 5 February 1849 and FRIBA on 24 January 1853, his proposers being Charles Barry, Thomas Leverton Donaldson and Francis Cranmer Penrose. From 1864, Gibson was architect to the National Provincial Bank. Gibson retired in 1883, but was Royal Gold Medallist in 1890. He died on 23 December 1892.