Basic Biographical Details

Name: Niven & Wigglesworth
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1893
Ended: 1926
Bio Notes: In 1893 David Barclay Niven entered into partnership with another Scottish-trained architect, Herbert Hardy Wigglesworth, who had been articled to Alexander Marshall Mackenzie and was shortly to become his brother-in-law when Niven married his sister Sarah. By 1895 the practice was obtaining major domestic commissions, and by 1900 when Niven became FRIBA and had visited the USA, the office moved to Gwydir Chambers, 104 High Holborn. In that year Niven moved house to Farnham, Surrey, and took in partnership a brilliant draughtsman of the F L Griggs school, Harold Falkner. Born in Farnham on 28 November 1875, Falkner was a well-off pupil of Reginald Blomfield who had commenced practice there in 1896. The practice title became Niven, Wigglesworth & Falkner, but the full name was not always used for business outwith Surrey. Falkner's sometimes wayward arts-and-crafts habits of business at Farnham soon created problems, and the partnership was effectively dissolved in 1903, although the practice title of Niven, Wigglesworth & Falkner was used in Surrey up until 1906 and survived as late as 1909. Except for a brief period in partnership with a Niven & Wigglesworth pupil, Guy Maxwell Aylwin, from 1927 onwards, Falkner thereafter practised alone in Farnham in ever-increasingly autocratic eccentricity until his death on 30 November 1963.

Niven and Wigglesworth's London office was a mecca for aspiring architectural assistants from Scotland. Niven took a particular interest in architectural education, attending RIBA Council and Committee meetings and serving on the Board of Architectural Education: Wigglesworth recalled that 'he enjoyed direct contact with those seeking qualification… they always aroused his most sympathetic interest.'

Much of the attraction of the office was Niven's personality. Of him Wigglesworth wrote: 'David Barclay Niven was one of those militant beings whose ardent and earnest enthusiasm contributed generously to architecture. His energy was untiring, he worked at high pressure and at furious speed. His power of acceleration was amazing. Neither in the office nor on the job was the pace allowed to slacken. Buildings were completed ahead of time more often than not and difficulties were overcome with joyous ease and efficiency. Complacency and inability he incontinently brushed aside. The physical and mental fatigue which ensued were to him a small price to pay for the exhilaration so thoroughly enjoyed.'

Although the practice recovered quickly after the First World War, after the building of Hambro's Bank in Bishopsgate in 1925 there were no significant new commissions in view and partly because of illness Wigglesworth's contribution to the practice income was significantly less than Niven's and the partnership was dissolved in the following year to enable Niven's interest in the practice to be sold to Arthur Kenyon who had been an assistant since 1906, with an office at 7 John Street, Bedford Row, Wigglesworth merging his practice with the London office of Alexander Marshall Mackenzie & Son. These arrangement were achieved amicably, the Niven and Wigglesworth families remaining as close as they had been.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 434, Mecklenburgh Square, London, EnglandBusiness18931902There is a conflict of information about the dates at which they worked here - RA catalogues suggest 1897-1902.
Item 2 of 49, Barton Street, London, EnglandBusiness18941895From RA catalogues
Item 3 of 4Gwydir Chambers/104, High Holborn, London, EnglandBusinessBefore 19001919 
Item 4 of 47, John Street, Bedford Row, London, EnglandBusiness19211928 

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 29John Lyon 1896Assistant(?) 
Item 2 of 29David Mitchell 1902Assistant 
Item 3 of 29John Watson18931897Assistant 
Item 4 of 29Walter Ramsay Davidson1893(?)c. 1897(?)Apprentice 
Item 5 of 29Herbert Hardy Wigglesworth18931926Partner 
Item 6 of 29David Barclay Niven18931926Partner 
Item 7 of 29David Mitchell1896 Apprentice 
Item 8 of 29David Salmond18961897Assistant 
Item 9 of 29David Lindsay Allan18971900Assistant 
Item 10 of 29James Black Fulton1897Before 1901Assistant 
Item 11 of 29John Forrest Steel (or John Forrester Steel?)October 18971900Draughtsman 
Item 12 of 29John Holden PeacockAfter 1900Before 1903Assistant 
Item 13 of 29John Wilson Walkerc. 1900(?)Before 1906Assistant 
Item 14 of 29Alexander George Robertson Mackenzie19011902Assistant 
Item 15 of 29James Mitchell White Halley19011903Chief Assistant 
Item 16 of 29George Ronald Bryce19021905Assistant 
Item 17 of 29William Barnet WyllieSeptember 1902September 1903Assistant 
Item 18 of 29Frank Drummond Thomsonc. 19021908Assistant 
Item 19 of 29Archibald Bulloch19031904Assistant 
Item 20 of 29Herbert Mayer Barker19031907Assistant 
Item 21 of 29Arthur William Kenyon19061926Assistant 
Item 22 of 29James Henry Gray19091911Assistant 
Item 23 of 29Guy Maxwell Aylwin19101913Apprentice 
Item 24 of 29Herbert William Cruickshank (or Herbert William Cruikshank)19121914Assistant 
Item 25 of 29Guy Maxwell Aylwin19131927(?)Assistant 
Item 26 of 29John Kirkwood CurrieJanuary 1914September 1914ImproverWith the exception of war service
Item 27 of 29John Kirkwood CurrieSeptember 1914March 1916Assistant 
Item 28 of 29John Kirkwood CurrieLate 1918After 1920Chief Draughtsman 
Item 29 of 29John Watson (junior)19261927Senior Draughtsman 

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 271890sHouseBromley KentEngland 
Item 2 of 271890sHouse for Sir Donald CurrieNew Brighton HampshireEngland 
Item 3 of 271890sLynch HouseSevenoaks KentEngland 
Item 4 of 271890sLynden BeechesSevenoaks KentEngland 
Item 5 of 271890sSaloons for Castle Line Steamers     
Item 6 of 271890sSt ClementsOrpington KentEngland 
Item 7 of 271890sThree houses for G S WaterlowFareham HampshireEngland 
Item 8 of 27After 1893Carisbrook Castle Ship Interior, Castle Line     
Item 9 of 271895KincardineKincardine O'Neil AberdeenshireScotlandHouse and lodge etc
Item 10 of 271895Tantallon Castle Ship Interior, Castle Line     
Item 11 of 271895Teith ViewDoune PerthshireScotland 
Item 12 of 271897BengairnCastle Douglas (near) KirkcudbrightshireScotlandSketch design exhibited
Item 13 of 271897NethercliffeWalton on Thames SurreyEngland 
Item 14 of 271898Three houses for J G HardyWalton on Thames SurreyEngland 
Item 15 of 271899“Hillington” Walton on Thames SurreyEngland 
Item 16 of 271900HouseWeymouth Park SurreyEngland 
Item 17 of 271900Piper's HillByfleet SurreyEngland 
Item 18 of 271901Courier Building  DundeeScotland 
Item 19 of 271902Scandinavian Sailors’ Home, West India DocksPoplar/Limehouse LondonEngland 
Item 20 of 27After 190319-21 Hatton Garden  LondonEngland 
Item 21 of 27After 190354 Harley Street  LondonEngland 
Item 22 of 271910Ottershaw Park  SurreyEngland 
Item 23 of 271910Swedish ChurchMarylebone LondonEnglandHerbert Hardy Wigglesworth responsible for executing designs of Axel Haig
Item 24 of 271914Dunford LodgeWoking SurreyEngland 
Item 25 of 271920Swedish Chamber of Commerce  LondonEnglandHerbert Hardy Wigglesworth responsible
Item 26 of 27192127 Portland Place  LondonEnglandConverted for the Swedish Legation
Item 27 of 271926Hambro's Bank  LondonEnglandHerbert Hardy Wigglesworth responsible


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 2Gray, A Stuart1985Edwardian Architecture: A Biographical Dictionary   
Item 2 of 2Osmond, Sam2003Harold Falkner: More than an Arts & Crafts Architect   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Builder16 January 1942  Niven's obituary
Item 2 of 3RIBA JournalFebruary 1942 London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp67 - obituary of Niven by Wigglesworth
Item 3 of 3RIBA JournalDecember 1949v57London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp72 - obituary of Wigglesworth

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Personal information from Frank Thomson.