Basic Biographical Details

Name: Pirie & Clyne
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: Late 1881
Ended: 1892
Bio Notes: John Bridgeford Pirie was born in Aberdeen in 1848 (christened 26 December, St Nicholas Parish) the son of John Pirie, a sea captain with George Thomson's line, and his wife Ann Bridgeford. He was educated at Ledingham's Academy in Aberdeen. About 1863 he was articled to Alexander Ellis, also the son of a sea captain. There he worked under Robert Gordon Wilson and it was probably through Wilson's subsequent period as an assistant with Alexander Thomson from c.1866 that Pirie was to develop an interest in Thomson's work. At the end of his articles c.1866, Pirie spent a short time as an improver with David Bryce in Edinburgh, returning to Aberdeen as leading draughtsman to James Matthews c.1867. He exhibited a design for a screen at the RSA in 1870 and by March 1871 he was living at 6 Brown Street, Woodside, from which he exhibited at the RSA in 1871-73.

After ten years with Matthews, Pirie went into independent practice at 177 Union Street Aberdeen with the encouragement of the builder John Morgan who was seven years older. He was immediately successful, winning in 1878-79 the competitions for two major churches, one in Fraserburgh and one in Aberdeen, both in a very original, predominantly early French, idiom. Both Morgan and Pirie were founding members of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society and enthusiasts for the teaching of John Ruskin with whom Morgan corresponded. They travelled together in Britain to see the latest developments, and Morgan's travels in America and the Far East were to have a considerable influence on the decorative arts aspect of the practice through the books and prints he brought home.

When Pirie opened his office at 177 Union Street he shared it with Arthur Clyne, a former colleague at Matthews's practice. In 1881 they merged their practices as Pirie & Clyne and moved to 123 Union Street which was to remain their address. Clyne was five years younger, born in Aberdeen in 1853 and the son of Norval Clyne, an advocate (i.e.solicitor) there. He had been articled to Matthews c.1868 and had been an assistant in the office of Andrew Heiton of Perth since the end of his apprenticeship c.1873-1876. In 1882 they had a link of some kind with Frederick Thomas Pilkington with whose work their own had some affinities as W T Johnston has established that Pirie shared Pilkington's address at 2 Hill Street, Edinburgh, in that year.

While Morgan provided the practice with a steady flow of commissions for villas and terraced housing, it was otherwise dependent on success in competitions and on Clyne's strong Episcopal church connections. It did not reach the final tier in the Glasgow Municipal Buildings competition, was unpremiated in the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Gray's School of Art competition and came only third in that for Aberdeen Public Library but it did initially have significant successes in local competitions for churches, all of which were designed in a very original muscular early Gothic style. Morgan's own house at 50 Queen's Road was Gothic of the same school but their few commercial buildings and their villas were designed in a highly original variation of Alexander Thomson's style, with motifs drawn from a wide range of sources.

Pirie died of tuberculosis on 24 February 1892 at his house at 24 Hamilton Place. During his last months he occupied himself with the design of the monument to James Saint which relieved ' many a weary hour of illness' and the writing of a paper 'The Beauty of Art' which was never given. He left a widow and five children but no moveable estate, John Morgan observing: 'He died early in years, yet he left abiding monuments of his taste, skill, and genius, and it gives some idea of his genius when one finds some of his details all over town. No company would insure his life, he died poor, and left a young family unprovided for.' Morgan was involved in raising money for them, and there may have been some difficulty with Clyne as Pirie's widow withdrew her husband's drawings from the practice archive and stored them in the attic of their house in Hamilton Place. The more important of these were retained by the family when the Hamilton Place house was closed and are now in the NMRS. Pirie's son Bridgeford MacDougall Pirie, born 1877, became an architect but practised only briefly in Aberdeen in 1897-99, later emigrating.

After Pirie's death Clyne's work became less unconventional, his church work being strongly influenced by the Aberdeen Ecclesiological Society of which he and Morgan were founder members. His Episcopal Church of St Devenick at Bieldside (1902) was pure late Scots Gothic, close in style to Alexander Marshall Mackenzie's work of the same vintage. Although Clyne's relationship with the Pirie family became strained, this seems to have made no difference of any kind with Morgan after Pirie's death as he was to remain an important client. Clyne removed the practice to 33 St Swithin Street and was President of the Aberdeen Society of Architects in 1900, being admitted FRIBA in April by virtue of that office. He stood down as President in 1904 but was re-elected for the years 1909-13. He retired in 1914 when the practice, then back in Union Street at no 375, was closed. He died at Charlwood House, Charlwood, Surrey on 6 January 1924.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 3375, Union Street, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusiness Before 1914 
Item 2 of 3123 1/2, Union Street, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusiness1881After 1892 
Item 3 of 333, St Swithin Street, Aberdeen, ScotlandBusinessAfter 1892  

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 6George Sutherland1878Before 1883Apprentice 
Item 2 of 6Arthur Clyne18811892Partner 
Item 3 of 6John Bridgeford Pirie18811892Partner 
Item 4 of 6George Bennett MitchellAugust 18811885Apprentice 
Item 5 of 6Alexander Lorimer18821887Apprentice 
Item 6 of 6Harvey Mennie18861891Apprentice 

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 76 Design for small terraced houses  AberdeenScotlandDrawing not dated
Item 2 of 761879Design for a small house  AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 3 of 761879Queen's Cross Free Church  AberdeenScotlandWon competition and secured job
Item 4 of 761880sTown and County BankEcht AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 5 of 761880Glasgow Municipal Buildings  GlasgowScotlandCompetition design, not successful
Item 6 of 761880Victoria HallCastleton, Braemar AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 7 of 761881Central SchoolFraserburgh AberdeenshireScotlandHeadmaster's House - perhaps by Pirie & Clyne
Item 8 of 761881Millbrex Established ChurchFyvie AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 9 of 761881Robertson Memorial ChurchPeterhead AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 10 of 761881St John's School  AberdeenScotlandAdditions
Item 11 of 761881Teacher's HouseFraserburgh AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 12 of 761881ViewbankPitfodels AberdeenScotland 
Item 13 of 761881York Street School  AberdeenScotland 
Item 14 of 76After 1881Advocates Hall, Concert Hall and Court  AberdeenScotlandAlterations
Item 15 of 76After 1881(?)Arbroath Parish ChurchArbroath AngusScotlandUncertain what involvement was
Item 16 of 76After 1881(?)Craigmillar Steam LaundryCraigmillar EdinburghScotlandExact date unknown - may have been by Clyne alone, before or after partnership
Item 17 of 76After 1881Denmore  AberdeenshireScotlandAddition of rustic porch
Item 18 of 76After 1881Nether Benholm Farm Steading  KincardineshireScotlandAlterations
Item 19 of 76After 1881Rifle Volunteer Drill Hall  AberdeenScotland 
Item 20 of 76c. 1881(?)Stable House, Rubislaw Terrace  AberdeenScotland 
Item 21 of 76After 1882Peterhead AcademyPeterhead AberdeenshireScotland'Buildings of Scotland' gives date of 1890-91 but the dates are in conflict with information from Alexander Lorimer's Nomination Paper.
Item 22 of 7618834 Belmont Street  AberdeenScotlandAdditions
Item 23 of 761883Anderson LibraryWoodside AberdeenScotland 
Item 24 of 761883New Deer Free ChurchNew Deer AberdeenshireScotlandSketch design for new church - did not win competition
Item 25 of 761883St Andrew's Episcopal Church  AberdeenScotlandReredos design
Item 26 of 761883St Leonard's Free ChurchPerth PerthshireScotlandCompetition design - not successful (alternative estimates submitted July 1882)
Item 27 of 76c. 1883Aberdeen Art Gallery  AberdeenScotlandCompetition design - not successful
Item 28 of 76c. 1883Gray's School of Art  AberdeenScotlandCompetition design - not successful
Item 29 of 761884108 Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 30 of 761884Design for a 'decorated Gothic' screen (St Mary's ?)  AberdeenScotland 
Item 31 of 761884Four Houses on Argyll Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 32 of 761884Four Houses on Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 33 of 761884House for John Morgan on Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 34 of 761884Macduff Town HallMacduff BanffshireScotlandWon competition and secured job.
Item 35 of 761884Three Houses on Argyll Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 36 of 761884Two double cottages, Argyll Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 37 of 761884Two Houses on Argyll Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 38 of 761884Two Houses on Argyll Place for John Morgan  AberdeenScotland 
Item 39 of 76Before 1884(?)House on west corner of Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 40 of 76188546 and 48 Queen's Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 41 of 76188550 Queen's Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 42 of 76188552 and 54 Queen's Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 43 of 76188562 Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 44 of 76188564-66 Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 45 of 76188586-88 Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 46 of 761885Fourteen Houses on Burnside Road for John Morgan  AberdeenScotland 
Item 47 of 761885House for C Robertson on Fountainhall Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 48 of 761885St James' Episcopal ChurchStonehaven KincardineshireScotlandChancel and vestry
Item 49 of 761885St Ninian's ChapelArbroath AngusScotlandPulpit and proposed extension to chapel
Item 50 of 761885St Palladius's Episcopal Church and ParsonageDrumtochty AberdeenshireScotlandAlso designed font
Item 51 of 761885Two Houses for John Morgan on Argyll Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 52 of 761885Two Houses on Argyll Place for John Morgan  AberdeenScotland 
Item 53 of 761885Whitehall Bowling & Tennis Club Pavilion  AberdeenScotland 
Item 54 of 76188668-70 Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 55 of 761886BayviewSpital AberdeenScotland 
Item 56 of 761886Five Houses on Queen's Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 57 of 761886Four Houses on Esslemont Avenue for R W Carter  AberdeenScotland 
Item 58 of 761886House for George M Thompson on Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 59 of 76c. 188678-80 Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 60 of 76c. 188682-84 Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 61 of 76c. 188690, 92, 94, 96 Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 62 of 76c. 1886House for Mr Moir at North east corner of Hamilton Place   Scotland 
Item 63 of 76c. 1886House on North West corner of Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 64 of 76c. 1886House, Hamilton Road/Whitehall Road corner   Scotland 
Item 65 of 76188716 Rose Street  AberdeenScotland 
Item 66 of 761887Argyll Crescent  AberdeenScotland 
Item 67 of 761887Houses for Robert Murray and John Morgan on Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 68 of 761887St James Episcopal Church  AberdeenScotland 
Item 69 of 761888Queen's Cross Free Church  AberdeenScotlandOrgan chamber added
Item 70 of 761889Central Public Library  AberdeenScotlandThird premiated competition design
Item 71 of 761890Allenvale Cemetery, James Saint Monument  AberdeenScotland 
Item 72 of 761890House for Captain Cumine on King Street Road  AberdeenScotland 
Item 73 of 761890House on Hamilton Place  AberdeenScotland 
Item 74 of 761891All Saints Episcopal ChurchStrichen AberdeenshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 75 of 761891House on Hamilton Place for John Morgan  AberdeenScotland 
Item 76 of 76Before 1892House at Rubislaw for James Clyne  AberdeenScotland 

References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 5Ball, Victoria Reyner1997Some interiors by John Bridgeford Pirie and Arthur Clyne, Architects, Aberdeen Journal of the Decorative Arts Society, no 21 
Item 2 of 5In Memoriam1898In Memoriam: an obituary of Aberdeen and Vicinity   
Item 3 of 5Morgan, John1899Memoirs Aberdeen 
Item 4 of 5Who's Who in Architecture1914    
Item 5 of 5Who's Who in Architecture1923    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Building News11 January 1924  Obituary of Clyne
Item 2 of 2RIBA Journal9 February 1924 London: Royal Institute of British ArchitectsObituary of Clyne p266