Basic Biographical Details

Name: Ormrod Maxwell Ayrton
Designation: Architect
Born: 1874
Died: 18 February 1960
Bio Notes: Ormrod Maxwell Ayrton was born in 1874. His career began inauspiciously as an articled apprentice to Harry Beswick of Chester in 1890. He remained with him as an assistant until 1897 when he moved to London as assistant first to William Eden Nesfield's former chief clerk, Richard Creed, then William Alfred Pite and finally Edwin Landseer Lutyens from 1897 to 1899. These posts enabled him to study at the South Kensington Schools. He passed the qualifying exam in 1903 and was admitted ARIBA on 30 November that year, his proposers being Pite, John William Simpson and Lacy William Ridge. He was briefly in independent practice from 1899 until he joined Simpson in 1905.

In 1905, Ayrton was taken into partnership by John William Simpson. From 1905 onwards Ayrton was responsible for most of the practice's design work, his best known work in these later years being the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924-25 which brought Simpson a knighthood. The exhibition put Ayrton in contact with its civil engineer Owen Williams, resulting in their subsequent collaboration on the design of Williams's Scottish bridges. Prior to that time he had been elected FRIBA in 1920, proposed by Lutyens and Aston Webb.

In 1928 the partnership of Simpson and Ayrton was dissolved. Although now seventy years old, Simpson did not retire, taking into partnership Frank W Knight and Henley Cornford. Ayrton continued in independent practice.

Ayrton died on 18 February 1960.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 564, Charlotte Stree, Fitzroy Square, London, EnglandBusiness1899 *  
Item 2 of 528, Theobald's Road, London, EnglandPrivate19011902 
Item 3 of 5Manor Mansions/14, Belsize Park Gardens, London, EnglandPrivate(?)1903  
Item 4 of 53, Verulam Gardens, Gray's Inn, London, EnglandBusinessBefore 1906(?)After 1926(?) 
Item 5 of 57, Grosvennor Street, London, EnglandBusiness(?)1928 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 6Harry Beswick1890c. 1894(?)Apprentice 
Item 2 of 6Harry Beswickc. 1894(?)1897Assistant 
Item 3 of 6Richard Creed1897Before 1899Assistant 
Item 4 of 6Edwin Landseer LutyensAfter 18971899Assistant 
Item 5 of 6William Alfred Pitec. 1897(?)Before 1899Assistant 
Item 6 of 6Simpson & Ayrton19051928Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 5Edwin Landseer Lutyens1920for Fellowship
Item 2 of 5William Alfred Pite30 November 1903for Associateship
Item 3 of 5Lacy William Ridge30 November 1903for Associateship
Item 4 of 5(Sir) John William Simpson30 November 1903for Associateship
Item 5 of 5Aston Webb1920for Fellowship

Buildings and Designs

This architect 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 91904 or 1905Victoria InstituteWorcester WorcestershireEnglandAlterations? - unclear whether under firm of Simpson & Allen or Simpson & Ayrton
Item 2 of 91905Haileybury College  HertfordshireEnglandAdditions - Form Rooms, Lodge and Big School (New Hall)
Item 3 of 91912Gresham's School ChapelHolt NorfolkEngland 
Item 4 of 91913Fields House, Gibbs' House and Masters' Tower at Lancing College  West SussexEnglandAdditions
Item 5 of 91924British Empire ExhibitionWembley LondonEnglandDesigned entire exhibition, including all pavilions
Item 6 of 91925Findhorn BridgeTomatin Inverness-shireScotlandAs consulting architects
Item 7 of 91925Loch Alvie Bridge  Inverness-shireScotland 
Item 8 of 91925Spey BridgeNewtonmore Inverness-shireScotland 
Item 9 of 91926Bridge at DalnameinDalnamein PerthshireScotland 


Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Builder26 February 1960   
Item 2 of 2RIBA JournalMay 1960 London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp347 (or 247?) Obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A v15 p125 (microfilm reel 1918); F v23 no1666 (microfilm reel 14)