Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Morrison Mathers
Designation: Architect
Born: 1875
Bio Notes: John Morrison Mathers was born in 1875 and articled to Thomas Martin Cappon of Dundee in 1893, serving his apprenticeship under the supervision of Patrick Hill Thoms, who described him as 'a particularly careful and painstaking draughtsman'. He remained as junior assistant, working under William Gillespie Lamond, until about 1903-4 when he became senior assistant. During this period he attended classes at Dundee Technical Institute and University College, winning several prizes, and spent his holidays travelling in England, Wales, Ireland, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal and Corsica.

In January 1908 Mathers was appointed Burgh Surveyor, Master of Works and Sanitary Inspector for the Burgh of Newport with an office at Burgh Chambers and a house at 2 Norwood, East Newport. Whilst in this position he also designed and erected at least one villa on his own account; but his work in his official capacity was limited largely to maintenance and road improvements, and although the Burgh Council was entirely satisfied with his performance, the Provost and Town Clerk describing him as 'careful and obliging' and of 'irreproachable' character, he resigned in late November 1910 to emigrate to Canada with a view to practising independently there. Immediately before leaving he applied for Licentiateship of the RIBA, and he was admitted on 16 January 1911, his proposers being Cappon, Thoms and Thoms's partner William Fleming Wilkie, all of Dundee. At the end of that month he was back in Dundee to sign his LRIBA membership declaration; it is unclear whether he had failed to find the opportunities he had hoped for in Canada or whether he had returned temporarily to organise his affairs.

Mathers's daughter, Margaret Robertson Mathers was a member of the Dundee Institute of Architects in 1939-40.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 3Burgh Chambers, Newport, Fife, ScotlandBusiness1908November 1910 
Item 2 of 32, Norwood, East Newport, Fife, ScotlandPrivate1910 *  
Item 3 of 3CanadaPrivate/businessJanuary 1911 *  

* 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 4Thomas Martin Cappon18931897Apprentice 
Item 2 of 4Thomas Martin Cappon18981903 or 1904(?)Junior Assistant 
Item 3 of 4Thomas Martin Cappon1903 or 1904December 1907Senior Assistant 
Item 4 of 4Newport Burgh Surveyor's DepartmentJanuary 1908November 1910 Burgh Surveyor, Master of Works and Sanitary Inspector


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Thomas Martin Cappon16 January 1911for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 3Patrick Hill Thoms16 January 1911for Licentiateship
Item 3 of 3William Fleming Wilkie16 January 1911for Licentiateship

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 6After 1893Competition design for a church    First premiated competition design
Item 2 of 6After 1893Design for a village hall   Scotland 
Item 3 of 61896St Patrick's RC Church, Presbytery and halls  DundeeScotlandAs apprentice/assistant to T M Cappon
Item 4 of 6After 1898Villa   Scotland 
Item 5 of 61899Forfar Fever HospitalWhitehills, Forfar AngusScotlandAs assistant to T M Cappon on third premiated competition design, which was nevertheless awarded job
Item 6 of 61904Clepington UF ChurchClepington DundeeScotlandAs senior assistant to T M Cappon


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 1Who's Who in Architecture1914    

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 L v8 no459 (microfilm reel 31)