Basic Biographical Details

Name: Alan Burgess Crombie
Designation: Architect
Born: 21 August 1845
Died: 29 October 1904
Bio Notes: Alan Burgess Crombie and James Crombie were born on 21 August 1845, the twin sons of architect Alexander Crombie of Dumfries. Both were articled to their father in 1860. Alan subsequently sought experience in London with Henry Astley Darbishire from 1864 to 1866, returning to assist his father in the latter year before being taken into partnership in 1870. James had a rather more adventurous career than his brother, seeking experience in the offices of Ewan Christian, Christopher Obee Ellison and Cubitt and Co's in London and Charles Dexter Gambrill and Henry Hobson Richardson in New York, returning c.1876 to become his brother's partner.

Alexander Crombie died in 1880. His sons' partnership was dissolved by 1881 when James became the partner of Patrick James Byrne of Windsor, with an office address at Lyons Inn Chambers, 303 Strand, London, and a home address at Rutland Lodge, Dulwich. Alan Burgess was elected FRIBA on 20 March that year, his proposers being John Honeyman, Darbishire, and John Baird. His brother must have passed the RIBA's qualifying exam as he was elected ARIBA on 9 January 1882, his proposers being Christian, Professor Robert Kerr and John Thomas Wimperis. He continued to practise from London, competing against Alan Burgess for the Ewart Library in 1900. He died in 1909.

Alan Burgess Crombie was married twice: first to Mary Elizabeth Cock by whom he had two sons, Alexander William Crombie (born 1873) and Alan Crombie (born 1875); second to Elizabeth Jane McIlraith by whom he had four sons, Wilfrid Ftizalan Crombie (30 January 1882-1952), John Wallace Crombie (1884-1967), Harold Crombie, b.1890, Stewart Phyn Crombie 1893-1917 and Alan Crombie, b.1895.

Alan Burgess Crombie predeceased his brother on 29 October 1904, leaving moveable estate of £5,287 4s 9d. The practice was taken over by his twenty-two-year-old son Wilfrid Fitzalan Crombie who had been articled to his father for two years from September 1896, leaving to attend eight months of day classes at Glasgow Technical College before being placed with Honeyman and Keppie (from 1901 Honeyman and Mackintosh) from 1899 to 1903, when he had returned to his father's practice.

Despite this interesting architectural lineage the work of the younger Crombies is notably interesting only in the decade following Alan and James's return from London and New York, notably at the Gothic board schools of the 1870s and the huge Victorian palazzo façade of Rosefield Mills which was presumably the inspiration for William Leiper's still finer Templeton Factory façade at Glasgow Green a few years later. Alan's later work is neo-Jacobean as at Maxwelltown Courthouse and neo baroque as at the Ewart Library.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 5Beaumont, Edinburgh Road, Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, ScotlandPrivate 1904 
Item 2 of 53, Queen Street, Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, ScotlandPrivate/business(?)1863 *  
Item 3 of 5Maryville, Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, ScotlandPrivate1881 *  
Item 4 of 511, Albany Place, Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, ScotlandPrivate1891  
Item 5 of 5Union Chambers, Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, ScotlandBusiness1900 *  

* 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 5Alexander Crombie18601864ApprenticeAssistant in 1866
Item 2 of 5Henry Astley Darbishire18641866Assistant 
Item 3 of 5Alexander Crombie18661870Assistant 
Item 4 of 5A Crombie & Son1870c. 1876(?)Partner 
Item 5 of 5A B & J Crombiec. 1876 *1881Partner 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2Wilfrid Fitzalan Crombie1 September 18961 September 1898Apprentice 
Item 2 of 2Wilfrid Fitzalan Crombie1 September 190329 November 1904Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3John Baird the Second20 March 1882for Fellowship
Item 2 of 3Henry Astley Darbishire20 March 1882for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3John Honeyman20 March 1882for 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 411869Clarencefield SchoolClarencefield DumfriesshireScotlandAs assistant to his father?
Item 2 of 411870Free Church, Victoria StreetKirkpatrick-Durham DumfriesshireScotlandRemodelling
Item 3 of 411871(?)BeaumontDumfries DumfriesshireScotlandDate uncertain - may be one of the 'numerous villas in Dumfries' mentioned in A B Crombie's ARIBA papers
Item 4 of 411871ManseHutton BerwickshireScotland 
Item 5 of 411871VillasDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 6 of 411872Manse for St Mary's ParishDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 7 of 411872Mansion for J Gordon EsqDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 8 of 411872Session Hall for St Michael's ParishDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 9 of 411872Victoria TerraceDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 10 of 411873Confectionery Works for J MacGregorDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 11 of 411874CemeteryDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 12 of 411874Noblehill SchoolDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 13 of 411874Terrace of houses for Sir James AndersonGlencaple DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 14 of 411874Two Villas for Sir James AndersonDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 15 of 411875Large draper's establishment for J L ScottDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 16 of 411876SchoolsDumfries and neighbourhood DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 17 of 411876St Michael's SchoolDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 18 of 411877Spinning and Dye Works for Provost ShortridgeDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 19 of 411878Kirkpatrick-Fleming ManseKirkpatrick-Fleming DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 20 of 411878St Mary's ChurchDumfries DumfriesshireScotlandAlterations
Item 21 of 411878Villas in Lovers Walk and Newall TerraceDumfries DunfriesshireScotland 
Item 22 of 411879United Associate ChurchDumfries DumfriesshireScotlandExtension
Item 23 of 411880Farm buildings for Lord Mansfield  DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 24 of 411880Gretna ManseGretna Green DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 25 of 411880St Andrews RC Pro-CathedralDumfries DumfriesshireScotlandDecoration
Item 26 of 41Before 1881MaryvilleDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 27 of 411885Rosefield MillsDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 28 of 411886St Mary's Church HallDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 29 of 411889Freemasons HallDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 30 of 411890Drill Hall, 43 Newall TerraceDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 31 of 411891Locharbriggs Village HallLocharbriggs DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 32 of 411892Maxwelltown Court HouseMaxwelltown, Dumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 33 of 411893Proudfoot InstituteMoffat DumfriesshireScotlandLarge addition
Item 34 of 41c. 1893Dalton Parish ChurchDalton DumfriesshireScotlandSubmitted plans for enlarging old church as well as for new church - not selected for job
Item 35 of 411897School at DumfriesDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 36 of 411899Villa, Craw RoadPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandPlans dated
Item 37 of 41Late 1800sChurch hallKirkcudbright KirkcudbrightshireScotland 
Item 38 of 411900Ewart Free LibraryDumfries DumfriesshireScotlandPlaced fourth by assessor but won competition and secured job following measurement
Item 39 of 411901George Street SchoolDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 40 of 411901Kirkcudbright AcademyKirkcudbright KirkcudbrightshireScotlandRebuilding of Barbour additions
Item 41 of 411902RC SchoolKilmarnock AyrshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 3British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 3Colvin, H M1995A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-18403rd editionNew Haven and London: Yale University Press 
Item 3 of 3Johnston, W T2003Artists of Scotland Officina Publications CDROM 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Dumfries and Galloway Standard27 August 1845   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 3Census records onlineCensuses  
Item 2 of 3Courtesy of Morag CrossInformation sent to DSA Sent March 2014
Item 3 of 3RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v6 p144 (microfiche 96/E1)