Basic Biographical Details

Name: Simon & Capper
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1888
Ended: 1892
Bio Notes: Stewart Henbest Capper was born in 1860 at Upper Clapton in Greater London. His parents moved to Edinburgh when he was nine and from then he and his two brothers were educated at the Royal High School where he was dux in 1875. He then matriculated at Edinburgh University at the age of sixteen where he gained a First Class Honours in Classics in 1880 after studying for a session at the University of Heidelberg. Having chosen architecture as his profession he joined the office of J Burnet & Son, Glasgow in 1884, but a serious health condition forced him to accept later that same year a position as tutor to the only son of Sir Robert Morier, then British minister to Portugal and subsequently in Madrid, a post which was soon combined with that of private secretary. There he learned Portuguese and Spanish, studied Spanish architecture and made many lasting friendships. Still in that same year, 1884, he resumed the study of architecture by attending the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he was a pupil of Jean-Louis Pascal for four years. There he became a lifelong friend of Alexander Nisbet Paterson. After further travelling in Europe, Capper returned to Edinburgh in 1887, working as assistant to Sir George Washington Browne.

Shortly thereafter, whilst still working for Washington Browne, he formed a partnership with Frank Lewis Worthington Simon. Simon had been born on 31 March 1862 at Darmstadt, Germany, the son of David Worthington Simon DD MA PhD. He had been educated at Tettenhall College, Wolverhampton and the King Edward VI Grammar School in Birmingham, and had been articled to John Cotton in Birmingham in 1879. At the end of his apprenticeship, c.1882, he had become an assistant to Jethro Anstice Cossins in the same city. In or around the following year he had moved to Paris to join the atelier of Jean Louis Pascal and enrol at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he had shared rooms with Capper and John Keppie, whose stays were more brief. Together they had made 'jaunts together en province' for sketching or refreshment with the other students after 'strenuous days and nights at the atelier and en loge'. After completing the course he had spent about a year in Glasgow with Burnet Son & Campbell in 1886 and then a similar period with Wardrop & Anderson: according to his RIBA nomination paper he joined that firm just prior to George Washington Browne's departure. Throughout that period, from sometime before March 1885, Simon had had his own studio at 8 York Place from which he made a fine series of drawings of old Edinburgh which formed the basis of his 'Etchings of Old Edinburgh'. He had won the Tite Prize in 1887 and commenced independent practice in the following year at 34 St Andrew Square, his first significant commission being a fine house, Outwood, at 8 Mortonhall Road for his father, who had now become Principal Simon.

The newly formed partnership of Simon & Capper won the competition for Hope Chapel, Wigan, in 1888. However the partnership was brief and appears to have been dissolved by 1889. In 1890 Simon came into prominence as the architect of the Edinburgh International Exhibition of that year, working in collaboration with the artist-architect William Allan Carter who also had his own studio at 5 St Andrew Square. In that same year Rowand Anderson and David MacGibbon persuaded thirty well-off individuals to subscribe £1,200 for the formation of the Edinburgh School of Applied Art at the Royal Institution. When classes commenced on 17 October 1892 Simon was its first professor with George Mackie Watson as first assistant, quickly joined by his brother John who had run the Edinburgh Architectural Association classes and by Capper, the last giving the School as a whole a marked Ecole des Beaux-Arts bias in its teaching. All owed their appointments to Anderson's patronage, the Watson brothers also being ex-assistants of Anderson's while Capper was an ex-assistant of his former partner George Washington Browne. Prior to that, on 8 June 1891, Capper had been admitted ARIBA, his proposers being John James Burnet, William Leiper and Richard Phené Spiers.

Simon moved his private practice to 36 Hanover Street late in 1891 or early 1892. The School of Applied Art was hugely successful in attracting students and later that same year, 1892, pressure of work at the School - where the classes were from 8 to 10am - induced Simon to end his partnership with Capper and enter a short-lived partnership with Charles Edward Tweedie. Capper had also become overcommitted by that time: besides his teaching duties, late in 1891 he had become associated with Professor Patrick Geddes in the work of the Town & Gown University Settlement, restoring and renovating the Old Town of Edinburgh to create staff and student residences. He continued this work, which resulted in the Ramsay Garden, Riddles Court, James Court and Blackie House development.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 134, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1888c. 1889Simon continued on his own after this at this address

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 2Frank Lewis Worthington Simon18881892Partner 
Item 2 of 2Stewart Henbest Capper18881892Partner 

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 21888Hope ChapelWigan LancashireEnglandWon in competition
Item 2 of 21890Whiteinch OrphanageBroomhill GlasgowScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 2Gray, A Stuart1985Edwardian Architecture: A Biographical Dictionary   
Item 2 of 2Post Office Directories     

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 Letters from Marilyn Baker to DMW 1978-79.