Basic Biographical Details

Name: Begg & Lorne Campbell
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1920
Ended: c. 1924
Bio Notes: John Begg was born at Bo'ness on September 1866, the third son of John Begg, JP and ironmaster there. He claimed descent from the family of Robert Burns. Begg was educated at Edinburgh Academy from 1879 to 1883. He was articled to Hippolyte Jean Blanc from 1884 to 1889 and studied at Heriot-Watt and the Edinburgh School of Design. From there he gained a place in the offices of Alfred Waterhouse. He then became chief assistant to Sir Robert Edis (1891-95) at £3 per week and in the same capacity to Young & Hall (1895). While in London he studied at both the Architectural Association and The Royal Academy Schools (1890-92) and was President of the Architectural Association in 1896. There he won the Pugin Studentship in 1890 (as a result of which he spent time travelling in Northamptonshire), the Ashpitel Prize in 1891, was runner-up for the Soane Medallion in 1892. He was elected ARIBA on 8 June 1891 on passing the qualifying exam, his proposers being Alfred Waterhouse, John Macvicar Anderson and Richard Phené Spiers, head of the RA Schools, and was awarded RIBA's silver medal (essay) in 1894.

In his London years Begg became acquainted with Lorimer who commissioned presentation drawings from him, being the best draughtsman he knew, but the link with Lorimer was broken in 1896 when Begg was appointed architect to the Real Estate Corporation of South Africa; this appointment ended with the Boer unrest in 1899 (no work is known from his South African years) and between that year and 1901 Begg was back in Edinburgh working for Lorimer at 2 shillings and sixpence an hour while his chief assistant J F Matthew was soldiering for 15 months in South Africa having been called up as a volunteer ('not a paying business … however it's a blessing to get hold of a chap that's any use').

In 1901 Begg was appointed consulting architect to the Government of Bombay where he became a J P and Presiding Magistrate in 1904, and appointed George Wittet of Elgin as his depute; and in 1907 he was appointed Consulting Architect to the Government of India in succession to James Ransome, who had broken the monopoly of the Royal Engineers and the Public Works engineers who trained for Indian Service at Cooper's Hill.

Begg was proficient in a variety of styles, some Indo-Saracenic in the late Victorian tradition of British India and some reflecting contemporary British architecture, particularly that of Lutyens. But admiration for Lutyens' architecture did not deter Begg from intriguing against the New Delhi Town Planning Committee appointed by Lord Hardinge as viceroy in March 1912 and against Lutyens and Lanchester in particular. Not unreasonably he set out the difficulties of engaging 'home architects' within the Indian Public Works system but was not given the role he requested as the Government of India took the view that he was already fully occupied. His disaffection resulted in him providing confidential material and reports of rumours to his brother-in-law, a parliamentary reporter, who in turn fed them to Joseph King, Liberal MP for Somerset North, who conducted a well-informed Commons campaign throughout 1912, culminating in a wide-ranging attack on the project on 20 December. Although he had been given a major role in the competition for the New Delhi secretariat, Hardinge excluded Begg from all further knowledge of the project in March 1913; a report in which Begg advocated an Indo-Saracenic idiom for New Delhi did not help matters. Begg survived the events of 1912-13 when a lesser architect might have been asked to resign. But no honours came his way when his term of office in India ended in 1921. He returned to private practice in Edinburgh, briefly at 60 Castle Street and later at 23 Rutland Square, forming a partnership with Alexander Lorne Campbell, an old colleague in Blanc's office.

Campbell was born in 1871 and was articled to Peter Lyle Barclay Henderson of Edinburgh for four years from November 1886, remaining with him as assistant for a further six months until 1891 when he took up a post in the City Architect's Department, the City Architect then being Robert Morham. During that period he attended art classes at Edinburgh College of Art, Fine Art classes at Edinburgh University, and art, architecture and technical classes at Heriot-Watt College. He commenced independent practice in July 1896 at 21 St Andrew Square, moving two years later to 44 Queen Street to enter into partnership with John Nichol Scott, who was eight years older (born 1863). Scott had been articled to Archibald Macpherson and subsequently worked in the offices of Rowand Anderson, William Gardner Rowan and Hippolyte Jean Blanc, and had spent the previous two years in informal partnership with James Anderson Williamson, another assistant of Robert Morham's, for the purpose of entering the North Bridge competition, on which they were successful. In 1899 the newly formed partnership of J N Scott and A Lorne Campbell had a major success when Walter Wood Robertson awarded them first place in the competition for Midlothian County Buildings, but as in the North Bridge competition the practice derived little benefit from it, the Convener on the County Sir James Gibson Craig giving the commission to James Macintyre Henry whose design had been placed fourth. In the following year, 1900, the practice had a further success in the competition for St Stephens UF Church, Comely Bank which at last launched the practice into actual building. Both partners were admitted FRIBA on 4 March 1907, their proposers being Blanc, Alexander Hunter Crawford and Harold Ogle Tarbolton. Scott was then living at 22 Brougham Place and Campbell at 7 Inverleith Terrace. Campbell's nomination papers state that his travels up to that point had taken him to Germany, Holland and Belgium. Although Campbell had never worked for Rowand Anderson he became closely associated with him in professional matters during the First World War. When Anderson was awarded the Royal Gold Medal in 1916 and was too ill to travel to London to receive it personally it was Campbell who read out the address and the Lord Provost, Sir Robert Inches, who received the medal on his behalf; and it was again Campbell who acted for Anderson when on 6 October they approached John Watson and William Whitie of the Glasgow Institute of Architects for their agreement to the formation of a national institute, the formal meeting taking place on the 19th. When Anderson died in 1921, Campbell was one of the executors and designed the memorial cottage to Lady Anderson who had died some five months earlier. The practice moved to 60 Castle Street before 1914. The partnership lasted until Scott's death (date as yet unknown), after which Campbell entered into partnership with Begg.

The partnership of Begg & Lorne Campbell was dissolved c.1924, prior to which time, in 1922, Begg had become head of the architectural section of Edinburgh College of Art. Both partners continued to practise alone thereafter.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 160, Castle Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1920c. 1924Address throughout

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 4John Begg1920(?)c. 1924Partner 
Item 2 of 4Alexander Lorne Campbell1920c. 1924Partner 
Item 3 of 4Thomas Stanley Aitchison KennedyJanuary 1921April 1925Apprentice 
Item 4 of 4Thomas Stanley Aitchison KennedyApril 1925c. August 1925Junior Draughtsman 

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 131921Brechin War MemorialBrechin AngusScotlandDesign exhibited
Item 2 of 131921George Watson's College, Watsonian memorial  EdinburghScotlandDesign exhibited
Item 3 of 131921Lady Anderson's Memorial CottageColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 4 of 131921Theatre    Conversion of unspecified building to theatre
Item 5 of 131922New College, UF Church War Memorial  EdinburghScotlandDesign exhibited
Item 6 of 131922Paisley War MemorialPaisley RenfrewshireScotlandUnsuccessful competition design
Item 7 of 131922St Bernard's Parish Church War Memorial  EdinburghScotlandDesign exhibited
Item 8 of 131922St Giles Cathedral, Scottish Ministers War Memorial  EdinburghScotland 
Item 9 of 131922Tenements at Heriot Bridge  EdinburghScotland 
Item 10 of 131923Bengal Legislative Council Chamber  BengalIndiaCompetition design
Item 11 of 131923House for Sir J Paterson BrownMurrayfield EdinburghScotlandDesign exhibited
Item 12 of 13192436 Colinton Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 13 of 131925Edinburgh Dental Hospital and school  EdinburghScotlandRebuilt incorporating Lessels and Taylor corner building (these dates are beyond the known dates of the Begg & Lorne Campbell partnership; it is unclear which partner was responsible)


Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v18 p75 no1210 (microfilm reel 12)