Basic Biographical Details

Name: James Crombie
Designation: Architect
Born: 21 August 1845
Died: 1909
Bio Notes: James Crombie and Alan Burgess 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 Gambrill & 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. James 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 his brother for the Ewart Library in 1900. He died in 1909.

Alan predeceased his brother on 29 November 1904. The practice was taken over by his twenty-two-year-old son Wilfrid Fitzalan Crombie (born 30 January 1882), who had been articled to his father for two years from September 1896, leaving to attend eight months of day classes at Glasgow and West of Scotland 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 fašade of Rosefield Mills which was presumably the inspiration for William Leiper's still finer Templeton Factory fašade 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 33, Queen Street, Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, ScotlandPrivate/business(?)1863 *  
Item 2 of 3Lyons Inn Chambers/ 303, The Strand, London, EnglandBusinessc. 1881  
Item 3 of 3Rutland Lodge, Dulwich, London, EnglandPrivatec. 1881  

* 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 8Alexander Crombie18601864Apprentice 
Item 2 of 8Ewan Christian1864(?)Before 1876  
Item 3 of 8Thomas CubittAfter 1864Before 1876  
Item 4 of 8William Cubitt & CoAfter 1864Before 1876  
Item 5 of 8Christopher Obie EllisonAfter 1864Before 1876  
Item 6 of 8Gambrill & RichardsonAfter 1864Before 1876  
Item 7 of 8A B & J Crombiec. 1876 *1881Partner 
Item 8 of 8Byrne & Crombie1881Before 1909Partner 

* earliest date known from documented sources.


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Ewan Christian9 January 1882for Associateship
Item 2 of 3Robert Kerr9 January 1882for Associateship
Item 3 of 3John Thomas Wimperis9 January 1882for Associateship

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 81876SchoolsDumfries and neighbourhood DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 2 of 81876St Michael's SchoolDumfries DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 3 of 81878Kirkpatrick-Fleming ManseKirkpatrick-Fleming DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 4 of 81878St Mary's ChurchDumfries DumfriesshireScotlandAlterations
Item 5 of 81878Villas in Lovers Walk and Newall TerraceDumfries DunfriesshireScotland 
Item 6 of 81880Gretna ManseGretna Green DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 7 of 81900Ewart Free LibraryDumfries DumfriesshireScotlandPlaced third by the assessor, but his brother obtained the commission
Item 8 of 8Before 1909(?)Kirkconnel SchoolKirkconnel DumfriesshireScotlandDesigned extension? (NB: Crombie died in 1909, and extension was executed in 1912-14; unclear whether he designed the extension before his death or whether this is a misattribution)


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 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A v8 p85 (microfiche 31/F4)