Basic Biographical Details

Name: James Simpson Pirie
Designation: Engineer
Born: 27 September 1860
Died: 12 April 1943
Bio Notes: James Simpson Pirie was born in Turriff, Aberdeenshire on 27 September 1860. As a boy he moved to Edinburgh with his family. He attended George Watson's College and entered the practice of Blyth & Cunningham in Edinburgh in 1877 rising to the position of chief assistant in the early years of the 20th century. When the firm's senior partner Benjamin Hall Blyth junior died in 1917, the other partner, Benjamin Hall Blyth III, was in France, serving as a Colonel with the Royal Engineers, having enlisted on the outbreak of the First World War. Pirie was then made a partner, Benjamin Hall Blyth III returning to the partnership at the cease of hostilities.

The first 40 years of Pirie's professional life were spent almost entirely on railway and dock construction works, first for the Caledonian and afterwards for the North British Railway Companies in Scotland. There was very little construction work in hand between 1918 and 1927, but thereafter the firm became involved in the extensive new programme of reconstruction of the country's roads and bridges instigated by the Ministry of Transport and the Local Authorities. They also became consultants to many industrial concerns such as mills, factories and breweries.

In 1930 James Reed, who had graduated BSc at Edinburgh University and subsequently trained with Redpath Brown & Company and Balfour Beatty & Co before becoming chief assistant in the Blyth firm in 1927, was taken into partnership. Pirie retired in 1934 or 1935, having been with the practice for 57 years. He died on 12 April 1943. Blyth and Reed continued in partnership thereafter. Throughout the latter changes the practice title remained unchanged as Blyth & Blyth.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this engineer:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1135, George Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessBefore 19171935 

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this engineer (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2Blyth & Blyth19171935Partner 
Item 2 of 2Blyth & BlythBefore 19171917Chief Assistant 

Buildings and Designs

This engineer 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 151892Waverley Station  EdinburghScotlandAlterations and additions including Mound outer tunnels
Item 2 of 151894North Bridge  EdinburghScotland 
Item 3 of 151903Methil Harbour and DocksMethil FifeScotlandDock no 3
Item 4 of 151924Bridge, KirkcudbrightKirkcudbright KirkcudbrightshireScotlandWith Louis Gustav Mouchel as engineer
Item 5 of 151924New Bridge over River EskMusselburgh MidlothianScotlandWidened bridge
Item 6 of 151930Bridge over the River OichAberchalder Inverness-shireScotlandMears and Carus-Wilson as architects. Blyth and Blyth as consulting engineers
Item 7 of 151931New Dunglass BridgeOldhamstocks/Cockburnspath Berwickshire/East LothianScotland 
Item 8 of 151931Spey BridgeGrantown-on-Spey MorayshireScotland 
Item 9 of 151931Tyninghame BridgeTyninghame East LothianScotlandRebuilding
Item 10 of 151933Factory for Central Farmers Ltd, AberhillAberhill, Methil FifeScotland 
Item 11 of 151933Invermoriston BridgeInvermoriston Inverness-shireScotlandMears & Carus-Wilson as architects; Blyth & Blyth as enginners
Item 12 of 151933Lomond BridgeBalloch DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 13 of 151934Fort Augustus Bridge over the River OichFort Augustus Inverness-shireScotlandSir Frank Mears as architect, Blyth & Blyth as engineers
Item 14 of 151938Station BridgeGalashiels SelkirkshireScotland 
Item 15 of 151939New BridgeAncrum RoxburghshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this engineer:
Item 1 of 2Blyth & Blyth1948A history of the firm of Blyth & Blyth, chartered civil engineers, consulting structural engineers 1848-1948 Edinburgh: C J Cousland 
Item 2 of 2Royal Society of Edinburgh1943Royal Society of Edinburgh Yearbook, 1942-43  Obituary of Pirie by B Hall Blyth.