Basic Biographical Details

Name: Greig, Fairbairn & Macniven
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: c. 1903
Ended: April 1915
Bio Notes: Greig, Fairbairn & Macniven was an Edinburgh partnership founded by Alfred Greig and closely associated with Frank Worthington Simon and the School of Applied Art.

Alfred Greig was born in Edinburgh in 1869 or 1870 and was the son of Peter Macfarlane Greig. Educated at the Edinburgh Institution, he was articled to Thornton Shiells and Thomson in 1885, but quickly transferred to the more up-to-date practice of the Beaux-Arts educated Frank Worthington Simon in which he remained until 1890, subsequently attending Simon's classes at the Edinburgh School of Applied Art from 1892, together with others at Edinburgh College of Art and Heriot-Watt College. At the end of his apprenticeship with Simon, he became an assistant in Rowand Anderson's office, from which he won the School of Applied Art's travelling scholarship in 1897, establishing his own practice in 1898.

In association with Andrew Muirhead, Greig won first premiun in the competition for the Carnegie Baths in Dunfermline in 1901, but Blanc secured the commission and soon thereafter Muirhead died: no other work from Greig's first years in practice have yet been identified. His appointment by Anderson to the post of principal teacher of architecture in the School of Applied Art in 1903 enabled him to marry Helen Forsyth, daughter of John Forsyth, and take into partnership Walter Fairbairn and George Donaldson Macniven. Born in 1877, and educated at George Watson's college, Fairbairn had been articled to William Hamilton Beattie in 1892-96 and from there had become an assistant in the offices of Frank Worthington Simon 1896-97, Rowand Anderson 1897-99 and Leadbetter and Fairley 1899-1901 before returning to Simon and Anderson in the merged practice of Anderson, Simon and Crawford, 1901-02. During that period he had attended Simon's classes at the School of Applied Art and those of Heriot-Watt, winning the Tite prize in 1901. Macniven, born in 1878, was the son of John Macniven, publisher, and had been educated at George Watson's College and articled to George Washington Browne in 1893, following him to the merged practice of John More Dick Peddie and Washington Browne in 1894. Like Fairbairn, he had studied at the School of Applied Art and Heriot-Watt, winning the former's bursary which enabled him to make a study tour in France.

After the School of Applied Art merged as part of Edinburgh College of Art in 1906, Greig's appointment came to an end in 1908, but Fairbairn secured a part-time appointment at Edinburgh College of Art and Lauder Technical School in Dunfermline. The practice was based at 31 York Place and seems to have specialised in small-scale competitions, particularly for public libraries, but they also won that for a model church for the United Free Church in the Highlands, which brought a considerable number of commission for small churches in that area. All three architects were admitted LRIBA in the mass intake of 20 July 1911 with the same proposers: John Wilson, James Bow Dunn and Thomas Duncan Rhind.

The partnership continued until the First World War when Macniven withdrew to enter government service. He married Maud Grace Hendry in 1922 and became in succession Principal Architect and Housing Commissioner for the Scottish Board of Health, Depute Chief Architect at the Department of Health for Scotland and later Chief Architect. He died in 1949.

On Macniven's withdrawal the partnership became Greig & Fairbairn and was fortunate in securing a share of the Scottish National Housing Company's Admiralty Dockyard Garden City at Rosyth in 1915, a development planned and partly designed by Alfred Hugh Mottram from Sir Raymond Unwin's office, which came to an end with the closure of the dockyard in 1925. Thereafter the partnership was dissolved; Fairbairn continued to specialise in housing work, becoming Chief Technical Officer of the Scottish Special Housing Association in 1937-39. Greig continued the practice alone, specialising in 'Mansion House Architecture' (Scottish Biographies 1938). It appears that his practice consisted mainly of modernising existing houses but one large country house designed by him has been identified - Ardtaraig, near Dunoon.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 131, York Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1903April 1915 

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 3Alfred Greig1903April 1915Partner 
Item 2 of 3Walter Fairbairn1903April 1915Partner 
Item 3 of 3George Donaldson Macniven1903April 1915Partner 

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 221903Carnegie Public LibraryMotherwell LanarkshireScotlandWon competition and were commissioned
Item 2 of 22After 1903Alvie UF ChurchAlvie Inverness-shireScotland 
Item 3 of 22After 1903Aultbea UF ChurchAultbea Ross and CromartyScotlandWith executant architects Mackenzie & MacDonald
Item 4 of 22After 1903Bonnyrigg Infant SchoolBonnyrigg MidlothianScotland 
Item 5 of 22After 1903Glenurquhart UF ChurchGlenurquhart Inverness-shireScotland 
Item 6 of 22After 1903Kinloch UF ChurchKinlochLewisRoss and CromartyScotland 
Item 7 of 22After 1903Rosehall UF ChurchRosehall SutherlandScotland 
Item 8 of 22After 1903UF ChurchMuir of Ord Ross and CromartyScotland 
Item 9 of 221905Prestonpans Public LibraryPrestonpans East LothianScotlandCompetition design, not selected
Item 10 of 221905Whitehaven Public LibraryWhitehaven CumberlandEnglandWon open competition to secure job
Item 11 of 221906Kippenross HouseDunblane StirlingshireScotlandStaircase
Item 12 of 221907Maxton Public LibraryMaxton RoxburghshireScotland 
Item 13 of 221907Strathy Lochs UF Church and manseStrathy Lochs SutherlandScotlandWith Sinclair MacDonald as executant architect
Item 14 of 221908Bonnyrigg Public LibraryBonnyrigg MidlothianScotlandWon open competition to secure job
Item 15 of 221909Bruan UF ChurchBruan CaithnessScotlandWith Sinclair MacDonald as executant architect
Item 16 of 221909Cockpen Parish Council OfficesBonnyrigg MidlothianScotland 
Item 17 of 221909Latheron UF ChurchLatheron CaithnessScotland 
Item 18 of 221909Rogart UF ChurchRogart SutherlandScotland 
Item 19 of 221909UF ChurchBrora SutherlandScotlandWith Sinclair MacDonald as executant architect
Item 20 of 221910Tobermory UF ChurchTobermoryMullArgyllScotland 
Item 21 of 221912Inverchaolain Parish ChurchInverchaolain ArgyllScotland 
Item 22 of 22Before 1914Loganbank HouseGlencorse MidlothianScotlandInternal reconstruction and decoration

References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Post Office Directories     
Item 2 of 3Scottish Biographies1938  E J Thurston (pub.)Greig, MacNiven
Item 3 of 3Who's Who in Architecture1914    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Builder4 February 1949  MacNiven's obituary