Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||David Theodore Fyfe |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||3 November 1875 |
|Died: ||1 January 1945 |
|Bio Notes: ||David Theodore Fyfe (generally known simply as Theodore Fyfe) was born at Yloilo in the Phillipines on 3 November 1875, second son of James Sloan Fyfe and Jane Charlotte Abercrombie Fyfe. His mother died in 1882. The family then returned to Britain, his father dying soon afterwards on 13 July 1884 in London. Fyfe was then brought up by an unmarried aunt, Jane Sloan Fyfe, and an uncle, John Alexander Fyfe, an insurance clerk, at 48 Rosebank Terrace, Glasgow and was educated at Glasgow Academy (Builder and RIBA obituaries say Albany Academy). |
In September 1890 Fyfe was articled to Burnet Son and Campbell, and he remained as assistant after completing his apprenticeship, taking classes at the Glasgow School of Art where he was awarded the Haldane Bursary in 1894. In mid-1897 he moved to London as an assistant first to Arthur Beresford Pite and then to Aston Webb, which enabled him to study at the Architectural Association. There he won its travelling scholarship, enabling him to study at the British School in Athens. In 1899-1900 he travelled in the Mediterranean studying classical architecture, and was appointed by the Directors of the Cretan Exploration Fund, Arthur Evans and David George Hogarth, as architect for the excavations at Knossos. They made their first journey there in March 1900, but he was back at the British School in August, apparently in connection with alterations there which appear to represent the commencement of independent practice referred to in his nomination papers. Another study tour was then made of Bologna, Ferrara and Florence, followed by a visit to the British School and a further study tour in Constantinople and Brusa. By February 1901 he had established his own practice at 4 Gray's Inn Square, London, Fyfe returned to Crete with Evans, much of his time in 1903 was spent on plans for the reconstruction of Knossos. Throughout this period his personal practice was small but he hired himself out to Beresford Pite and to Aston Webb and Ingress Bell as his commitments on Knossos allowed.
From 1904 onwards Fyfe was working mainly for Burnet on the British Museum although he continued to maintain his own private practice, now at 2 Gray's Inn Square, designing the Shaftesbury Institute Lodging Home for Working Women at Lisson Grove. Other works for which he was responsible include the hall and classrooms at Charlotte Masson College, Ambleside, work in Chester Cathedral, the Memorial Chapel at Ashton Hayes near Chester and the Science block at Chester Training College. He also built houses in Cambridge and elsehere. He was admitted FRIBA on 10 June 1907, his proposers being Burnet, Pite and Webb and joined the Art Workers Guild in 1909 and served on the committee from 1914-16. On 20 September 1911 he married Mary Nina Brown, daughter of Robert Wright Brown, a Birkenhead cotton merchant. From 1913 he was based in Burnet's office at 1 and 2 Montague Place, during which period a partnership was discussed following the departure of Thomas Tait early in 1914. It appears he carried on his private practice from there at those dates, any work for Burnet in those years presumably being on a fee-paid rather than a salaried basis. The outbreak of war, the ending of work at the British Museum and the Institute of Chemistry together with a period of ill-health which lasted a year brought his arrangements with Burnet to a close, and he moved for a time to 34 King Street, Chester, before becoming housing architect to the Ministry of Health in Queensferry and in London. This appointment seems to have been relatively short-term and in 1917 he appears to have been either at Llysafi Manor, Pentre-Colyn, Ruthin or at The Garth, Oxton, both properties belonging to his father-in-law.
In 1919 Fyfe was appointed architect to the Dean and Chapter of Chester Cathedral, and in 1921 lectured on classical archaeology at Cambridge. Apppointment as Master of Architecture at the School of Architecture there followed in 1922, and after being made MA honoris causa in 1925, he became Director. He revisited Knossos in March 1926 and directed the Excavations at Glastonbury in 1926-27. In 1932 he was awarded the Henry Florence Bursary which enabled him to travel to Italy Greece, Asia Minor, Transjordan, Turkey, Syria and Egypt, the results of his studies there being published as ' Hellenistic Architecture: an introductory study' in 1936.
Fyfe retired as Director in 1935 and moved to Longstowe Hall, Cambridgeshire. In his retirment he wrote 'Architecture in Cambridge', published by Cambridge University Press in 1942. He drowned in a skating accident on 1 January 1945 at his home. No executed work in Scotland is known but he collaborated with Patrick Abercrombie and Dr William Kelly on the Deeside Regional Planning report in 1923.
'Architecture of Cambridge'
'The Little Country Church'
'Painted plaster decoration at Knossos.' Journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 1903, 10, 3rd series: 107-31.
'The church of St. Titus at Gortyna, Crete.' Architectural Review, 1907, 22: 5-60.
'Hellenistic architecture: an introductory study', Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1936
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|34, King Street, Chester, Cheshire, England||Private|| || || |
|4, Gray's Inn Square, London, England||Private/business||c. 1901||After 1907|| |
|2, Gray's Inn Square, London, England||Business||c. 1905|| || |
|1, Montague Place, London, England||Business||1913||1915|| |
|Longstowe Hall, Cambridgeshire, England||Private||After 1935|| || |
Employment and Training
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 started||Building name||Town, district or village||Island||City or county||Country||Notes|
|1904||King's Weighhouse Church||Mayfair|| ||London||England||Was the job architect working with Burnet on new chancel and furnishings|
|1905 or 1906||British Museum||Bloomsbury|| ||London||England||King Edward VII Wing (North Wing) and British Museum Avenue running N from new wing laid out -as assistant and subsequently prospective partner to Sir John James Burnet|
|After 1911||Second Church of Christ Scientist||Notting Hill Gate|| ||London||England||Associated with this project as part-time assistant and prospective partner|
|1914||Institute of Chemistry of Great Britain and Ireland|| || ||London||England||Associated with this project as part-time assistant and prospective partner|
|1921||Paisley War Memorial||Paisley|| ||Renfrewshire||Scotland||Unsuccessful competition design with Gilbert Bayes, sculptor|
|Before 1945||Housing for the Ministry of Health||North Queensferry|| ||Fife||Scotland|| |
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Beauty's Awakening|| ||Beauty's Awakening: The Centenary Exhibition of the Art Workers' Guild|| ||Brighton Museum September -November 1984, Royal Pavilion Brighton|| |
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Builder||19 January 1945|| || ||p59 - Obituary|
|RIBA Journal||February 1945|| ||London: Royal Institute of British Architects||Obituary p116|
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|David Gill, Swansea University||Information courtesy of David Gill, who is compiling book on British School in Athens|| ||Sent May 2008|
|Professor David M Walker personal archive||Professor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material|| ||Research by Peter Soar, 59 Castle Street, Cambridge, sent 22 January 2003|
|RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert Museum||RIBA Nomination Papers|| ||F v18 p119 no 1233 (microfilm reel 12)|