Basic Biographical Details

Name: James Jerdan & Son
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1903 or 1904
Ended: 1947
Bio Notes: James Jerdan was born at Greenlees Farm near Yetholm on 21 May 1839, the son of a tenant farmer, Robert Jerdan, and Helen Brunton. He was apprenticed as a joiner and was described as a journeyman joiner when he married nineteen-year-old Helen Watson, a Melrose-born power-loom weaver, in Galashiels in 1868.

Around 1875 he joined Wardrop & Reid in Edinburgh, probably as a clerk-of-works. Around 1885 he set up practice on his own account at 74 George Street with the gift of office equipment surplus to requirements following the merger of the Wardrop & Reid practice with Rowand Anderson's. Soon afterward Jerdan moved office to 12 Castle Street, where the practice remained for the rest of its existence.

The Jerdans first lived in Tynecastle, later moving to Dundee Street which was listed as their address in the census of 1901, and finally to 5 Craiglockhart Terrace shortly thereafter. They had nine children. The eldest son, Robert, became a chartered surveyor in North Castle Street and did the survey work for the practice. Thomas, born 1873, died at the age of twenty. John, born 1875, and James Watson, born 1882, became architects. The fifth and youngest son, George L, born c.1884, was listed as a joiner in the 1901 census, and seems to have been briefly in the family office, but emigrated to Australia before the First World War to join his brothers-in-law in their building contractors' business. The daughters were Janet (born c.1870), Elizabeth S (born c.1880 and working as a photographer's assistant in 1901) and Jane (born 15 and listed in 1901 as a typist).

Of the two architect sons, John was the more gifted and continued the practice. He was educated at the Edinburgh Institution and articled to his father. During that period he attended the classes at Heriot-Watt - where his father taught architecture and building construction - and won the free-hand drawing medal during the 1892-3 session: he also attended the Trustees classes at the Royal Scottish Academy.

In 1897 John made a study tour of France, and in 1899 another of Britain. In that year he obtained a place in the office of Aston Webb, where he met Ralph Knott. They became close friends, attending the drawing classes at the Slade together. A partnership was planned but abandoned in 1903 or 1904, as James Jerdan was by then suffering from diabetes and John had to return home to take over the business, which does not seem to have had enough work to support three partners. James Junior (who hyphenated his name as James Watson-Jerdan) obtained a post with Fife County Council in Kirkcaldy and set up a separate practice just before the First World War at Ivy College, Barnes, London, moving later to Croydon, where he died in 1932. The elder Jerdans retired to Warden House, Coldingham, where Helen died in 1909. James died in Edinburgh on 16 November 1913.

John Jerdan was admitted LRIBA in the mass intake of 20 July 1911. He married Ralph Knott's sister Mabel in 1916, setting up house in the attic of the Kinnear building at 125 Princes Street, where their only child Thelma was born in 1917. In the early 1920s they bought Merchiston Cottage, 16 Colinton Road, from the Scott Mortins, who executed much of their woodcarving. Thelma went to Edinburgh College of Art in 1936 and helped out in the office, but her main work was as an illustrator for an educational publisher. The office closed in 1941, when John joined the Ministry of Works. It re-opened in 1946, but John died of bronchitis on 11 March 1947. His wife had predeceased him on Christmas day 1945.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 112, Castle Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1903(?)1947 

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 14James Watson-Jerdanc. 1897c. 1902Apprentice 
Item 2 of 14James Watson-Jerdanc. 19021904Assistant 
Item 3 of 14Robert Jerdan1903 or 1904 Surveyor 
Item 4 of 14James Jerdan1903 or 1904Before 1909Partner 
Item 5 of 14John Jerdan1903 or 1904c. 1947Partner 
Item 6 of 14George JerdanBefore 1914Before 1914Assistant(?) 
Item 7 of 14Ion Victor Godfrey Hamilton WarnerNovember 1915July 1916Apprentice 
Item 8 of 14Archibald James Baxter19191923Apprentice 
Item 9 of 14Malcolm NicolsonMay 1923June 1929Apprentice 
Item 10 of 14Angus Moncur NeilsonSeptember 19251930Apprentice 
Item 11 of 14David Gray Kirk19261931Apprentice 
Item 12 of 14George Duns1 September 19278 April 1932ApprenticeApparently also spending time in Walter Duns's office
Item 13 of 14Alexander William Thorntonc. June 1930c. September 1930Apprentice 
Item 14 of 14Alexander James Wilson Morrison1932 or 1933 Assistant(?) 

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 471904Braidwood House  EdinburghScotland 
Item 2 of 471904Donaldson & Co Motor Car WorksGorgie EdinburghScotland 
Item 3 of 471904House for Professor F G BaileyColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 4 of 471905ArdlagganNew Galloway KirkcudbrightshireScotland 
Item 5 of 471905BalnowartBallantrae AyrshireScotland 
Item 6 of 471906MonkwoodColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 7 of 471906NewburyColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 8 of 471907DavaarEarlsferry FifeScotland 
Item 9 of 471907Villa, 7 Spylaw ParkColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 10 of 471907Winchburgh SchoolWinchburgh West LothianScotlandSenior school addition to NW
Item 11 of 47190830 Gillespie RoadColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 12 of 471908AthelstanefordColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 13 of 471908House for J MacLeodColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 14 of 471908House for James MilneColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 15 of 471909Chisholme House  RoxburghshireScotlandAdditions and reconstruction
Item 16 of 471909Dean Cemetery and lodgesDean EdinburghScotlandExtension, wall and entrance gate and lodge at N
Item 17 of 471910Abbeylands, The PrioryDunbar East LothianScotland 
Item 18 of 471911Abbeylands, The BieldDunbar East LothianScotland 
Item 19 of 471913Abbeylands, The PrioryDunbar East LothianScotlandGarden wall and summer house
Item 20 of 471913Cranstoun School  MidlothianScotlandAdditions
Item 21 of 471913Five villas, Lockharton Gardens  EdinburghScotland 
Item 22 of 471913Free Church and hallMerchiston EdinburghScotlandChurch hall
Item 23 of 47191410 Castle Street  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 24 of 4719144 Thistle Street Lane  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 25 of 4719147 Castle Street  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 26 of 471914Benarty HouseColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 27 of 471914Cousland School  MidlothianScotlandAdditions
Item 28 of 471914Double villa, 4-6 Pentland AvenueColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 29 of 471914Villa for John McLeod, Spylaw ParkColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 30 of 47c. 1914St David's New Parish Church  EdinburghScotland 
Item 31 of 471915Bangour Village AsylumUphall West LothianScotlandOperating theatres
Item 32 of 471915Free Church and hallMerchiston EdinburghScotlandCompletion of tower
Item 33 of 471915Langlee House, WatersideJedburgh RoxburghshireScotlandRestoration after fire
Item 34 of 471915Villa, 4 Spylaw ParkColinton EdinburghScotlandVilla built
Item 35 of 47c. 1915Villa, Craiglockhart Terrace  EdinburghScotlandDining room
Item 36 of 471916Frosts, 67-81 Shandwick Place  EdinburghScotlandAlterations to no 67
Item 37 of 471916Greenend DairyGreenend  ScotlandAlterations
Item 38 of 471916St Cuthbert's Poorhouse, Recreation HallCraigleith EdinburghScotlandAlterations?
Item 39 of 471917Princes Cinema  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 40 of 471918Pinkieburn HouseMusselburgh MidlothianScotlandExtensions for hospital use
Item 41 of 471921Astley Ainslie Hospital  EdinburghScotlandMainly conversion and extension of Canaan Park and conversion of Canaan House as administrative offices
Item 42 of 471925Two detached houses for the Spylaw Building AssociationColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 43 of 471927Scottish Legal Life Assurance Society Office  GlasgowScotlandCompetition design - not successful
Item 44 of 471933The White HouseGullane East LothianScotland 
Item 45 of 47193418-22 Howe Street  EdinburghScotlandTwo-level dormers and doorpiece inserted
Item 46 of 471934St George's Episcopal Church and Manse  EdinburghScotlandInsertion of two large display windows
Item 47 of 471937Flats, Colinton Road  EdinburghScotland 

References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Adam, Shona1991James Jerdan & Son, Architects, Memoir by Shona Adam, Granddaughter of John Jerdan Exhibition Catalogue, RIAS Gallery, January-February 1991 
Item 2 of 2Pride, Glen L1999The Kingdom of Fife2nd EditionThe Rutland Pressp169-170

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Builder21 November 1913  Obituary of James Senior
Item 2 of 3Builder21 March 1947  Obituary of John Jerdan
Item 3 of 3Scotsman25 March 1947  Obituary of John Jerdan

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Shona Adam, Granddaughter of John JerdanJames Jerdan & Son Office Ledger