Basic Biographical Details

Name: T P Marwick & Son
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1917
Ended: 1940(?)
Bio Notes: Thomas Purves Marwick was born in 1854 in Edinburgh, and educated there, serving his articles with Peddie & Kinnear. He won the Ashpitel Prize in 1882 and the RIBA Silver Medal in 1884 for an essay on staircases, and made the highest marks in all subjects at the RIBA Qualifying Examination for Associateship in 1882, earning the commendation of Alfred Waterhouse and Sir Horace Jones of the Board of Examiners. He was admitted ARIBA on 8 January 1883, his proposers being Robert Rowand Anderson, Arthur Cates and John Macvicar Anderson, as neither Peddie nor Kinnear were fellows.

Marwick commenced practice in Edinburgh in or about 1879 working cautiously from his suburban home addresses initially. His early years being were spent building good-quality tenements in the Marchmont/Bruntsfield area. When John MacLachlan of York Place died in 1893, he bought his business, and managed to retain MacLachlan's main clients, the National Bank and the St Cuthbert's Co-operative Society. The character of some of MacLachlan's late work, notably the National Bank building at the corner of High Street and Cockburn Street, suggests that Marwick may have assisted him in his last years. Marwick soon built up a large and varied practice. His obituary lauds him as a great planner, his work 'a natural expression of plan and construction.' He sometimes followed Scottish tradition, but he was primarily an accomplished Free Renaissance and neo-baroque designer, capable of good design in other styles as the occasion demanded.

The National Bank retained Marwick's services almost exclusively throughout his life, employing him to build numerous branch offices throughout the country, including those at Trongate, Glasgow, Kilmarnock, East Linton, Fort William, and Portobello. St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association in Edinburgh similarly remained an exceptionally loyal client, commissioning additions to their head office in Fountainbridge, premises at Bread Street and Nicolson Street, and various stables, bakeries, slaughterhouses and district branches.

In addition to his architectural work, Marwick was active in public life. In 1892 he joined the Merchant Company of Edinburgh, designed the extension of their Hanover Street premises in 1901, and was elected Assistant Master in 1917. From 1915 to 1920 he served as Convenor of the Estates Committee of the Merchant Company Education Board for Peterhead, and was the Convenor of the Special Committee of the Company in 1919, retiring from office in 1920. During his time as Convenor, the Committee published a comprehensive report on recommendations for furthering industry in Edinburgh.

Marwick was scholarly, with an extensive architectural library, and an expert knowledge of many areas of architecture and antiquity; in particular he was an authority on Old Edinburgh. Valuation was an important element of his practice, and he was frequently called upon as an expert witness, mainly on Edinburgh property. As an active member of the Edinburgh Architectural Association, he was its President from 1918 to 1921, and one of the earliest presidents of the Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, from 1922 to 1924. Deafness in his later years made this kind of work increasingly difficult.

Marwick had an abrupt manner with strangers and even with his own family, but according to an anonymous former pupil, 'this abruptness was due to an acute and active brain'. He was remembered in his obituary as a 'prodigious and untiring worker' who worked 'without fuss' and had little use for assistants who were not dedicated to the profession. His pupils and assistants included Alexander Lorimer, who worked for him for forty years, Arthur James Driver of Blomfield's office in London, William James Walker Todd of Dick Peddie & Walker Todd, James Gillespie who shared his scholarly interests, and William Davidson, head of Edinburgh College of Art Evening Architectural School from 1908.

Marwick's son Thomas Craigie Marwick (born 10 February 1878) was articled to his father in 1898, attending the Edinburgh School of Applied Art and Heriot-Watt College, and remained with his father after completing his apprenticeship. He was admitted LRIBA in the mass intake of 20 July 1911, proposed by James Bow Dunn and the Edinburgh Architectural Association. His travels prior to that time had included tours of England, France and Belgium, and later he would visit Italy and Greece. In 1917 he was taken into partnership by his father, the firm name becoming T P Marwick & Son.

Thomas Purves Marwick died on 26 June 1927, survived by two daughters and his son, who continued the practice under the same name. Thomas Craigie Marwick's own son Thomas Waller Marwick was born in 1903 or 1904 and educated at George Watson's College. He was articled to the family firm and made a ten-week study tour of the USA and Canada in 1928 prior to taking the course at the Architectural Association in London from which he passed the qualifying exam in 1931. He rejoined his father as an assistant in that year and was taken into partnership in 1935. His London background no doubt had a great deal to do with the highly accomplished modernism of the firm's work in the 1930s, culminating in his being invited to undertake a major role in the design of the Glasgow Empire Exhibition of 1938. The sheer quality of the firm's work at that time has been attributed in part to the Rutland prize-winner Philip McManus, who had studied the work of Duiker and Dudok in Holland, and David ('Speedy') Harvey who was a brilliant draughtsman and perspectivist, but McManus left in 1937 to become a planner in Cape Town, South Africa. While Harvey must have borne the main responsibility of the Empire Exhibition, the individual roles of Marwick, McManus and Harvey have still to be satisfactorily sorted out. Whatever the role of the latter, the Marwicks must have been committed modernists for such adventurous designs to be accepted by their corporate clients. In the event their modernism cost them the business of the National Bank, which sought a more conservative design from Leslie Grahame-Thomson.

Thomas Waller Marwick served as a Major in the Royal Engineers during the Second World War, resuming practice on his own account in 1946. He never married. In his later years, with the original design for the Sun Building modified by the city's planning department to its detriment, he was described by William Dey as a 'funny little man' and by Scott Morton as a 'sulky disappointed sort of chap,' probably because the firm's pre-war success was not recovered in the post-war years as it should have been. He retired c.1966, but he must have been conscious of the importance of what his firm had done as he took the then unusual step of presenting the office drawings to the National Monuments Record in 1969. He died in an Edinburgh nursing home in July 1971.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 243, York Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1912May 1929 
Item 2 of 254, Northumberland Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivateMay 1929After 1938 

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 20Alexander Lorimer1911 or 1912(?)After 1927Chief Assistant 
Item 2 of 20James Gray1912c. 1920AssistantWith the exception of two years' war service
Item 3 of 20Thomas Purves Marwick1917(?)1927Senior Partner 
Item 4 of 20Thomas Craigie Marwickc. 19171940(?)Partner 
Item 5 of 20James Grayc. 1920After 1922Chief Assistant 
Item 6 of 20Thomas Waller Marwick19231928Apprentice 
Item 7 of 20William Ramsay1930(?)1939 or after 1940(?)AssistantPresumably in T P Marwick & Son's office as both shared the address of 54 Northumberland Street at this date
Item 8 of 20Thomas Waller Marwick19311935Assistant(?) 
Item 9 of 20Thomas Shepherd Morrisc. 19321934Assistant 
Item 10 of 20Alasdair Cameron Sutherland19331934Apprentice 
Item 11 of 20(Professor) Ralph Cowan19331939Assistant(?)one year during studies
Item 12 of 20David Harvey1933 or 1934c. 1938Assistant 
Item 13 of 20Robert Alexander Scott1934 * Assistant 
Item 14 of 20Philip Edward Joseph McManus (later Phillip or Philipp Edouard McManis)19351936Senior Assistant 
Item 15 of 20Thomas Waller Marwick19351940(?)Partner 
Item 16 of 20Thomas Armstrong19361937Draughtsman 
Item 17 of 20Kenneth Bradley Miller20 June 193627 August 1936Assistant 
Item 18 of 20Reginald William Johnston19371938Assistant 
Item 19 of 20Thomas Armstrong19381940Draughtsman 
Item 20 of 20Elizabeth Fergus Comrie (Miss)October 1938 Assistant 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

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 35 Bakers Shop, 9 Wolsley PlacePiershill EdinburghScotlandAlterations - date unknown
Item 2 of 35 House, 1 Suffolk Road  EdinburghScotlandAddition of garage - date unknown
Item 3 of 351912Whitefoord House  EdinburghScotlandAdditions and alterations
Item 4 of 35After 1912New premises at Piersfield  EdinburghScotland 
Item 5 of 35After 1912St Cuthbert's Co-operative Society Garage, Semple Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 6 of 35After 1912St Cuthbert's Co-operative Society model bakeryFountainbridge EdinburghScotland 
Item 7 of 351913Callander House  EdinburghScotlandAlterations in conjunction with Scottish Naval and Military Veterans' Residence
Item 8 of 351914St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association Department Store and Dairy  EdinburghScotlandFurther extension and dairy
Item 9 of 35After 1920Star Hotel  EdinburghScotlandUnspecified work for Messrs Cranston & Elliot
Item 10 of 351922St Cuthbert's Wholesale Co-operative Association, dairy block  EdinburghScotland 
Item 11 of 351924Logie HouseForres MorayshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 12 of 351925St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association Block of Shops and HosesCorstorphine EdinburghScotland 
Item 13 of 351926St Cuthbert's Wholesale Co-operative Association Headquarters  EdinburghScotlandNew main doorway and internal alterations
Item 14 of 35Early 1920sSeamill HydropathicSeamill AyrshireScotlandExtensive additions
Item 15 of 351930St Cuthbert's Wholesale Co-operative Society Funeral Department  EdinburghScotland 
Item 16 of 351930Whitefoord House  EdinburghScotlandFurther work
Item 17 of 35c. 1930Cinema in StockbridgeStockbridge EdinburghScotland 
Item 18 of 35c. 1930Merleton, Boswall Road  EdinburghScotlandProposed addition of smoking room
Item 19 of 351935St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association Store, New Building  EdinburghScotland 
Item 20 of 351935St Cuthbert's Co-operative Society Furniture Showroom  EdinburghScotland 
Item 21 of 351935Temporary National Bank of Scotland Headquarters  EdinburghScotlandLost commission for permanent headquarters as a more conservative design was required
Item 22 of 351935Whitefoord House  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction
Item 23 of 351936(?)Premises for Jays the Furnishers  EdinburghScotland 
Item 24 of 351936 or 1937Glasgow Empire Exhibition, Atlantic RestaurantBellahouston GlasgowScotlandIn collaboration with Thomas Smith Tait
Item 25 of 351936 or 1937Glasgow Empire Exhibition, Garden Club and Lucullus RestaurantBellahouston GlasgowScotlandIn collaboration with Thomas Smith Tait
Item 26 of 351936 or 1937Glasgow Empire Exhibition, Physical Fitness PavilionBellahouston GlasgowScotlandIn collaboration with Thomas Smith Tait
Item 27 of 351937Eagle Star Insurance Offices  EdinburghScotlandOriginal design modified by city planners; not constructed until 1955
Item 28 of 351937Glasgow Empire Exhibition, Cascade and Rotunda Shopping CentreBellahouston GlasgowScotlandIn collaboration with Thomas Smith Tait
Item 29 of 351937Shop front for Page & McGregor  EdinburghScotland 
Item 30 of 351937Shops, 16 and 18 Bridgeton CrossBridgeton GlasgowScotlandSurvey plans?
Item 31 of 351937St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association Department Store and Dairy  EdinburghScotlandModern extension for furniture store - see separate entry
Item 32 of 351938Co-op Shop  EdinburghScotland 
Item 33 of 351939Kilmory CastleLochgilphead ArgyllScotlandAlterations?
Item 34 of 351939Livingstone Institute and Medical Missionary Society's premises  EdinburghScotlandUnspecified work
Item 35 of 351950Wilson's InstitutionDunfermline FifeScotlandNew frontage and internal alterations


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 2Miles Glendinning, Diane Watters, David Whitham Docomomo Scotland Leaflet  p227 Image of St Cuthbert's Co-operative Society on Bread Street
Item 2 of 2Post Office Directories