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:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|43, York Place, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1912||May 1929|| |
|54, Northumberland Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||May 1929||After 1938|| |
Employment and Training
Employees or Pupils
* 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 started||Building name||Town, district or village||Island||City or county||Country||Notes|
| ||Bakers Shop, 9 Wolsley Place||Piershill|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Alterations - date unknown|
| ||House, 1 Suffolk Road|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Addition of garage - date unknown|
|1912||Whitefoord House|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Additions and alterations|
|After 1912||New premises at Piersfield|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|After 1912||St Cuthbert's Co-operative Society Garage, Semple Street|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|After 1912||St Cuthbert's Co-operative Society model bakery||Fountainbridge|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1913||Callander House|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Alterations in conjunction with Scottish Naval and Military Veterans' Residence|
|1914||St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association Department Store and Dairy|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Further extension and dairy|
|After 1920||Star Hotel|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Unspecified work for Messrs Cranston & Elliot|
|1922||St Cuthbert's Wholesale Co-operative Association, dairy block|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1924||Logie House||Forres|| ||Morayshire||Scotland||Reconstruction|
|1925||St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association Block of Shops and Hoses||Corstorphine|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1926||St Cuthbert's Wholesale Co-operative Association Headquarters|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||New main doorway and internal alterations|
|Early 1920s||Seamill Hydropathic||Seamill|| ||Ayrshire||Scotland||Extensive additions|
|1930||St Cuthbert's Wholesale Co-operative Society Funeral Department|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1930||Whitefoord House|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Further work|
|c. 1930||Cinema in Stockbridge||Stockbridge|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|c. 1930||Merleton, Boswall Road|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Proposed addition of smoking room|
|1935||St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association Store, New Building|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1935||St Cuthbert's Co-operative Society Furniture Showroom|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1935||Temporary National Bank of Scotland Headquarters|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Lost commission for permanent headquarters as a more conservative design was required|
|1935||Whitefoord House|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Reconstruction|
|1936(?)||Premises for Jays the Furnishers|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1936 or 1937||Glasgow Empire Exhibition, Atlantic Restaurant||Bellahouston|| ||Glasgow||Scotland||In collaboration with Thomas Smith Tait|
|1936 or 1937||Glasgow Empire Exhibition, Garden Club and Lucullus Restaurant||Bellahouston|| ||Glasgow||Scotland||In collaboration with Thomas Smith Tait|
|1936 or 1937||Glasgow Empire Exhibition, Physical Fitness Pavilion||Bellahouston|| ||Glasgow||Scotland||In collaboration with Thomas Smith Tait|
|1937||Eagle Star Insurance Offices|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Original design modified by city planners; not constructed until 1955|
|1937||Glasgow Empire Exhibition, Cascade and Rotunda Shopping Centre||Bellahouston|| ||Glasgow||Scotland||In collaboration with Thomas Smith Tait|
|1937||Shop front for Page & McGregor|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1937||Shops, 16 and 18 Bridgeton Cross||Bridgeton|| ||Glasgow||Scotland||Survey plans?|
|1937||St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association Department Store and Dairy|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Modern extension for furniture store - see separate entry|
|1938||Co-op Shop|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1939||Kilmory Castle||Lochgilphead|| ||Argyll||Scotland||Alterations?|
|1939||Livingstone Institute and Medical Missionary Society's premises|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Unspecified work|
|1950||Wilson's Institution||Dunfermline|| ||Fife||Scotland||New frontage and internal alterations|
|The following books contain references to this architectural practice:|
|Miles Glendinning, Diane Watters, David Whitham|| ||Docomomo Scotland Leaflet|| || ||p227 Image of St Cuthbert's Co-operative Society on Bread Street|
|Post Office Directories|| || || || || |