Basic Biographical Details

Name: George Wittet
Designation: Architect
Born: 26 November 1878
Died: 11 September 1926
Bio Notes: George Wittet was born on 26 November 1878 in Blair Atholl (various online sources) or Perth (Census records); he was a cousin of John Wittet (born 1868 at Bridge of Earn). He was articled to Andrew Granger Heiton of Perth in 1894 and left at the end of his articles to become assistant to John More Dick Peddie and George Washington Browne in Edinburgh from 1898 and later to Walter Henry Brierley of York from 1902 to 1904. In 1901 he was awarded the Honorary President's Prize of 10 for three designs: 'A Town House', A Market Cross', and 'A Reredos and Altar'. In the autumn of 1904 he was one of the candidates for the post of assistant to John Begg, consulting architect to the Government of Bombay, and was interviewed by Begg on the station platform at York. Against his wife's advice ('whatever you do, don't have that fellow: he will boss you') Begg appointed him. He succeeded Begg as consulting architect to the Government of Bombay in 1907.

Wittet was initially unwilling to adopt the modernised Indo-Saracenic style adopted by Begg and was sent on a two-week study tour to Bijapur. His first major independent work was the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India in Bombay, for which James Miller had won the competition assessed by John Begg. Wittet was placed second, but was appointed as he was based in Bombay. His design was subsequently revised to match Begg's General Post Office, in a scholarly Muslim Deccan manner, and Begg praised the building in his proposer's statement for Wittet's admittance as LRIBA, for which he was elected on 8 January 1912. Wittet soon reverted to his own preferred classical and Renaissance manner as at the Institute of Science (completed 1916), The Custom House, The Small Causes Court, The Edward VII Memorial Hospital, all in Bombay and the Central Government Offices at Poona, the last in collaboration with Begg who had prepared the original scheme.

On 12 May 1917, Wittet was unanimously elected as the first President of The Indian Institute of Architects.

Wittet resigned as consulting architect in 1919 to go into private practice as architect for Messrs Tata & Company for which he undertook forty-four projects but returned to his old post to complete the Gateway of India Arch at Apollo Bunder, Bombay, built to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary for the 1911 Durbar. Wittet had designed the temporary structures for that event, and it had been decided to re-erect the Gateway in a permanent form.

Wittet died in Bombay on 11 September 1926 at the early age of 48.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 2Public Works Secretariat, Bombay, IndiaBusinessBefore 1911After 1915 
Item 2 of 2Byculla Club, Bombay, IndiaPrivate1915 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.


Employment and Training

Employers

The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 6Andrew Granger Heiton (or Andrew H Heiton Granger)18941898Apprentice 
Item 2 of 6Peddie & Washington Browne18981902Assistant 
Item 3 of 6Walter Henry Brierley19021904Assistant 
Item 4 of 6John Begg19041907AssistantIn the Public Works Secretariat, Bombay
Item 5 of 6Public Works Secretariat, Bombay19041907AssistantWorking under John Begg, Government Architect
Item 6 of 6Public Works Secretariat, Bombay19071919ArchitectConsulting Architect to the Government of Bombay

RIBA

RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 4John Begg8 January 1912for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 4John BeggLate 1915for Fellowship
Item 3 of 4Henry Arthur CrouchLate 1915for Fellowship
Item 4 of 4Ernest Montague ThomasLate 1915for Fellowship

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 startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 71904Princes Dock Customs House  BombayIndiaAssisted Begg in design
Item 2 of 71908Ballard Estate Scheme, northern part of the Central Business District  BombayIndia 
Item 3 of 71908Prince of Wales Museum of Western India  BombayIndiaSecond premium in competition, but won commission as he was based in Bombay
Item 4 of 7Before 1926Agricultural College  PoonaIndiaIn conjunction with John Begg
Item 5 of 7Before 1926Central Government Offices  PoonaIndiaIn conjunction with John Begg
Item 6 of 7Before 1926College of Science  BombayIndia 
Item 7 of 7Before 1926Gateway to India  BombayIndia 

References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 5Begg, John1933The work of George Wittet: an appreciationv10, pp72-82EAA TransactionsCHECK for further info
Item 2 of 5British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 3 of 5Davies, Philip Splendours of the Raj: British architecture in India 1660-1947   
Item 4 of 5Grove Dictionary of Art Grove Dictionary of Art  Article by P Davies
Item 5 of 5Stamp, Gavin1981British architecture in India 1857-1947 Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, cxxix (1981) pp358-79 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 8British Architect3 May 1901  p308
Item 2 of 8Builder17 September 1926v131 p438 - obituary
Item 3 of 8Elgin Courant and Courier17 September 1926  p4/1-2 - death notice and obituary
Item 4 of 8Northern Scot18 September 1926  p618 - death notice
Item 5 of 8RIBA Journal18 September 1926v33London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp576 - death notice
Item 6 of 8RIBA Journal16 October 1926v33London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp618 - obituary
Item 7 of 8RIBA Journal6 November 1926v34London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp31
Item 8 of 8RIBA Journal1929v36London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp539 - article by John Begg

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers L v22 no1768; F v22 no1592 (microfilm reel 13)
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Photographs Collection