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:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|Public Works Secretariat, Bombay, India||Business||Before 1911||After 1915|| |
|Byculla Club, Bombay, India||Private||1915 *|| || |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Begg, John||1933||The work of George Wittet: an appreciation||v10, pp72-82||EAA Transactions||CHECK for further info|
|British Architectural Library, RIBA||2001||Directory of British Architects 1834-1914|| || || |
|Davies, Philip|| ||Splendours of the Raj: British architecture in India 1660-1947|| || || |
|Grove Dictionary of Art|| ||Grove Dictionary of Art|| || ||Article by P Davies|
|Stamp, Gavin||1981||British architecture in India 1857-1947|| ||Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, cxxix (1981) pp358-79|| |
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|British Architect||3 May 1901|| || ||p308|
|Builder||17 September 1926||v131|| ||p438 - obituary|
|Elgin Courant and Courier||17 September 1926|| || ||p4/1-2 - death notice and obituary|
|Northern Scot||18 September 1926|| || ||p618 - death notice|
|RIBA Journal||18 September 1926||v33||London: Royal Institute of British Architects||p576 - death notice|
|RIBA Journal||16 October 1926||v33||London: Royal Institute of British Architects||p618 - obituary|
|RIBA Journal||6 November 1926||v34||London: Royal Institute of British Architects||p31|
|RIBA Journal||1929||v36||London: Royal Institute of British Architects||p539 - article by John Begg|
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert Museum||RIBA Nomination Papers|| ||L v22 no1768; F v22 no1592 (microfilm reel 13)|
|RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert Museum||RIBA Photographs Collection|| || |