Basic Biographical Details

Name: Cathcart William Methven
Designation: Architect, Engineer
Born: 1849
Died: 1925
Bio Notes: Cathcart William Methven was born in 1849 and served his articles with John Sang of Kirkcaldy from 1866 to 1871. He then worked for Paley & Austin of Lancaster as clerk of works on their complete reconstruction of St John's Episcopal Church in Greenock, before joining Walter Robert Kinipple, a civil engineer and architect with offices in Westminster Chambers, London, as assistant. He was elected an associate of the Institute of Civil Engineers in 1875, becoming a full member in 1882 and succeeding Kinipple as engineer in chief of the Greenock Harbour Works in 1886.

After only two years in the latter post he emigrated to South Africa to take up a similar post in Durban, carrying out some 600,000-worth of work on the harbour there. These posts resulted in two similar publications, 'Greenock and its harbour' and 'Durban and its harbour'.

In 1895 Methven resigned the Durban Harbour post to commence independent practice. The following year he took on James Buchanan Pentland Smith as an assistant. Smith had been born on 25 February 1872 and articled to John Lumsdaine of Edinburgh c.1888 and had thereafter worked as assistant to Hippolyte Jean Blanc from c.1893 before emigrating to join Methven's practice.

Sometime before he was admitted FRIBA on 9 June 1902 on the proposal of the RIBA Council, Methven was appointed Government Surveyor of Natal. He took Smith into partnership in 1908 but the partnership was short-lived as Smith withdrew in 1909 to become a salaried assistant in the Pretoria Public Works Department.

He died in 1925.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect, engineer:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1Durban, South AfricaBusiness1888After 1909 

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect, engineer (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 4John Sang18661871Apprentice 
Item 2 of 4Paley & AustinAfter 1871After 1875Assistant 
Item 3 of 4Walter Robert KinippleAfter 18751886Assistant 
Item 4 of 4Methven & Smiith19081909Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect, engineer (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1James Buchanan Pentland Smith1896 Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect, engineer for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Council9 June 1902for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This architect, engineer proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 1James Buchanan Pentland Smith20 March 1911for Licentiateship

Buildings and Designs

This architect, engineer 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 11875St John's Episcopal ChurchGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandAs clerk of works to Paley & Austin


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect, engineer:
Item 1 of 1British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect, engineer:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v14 p44 no876 (microfilm reel 11)