Basic Biographical Details

Name: Cecil Scott Burgess
Designation: Architect
Born: 4 October 1870
Died: 12 November 1971
Bio Notes: Cecil Scott Burgess was born in Bombay of Scottish parents on 4 October 1870. The family returned to Scotland in 1874 and Burgess was educated at the Royal High School where his name was registered as Macmillan. He was articled to George Washington Browne from 1886 to 1891 and served as draughtsman thereafter, remaining with Washington Browne after he had been joined in partnership by John More Dick Peddie in 1895 as Peddie & Washington Browne. He passed the qualifying exam in that year and was admitted ARIBA on 2 March 1896, his proposers being John Slater, William Douglas Caröe and Benjamin Ingelow, and it was around that time that he left to become assistant to Robert Alexander Briggs of London, subsequently working for John Joseph Talbot of Liverpool, and Walter Henry Brierley of York, and spending his holidays on study tours in Europe, chiefly Italy.

He emigrated to Canada in 1903, commencing practice on his own account in Montreal whilst continuing to assist others including Philip Turner. Whilst in Montreal Burgess helped to establish the Pen & Pencil Club, a club with the aim of recording the old architecture of Montreal and Quebec, an informal imitation of Rowand Anderson's National Art Survey of Scottish architecture, He lectured at McGill University during the time when Percy Erskine Nobbs was chair of architecture there, and collaborated with Nobbs in the design of various buildings for the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where Burgess was appointed Professor of Architecture in 1913. He served with the Canadian forces as private, sergeant, lieutenant and captain from 1915 to 1919 but returned to his professorship at the end of the war and retained the position until 1940.

Burgess carried out major works for the Government of Alberta and was a member of the Town Planning Commission of the City of Edmonton from 1929 onwards, also acting as chairman of the committee on Public Recreation and Civic Art. He served as president of the Alberta Association of Architects and was a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. He was admitted FRIBA in late 1933 under bye-law 3(d), omitting the need for proposers although he cited Nobbs, Ramsay Traquair and Philip Turner as potential supporters.

He died in Edmonton, Alberta on 12 November 1971.

A collection of Burgess's sketches and watercolours, including of 1895 of the castles of Udny, Tilquhillie, Tolquhon, Caerlaverock and Hallyards, is held by the University of Alberta.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 2Montreal, CanadaBusiness19031913 
Item 2 of 2University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, CanadaBusiness19131940 

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 5George Washington Browne18871891Apprentice 
Item 2 of 5Peddie & Washington Browne18911895Draughtsman 
Item 3 of 5Robert Alexander Briggs1896Before 1903Assistant 
Item 4 of 5Walter Henry BrierleyAfter 18961903Assistant 
Item 5 of 5John Joseph TalbotAfter 1896Before 1903Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3William Douglas Caröe2 March 1896for Associateship
Item 2 of 3Benjamin Ingelow2 March 1896for Associateship
Item 3 of 3John Slater2 March 1896for Associateship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 1Robert McDowall Symonds10 April 1956For Licentiateship


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 1University of Alberta  Go to 'Search digitized items from private fonds' and put in Cecil Scott Birgess as search item.

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Architecture Canada17 January 1972v49 p3 - obituary
Item 2 of 2Building21 January 1972v222 p80 - obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Information from Holly Kinnear
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A v13 p101 (microfiche 62/D2); F no3147 (microfilm reel 36)