Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||William Begg Simpson |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||1880 |
|Died: ||22 July 1959 |
|Bio Notes: ||William Begg Simpson was born in 1880, the son of an Aberdonian farmer. He was described by his obituarist D F Fyffe as 'a man of amazing vitality and cheerfulness of spirit'. He was articled to Alexander Marshall Mackenzie from May 1896 to May 1901 and remained in the same office as assistant until August 1902, working alongside Mackenzie's son, Alexander George Robertson Mackenzie who was a year older. During this period he attended classes at Aberdeen School of Art. On leaving Mackenzie's office he moved to London as assistant to Read & MacDonald, both of whom had worked for Sir Ernest George. He was promoted to principal assistant in December 1907 and left in May 1910 to work for Arthur Conran Blomfield. |
Simpson was a brilliant draughtsman. He was admitted LRIBA on 20 March 1911, his proposers being Reid, Blomfield and Alexander Marshall Mackenzie. In June that year he joined Edmund Walter Wimperis as an assistant, making his name with 26 Grosvenor Street in a neo-Georgian manner influenced by Lutyens. He became a partner in 1913.
The partnership of Wimperis and Simpson was renewed at the end of the First World War and in 1923 Wimperis & Simpson achieved still wider fame by winning the limited competition for the rebuilding of Fortnum & Masons. In 1925 Leonard Rome Guthrie was taken into partnership to help with the Grosvenor House project for which Lutyens was consultant, the practice name now becoming Wimperis Simpson & Guthrie. Born in 1880, Guthrie was educated at Glasgow High School and articled to William Leiper from 1895 to 1900, during which period he studied under William James Anderson at Glasgow School of Art. He won the Thomson Scholarship in 1899, enabling him to spend eight months travelling in Italy, Spain, France and Germany the following year. On his return in 1901 he spent some time travelling in Scotland, preparing drawings of Scottish gardens for Harry Inigo Triggs' book 'Formal Gardens of England and Scotland', and in the same year became head draughtsman to William Flockhart, marrying one of Flockhart's two daughters. He left Flockhart in 1907 but stayed in London to commence practice on his own account at 3 Gray's Inn Square. He passed the qualifying exam in 1909 and was admitted ARIBA on 28 February 1910, his proposers being Flockhart, Andrew Noble Prentice and Edwin Alfred Rickards. He specialised in domestic architecture and landscaping, but was also appointed architect to the Royal Institution in 1913. He was elected FRIBA on 8 June 1925, his proposers being Edward Prioleau Warren, James Glen Sivewright Gibson and William Curtis Green.
Edmund Wimperis died in retirement in 1946. The practice was continued by Simpson and Guthrie with Doulgas James Fyffe who had been taken into partnership in 1931. Guthrie retired in 1953 and died in April 1958 and Simpson, who had retired two years earlier in 1951 on 22 July 1959.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|16, Braemar Avenue, Wood Green, London, England||Private||1911 *|| || |
|61, South Molton Street, London, England||Business||1911||After 1939|| |
|Little Pipers, Clay Hill, Enfield, London, England||Private||1919 *|| || |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
Buildings and Designs
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Builder||14 August 1959|| || || |
|RIBA Journal||November 1959|| ||London: Royal Institute of British Architects||Obituary p30|
|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 v13 no847; F no1662 (microfilm reel 14)|