|Bio Notes: ||Edmund Walter Wimperis was born in 1865, the son of Edmund Morison Wimperis, watercolourist and brother of the playwright Arthur Wimperis. He was articled to his older cousin, John Thomas Wimperis, in London in February 1882, and remained with him as an assistant, attending the Architectural Association and passing the qualifying exam to be admitted ARIBA on 3 June 1889, his proposers being Wimperis, Thomas Verity, another of the Grosvenor Estate architects and Cole Alfred Adams. |
John Thomas Wimperis retired in 1898, at which point, or earlier, the younger Wimperis became a partner. The elder Wimperis died on 21 December 1904, and William Henry Arber, his partner since 1889, died in the same year, but a few years before that the younger Wimperis had taken into partnership John Reginald Best, born 1866. Best had been articled to Cole Alfred Adams in 1883 and had also had some experience as a clerk of works to the scholar architect John Alfred Gotch. He had been in the Wimperis office and attended the Architectural Association prior to passing the qualifying exam in 1889 and being admitted ARIBA on 3 June of that year, his proposers being Adams, Verity and Herbert Duncan Appleton. He had subsequently worked in partnership with Charles Ashton Callon before being taken into partnership by Wimperis.
The Wimperis & Best partnership seems not to have been a success and was dissolved in or about 1910 when Edmund Wimperis succeeded Colonel Estace Balfour as architect to the Grosvenor Estate.
In 1913 Wimperis replaced Best by taking into partnership William Begg Simpson, born 1880, the son of an Aberdonian farmer, described by his obituarist D F Fyffe as 'a man of amazing vitality and cheerfulness of spirit'. He was articled to Alexander Marshall Mackenzie 1896-1901, working alongside Mackenzie's son, Alexander George Robertson Mackenzie who was a year older. He attended classes at Aberdeen School of Art from 1896 until 1902 when he moved to London as assistant to Read & MacDonald, both of whom had worked for Sir Ernest George. After a period with Arthur Conran Blomfield, Simpson joined Wimperis as an assistant in 1911, making his name with 26 Grosvenor Street in a neo-Georgian manner influenced by Lutyens.
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 Douglas 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.