Basic Biographical Details

Name: Thomas Smith Wharrie
Designation: Engineer
Born: 30 August 1828
Died: 16 January 1917
Bio Notes: Thomas Wharrie was born 30 August 1828 at Symington, Ayrshire, the third son of the Rev Thomas Smith Wharrie and his wife Eliza, daughter of Rev John Fraser of Liberton. He would appear to have trained as both surveyor and engineer. He was apprenticed to a Mr Macfarlane who was the estate factor for the Hafton feuing estate in and near Dunoon.

In 1853 Wharrie formed a partnership with William H Steel as Wharrie & Steel, Land Surveyors, though this only survived for two years being dissolved on 3 November 1855. In or about the following year he was in partnership with John Dennison as Wharrie & Dennison, Mining Engineers and Surveyors. Again this partnership was short-lived and was dissolved on 1st May 1857. From 1857 or 1858 Wharrie was in partnership with James Smith as Smith & Wharrie. During this period Wharrie acted as factor for the Hafton estate and for Lamont of Knockdow which was adjacent to Hafton. This continued until the 1870s. In 1871 Wharrie (his name given in the court report "Thomas Smith Wharry") gave evidence in the important case Mackintosh v. Moir, IX Macpherson 514, 517 and 582. He had carried out work for Hunter of Hafton (indeed, Junior Counsel in the case was William Frederick Hunter who was himself Hunter of Hafton) and for Lamont of Knockdow. He stated that he had investigated the boundaries for these two landowners for 15 years.

Smith died in or shortly before April 1874 and two years later Wharrie joined Francis Steel Colledge (who was prehaps related to Wharrie's earlier partner William H Steel) and James Brand in partnership as Wharrie, Colledge & Brand, Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers. They were factors to Pollok and other west of Scotland estates, undertaking associated civil engineering and architectural work; although they did not design the original layout, they were responsible for the feuing of Pollok, Pollokshields and parts of Govan. Wharrie was Burgh Surveyor Hillhead from its creation as a Police Burgh in 1869 until its amalgamation with Glasgow 1891.

In 1864 Wharrie married Margaret Victoire, the daughter of Andrew Houston, Governor of Grenada, West Indies. She died on 13 March 1895.

Thomas Wharrie joined the Prudential Assurance Company as Auditor in 1884 possibly through the influence of his uncle, Dr Patrick Fraser. Dr Fraser was one of the company’s first medical officers and a founding director of Prudential from 1848 to 1896. Thomas Wharrie acted as Auditor from 1884 until 1893 when he became a director of the Prudential, remaining so for nearly twenty-four years until his death in 1917. He was also a Director British Mutual Banking Company Limited and a JP in London. From 1893 the Wharries appear to have spent most of their time in London, living at 9 Eaton Avenue.

Many of the early directors of the Prudential were related by family and marriage ties and Thomas Wharrie was to prove no exception. On 5 September 1899, he married Mary Woodgate Harben, (1847-1937) daughter of Sir Henry Harben; he was over seventy at the time and she some twenty years his junior. It has been suggested that her father, Sir Henry, only consented to the marriage on condition that Mary continue to keep house for him at Warnham Lodge, a role which had begun on the death of her mother in 1883 and had not ceased on Sir Henry’s own re-marriage (to the daughter of another director) in 1890. Thomas Wharrie appears to have had no difficulty with this arrangement, amusing himself with the running of the “excellent pheasant and partridge shooting on the estate.” Sir Henry Harben, (1823-1911) had been a pioneer in the field of Industrial Assurance, largely responsible for the Prudential’s phenomenal expansion during the latter years of the nineteenth century, amassing a considerable personal fortune in the process.

Wharrie Colledge & Brand was dissolved on 30 April 1897, after which it continued as Wharrie & Colledge. James Brand established a new office on his own at 65 Bath Street, Glasgow. It is unclear how much involvement Wharrie had after 1893 as from that time he was living in London. By 1901 Wharrie had completely retired. Colledge acquired the whole firm and ran it on his own at 103 Bath Street from 1903 but the firm title was retained until 1949.

Wharrie died on 16 January 1917 at Warnham Lodge near Horsham. He left £294,852, net personalty £241,748. Mary Woodgate Wharrie, who inherited much of her father’s wealth and who died in 1937, would leave approximately £1,500,000.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this engineer:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 7109, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness  Check this address
Item 2 of 7103, Bath Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1870s1897 
Item 3 of 7156, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1876 *  
Item 4 of 7Sachel Court, Alford, Billinghurst , Sussex, EnglandPrivate1890s  
Item 5 of 710, Eton Avenue , Hampstead , London, EnglandPrivate18931917 
Item 6 of 7142, Holborn Bars, London, EnglandBusiness18931917 
Item 7 of 7Warnham Lodge, Horsham, Surrey, EnglandPrivate1899 Belonged to Wharrie's second wife's father.

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this engineer (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 5Wharrie & Steel18536 November 1855Surveyor 
Item 2 of 5Wharrie & Dennison18561 May 1857Surveyor 
Item 3 of 5Smith & WharrieBefore 1867Before 1876Partner 
Item 4 of 5Wharrie, Colledge & Brand18761897Partner 
Item 5 of 5Wharrie & Colledge1897c. 1910Partner 

Buildings and Designs

This 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 121853Road continuing Ferry Brae from School Brae to Hillfoot StreetDunoon ArgyllScotlandStreet plan prepared - as apprentice to Mr MacFarlane, estate factor of Hafton and Knockdow.
Item 2 of 121858AshgroveInnellan ArgyllScotlandFeuing plan prepared
Item 3 of 121866Skelmorlie Measured Mile Marker PolesSkelmorlie AyrshireScotland 
Item 4 of 121867University of Glasgow, main quadranglesGilmorehill GlasgowScotland'Proposed new college buildings' - though Scott had already been appointed by this date.
Item 5 of 121877Carrick Castle pierLoch Goil ArgyllScotland 
Item 6 of 121884Pollok Estate, Auldhouse CastlePollok GlasgowScotlandAdditions or alterations
Item 7 of 121885Mission Hall of St Matthews Church  GlasgowScotlandThomas Wharrie was Session Clek from 1877-1887.
Item 8 of 121886Cadder Cemetery LodgeCadder LanarkshireScotland 
Item 9 of 121886Pollok Estate, Henryscroft FarmPollok GlasgowScotlandAdditions and alterations
Item 10 of 121888Hillhead House, conservatory  GlasgowScotland 
Item 11 of 121901Station buildings for the Glasgow and Renfrew Railway Company  GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 121903Kenmure, feuing planBishopbriggs LanarkshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this engineer:
Item 1 of 5Crisp, Frederick Arthur (ed.)1921Visitation of England and Wales Londonp174
Item 2 of 5Dennett, Laurie1998A Sense of Security: 150 years of the Prudential  pp161-2 and 212
Item 3 of 5Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles (ed.) 1929Armorial Families: a Directory of Gentlemen of Coat-Armour  p2070
Item 4 of 5Prudential plc Prudential plc: 160 years old and still planning for the Future   
Item 5 of 5Scotlands People Website Wills & Testaments  Glasgow Sheriff Court Wills Sc36/51/112 and Inventories Sc36/48/151

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this engineer:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 6Building News2 May 1917  p392
Item 2 of 6Edinburgh Gazette9 November 1855  p1384
Item 3 of 6Edinburgh Gazette8 May 1857  p428
Item 4 of 6Edinburgh Gazette1 June 1897  p518
Item 5 of 6Edinburgh Gazette27 April 1917  p804
Item 6 of 6The Times18 January 1917  p1 Deaths

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this engineer:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Courtesy of Neil DarlingtonInformation sent via DSA website Sent November 2009
Item 2 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Research by Iain Paterson