Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||James Grieve |
|Designation: ||Architect, Clerk of Works |
|Born: ||13 March 1863 |
|Died: ||22 March 1939 |
|Bio Notes: ||James Grieve was born at East Calder in Kirknewton parish, Midlothian, on 13 March 1863, the eldest son of Thomas Grieve, an Edinburgh-born master carpenter, and his wife, Elizabeth Baird Grainger Brown. Within three years, Thomas Grieve moved to the village of Broughton in Peeblesshire, where James was to retain lifelong associations. Apprenticed to Alexander Dickson of Peebles during the 1870's, the 18 year-old Grieve is termed 'builder' on the 1881 census, while lodging in the town. |
Exactly where, and with whom, Grieve worked in the early years of his career is uncertain. However, he soon went west, for in 1889, on his marriage to Jessie McGill, a farm labourer's daughter at Beith, Ayrshire, he was a 'joiner journeyman' living in Paisley. The 1891 census saw him returning him east, to Stockbridge in Edinburgh, when he is noted as a 'house carpenter & joiner'.
Grieve married three times, his first wife dying in 1897 of tuberculosis. By his second marriage, to Annie MacDonald, in 1899, he had been elevated to 'clerk of works', the position for which, especially through his sterling work for Sir Robert Lorimer, he is best remembered. He was then living in Morningside with the three children from his first wife, remaining resident there after the death of his second wife from peritonitis in 1910, and his subsequent marriage to Lillias Moodie in 1914.
Grieve's first known project as a clerk, or superintendent, of works was at Manderston House, Duns, c1902-5, for John Kinross, in whose office it has been suggested that Grieve studied architecture at some time and carried out research for the Marquess of Bute. In c.1898, he wrote to Lord Bute's secretary, in Kinross's absence, regarding Pluscarden Priory (letter dated 1st June 1898). He guided the Edinburgh Architectural Association Spring Holiday visit about Manderston in 1903, and his name was included among the subscribers to Bailey Scott Murphy's folio, 'English and Scottish Wrought Ironwork' (1904).
In 1906 Grieve was employed in a similar role to that at Manderston at Ardkinglas House, Argyll, by Robert Lorimer, who, jubilant at the smooth passage of the project, wrote that he had 'had the finest clerk of works man ever had.' He went on to work for Lorimer at Monzie (Perthshire), and then from 1909-11, on the construction of the Thistle Chapel at St Giles' Edinburgh, a project of great cultural significance to Scotland. There, Grieve's undoubted skills as a builder and joiner, as well as a manager of both men and materials, were again well proven. He always felt that this was his finest work and he continued to use, as his bookplate, a photograph of himself outside the chapel. It had the inscription 'Jacobus Grieve - Magister Exactus Exigo MDCCCCX; he preferred the title 'Master of Works'. Grieve went on to carry out the same function for Lorimer at Dunderave Castle, Argyll, in 1911 and at Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland, in 1915. For the Earl of Seafield he restored Castle Grant in 1912 and Cullen House (or Seafield House?) in 1913.
At some point between 1912 and 1924 Grieve began working for James Grant & Co. He may have taken over the firm on the retirement of James Grant who was operating it prior to 1912. In his obituary Grieve is recorded as being the sole partner. The firm operated initially from 128 Pitt Street but by the 1930s from Holland Street in Glasgow.
A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, Grieve restored two Peeblesshire antiquities: St Llolan's and St Mungo's (Kentigern's) Cells at Broughton and Stobo Kirks in 1927 and 1929 respectively. In these romantic, arts and crafts conjectures, he was misguided, however; the so-called cells are likely chantry chapels or mortuary aisles. Grieve also excavated St Gordian's Kirk ruins at Manor, and was instrumental in the removal of the inscribed, late 6th century, 'Coninie' Stone to Peebles Museum, to which he also presented William Brodie's marble statuette of Mary Queen of Scots. When Lord Braxfield disposed of his interests in Broughton, Grieve restored a row of cottages and nearby old bridge over the burn.
In 1932, on the one hundredth anniversary of the death of Sir Walter Scott, Grieve was commissioned by the Burgh of Peebles Council to design and build the George Meikle Kemp Memorial at Redscaurhead. An extension to the workshop of the joiner Andrew Noble, to whom Kemp was apprenticed, this comprises a gable with crowsteps recalling those of Scott's home at Abbotsford, done in very durable synthetic stone and inserted with a bronze profile bust of Kemp by Handyside Ritchie. That year he also presented a similar plaque to West Linton School, where Kemp was taught by John Mossman.
Grieve was a keen photographer and he a fine collection of "Baxter" colour prints. He collected fine furniture, oil paintings, ceramics, enamels and a significant library of architectural and archaeological books. Moreover the Scott Morton & Company Letterbooks record Grieve's fascination with meteorology, notably the rainfall patterns at Ardkinglas. He was an elder of Pollokshields PArish Church and footed much of the cost of alterations to the church.
Aged 72, James Grieve died of streptococcal septicaemia at 54 Terregles Avenue, Glasgow, on 22 March 1939; his third wife survived him until 1954.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect, clerk of works:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|Burnside Cottage, Broughton, Peeblesshire, Scotland||Private||1871 *|| ||From 1871 census|
|Bridgehouse Terrace, Peebles, Peeblesshire, Scotland||Private||1881 *|| ||From 1881 census|
|15, Underwood Road, Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland||Private||1889 *|| || |
|43, Deanhaugh Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||1891 *|| ||From 1891 census|
|51, Deanhaugh Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||1897 *|| || |
|2, Abercromby Place, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||c. 1898||c. 1905|| |
|19, Balcarres Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||1899||1901||From census (and directories?)|
|1, Comiston Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||1910||1914|| |
|128, Pitt Street, Glasgow, Scotland||Business||1920s|| || |
|54, Terregles Avenue, Glasgow, Scotland||Private||1920s *||1939|| |
|18, Holland Street, Glasgow, Scotland||Business||Early 1930s||1939|| |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
|The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect, clerk of works (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Name||Date from||Date to||Position||Notes|
|James Grant & Co|| || ||Partner|| |
|John Kinross||1898||c. 1903(?)||Apprentice|| |
|John Kinross||c. 1903(?)||Before 1905||Clerk of Works|| |
Buildings and Designs
|This architect, clerk of works was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Date started||Building name||Town, district or village||Island||City or county||Country||Notes|
|1902||Manderston House, including service court and motor house||Duns|| ||Berwickshire||Scotland||Refurbishment and major extension of late 18th century house, new entrance front, lavish interior decoration - as clerk of works|
|1906||Ardkinglas||Cairndow|| ||Argyll||Scotland||Acted as clerk of works to Lorimer|
|1908||Monzie Castle and stables||Crieff|| ||Perthshire||Scotland||Reinstatement of old house after second fire with new interior work and all furnishings - as clerk of works|
|1909||St Giles Cathedral, Chapel of the Order of the Thistle|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||As clerk of works to Lorimer|
|1911||Dunderave Castle||Inveraray (near)|| ||Argyll||Scotland||Restoration and additions to castle and gardens and landscaping, including summer house - as clerk of works to Lorimer|
|1912||Castle Grant||Grantown-on-Spey|| ||Morayshire||Scotland||Restoration - as clerk of works|
|1912||Formakin||Bishopton|| ||Renfrewshire||Scotland||Restoration of old meal mill - as clerk of works to Lorimer|
|1913||Cullen House and estate buildings||Cullen|| ||Banffshire||Scotland||Restoration - as clerk of works|
|1915||Dunrobin Castle||Dunrobin|| ||Sutherland||Scotland||Restoration after fire. Also additional internal reinstatement and remodelling - as clerk of works to Lorimer|
|1920s||Row of houses of two storeys||Broughton|| ||Peeblesshire||Scotland|| |
|1923||Bridge on the Dreva Road, across Broughton Water||Broughton|| ||Peeblesshire||Scotland|| |
|1926||Old Parish Church||Broughton|| ||Peeblesshire||Scotland||Rebuilding of vault|
|1928||Stobo Church||Stobo|| ||Peeblesshire||Scotland||Rebuilding of the outer walls and vault of the north aisle|
|1932(?)||Moy Hall, Redscarshead, Memorial gable to George Meikle Kemp||Peebles|| ||Peeblesshire||Scotland|| |
|The following books contain references to this architect, clerk of works:|
|British Architectural Library, RIBA||2001||Directory of British Architects 1834-1914|| || || |
|Cruft, Kitty, Dunbar, John and Fawcett, Richard||2006||Borders (The Buildings of Scotland)|| ||New Haven and London: Yale University Press||p814|
|Matthew, Stuart||1988||The Knights and Chapel of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle: A panoramic view|| ||Edinburgh: Eaglebank Publications|| |
|Methuen, J Faichney||1988||George Meikle Kemp, Carpenter, Architect of the Scott Monument|| || || |
|Post Office Directories|| || || || || |
|Randall, John||1997||Stobo Kirk|| || || |
|RCAHMS|| ||Peeblesshire Inventory|| || || |
|Savage, Peter||1980||Lorimer and the Edinburgh Craft Designers|| ||Edinburgh: Paul Harris Publishing, 1980 (also paperback ed, London & Edinburgh: Steve Savage, 2005)||pp 98, 115|
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect, clerk of works:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Border Magazine||December 1927||xxxiii|| || |
|Scotsman||23 March 1939|| || ||Obituary|
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect, clerk of works:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|Courtesy of Morag Cross||Information sent to DSA|| ||Sent November 2010|
|Information by email||Research and biography by Louise Boreham and Neil Brown|| ||Sent October 2007|
|National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMS||NMRS Photographic Archive|| ||Photos of Thistle Chapel with comments by James Grieve|
|National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMS||Scott Morton (formerly Peter Miller) Collection, RIAS|| ||Letterbooks - letter dated 1 June 1898|
|Professor David M Walker personal archive||Professor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material|| ||Biographical information from D C Mays|
|RIAS Collection, NMRS, RCAHMS||History and Reminiscences of the Edinburgh Architectural Association|| || |