Basic Biographical Details

Name: Williamson, Wyllie & Syme
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: Before 1920
Ended: After 1920
Bio Notes: William Williamson was born in Kirkcaldy on 19 April 1871, the son of William Williamson and his wife Joanna Hutchison. He was educated at Kirkcaldy High School and was articled to J W Hislop of Kirkcaldy in 1887; but after two years he transferred to the office of James Bow Dunn enabling him to take classes at Heriot-Watt College. He remained with Dunn as draughtsman until 1895 when he returned home to commence independent practice in Kirkcaldy: Dunn and his partner from 1894 James Leslie Findlay had a Kirkcaldy connection having won the competition for the Adam Smith Hall in the previous year.

Late in 1897 Williamson took the slightly older Alexander Russell Inglis (born 1870) into partnership and opened an Edinburgh office for him at 31 St Andrew Square. Inglis had been a fellow apprentice in Dunn's office and had subsequently worked for Hippolyte Jean Blanc and then for Henry Wilkinson Moore, and had won the Soane medallion early that year with a design for a market hall enabling him to travel in Italy and Sicily for the remainder of the year before taking up his partnership.

The partnership quickly made a name for high quality Renaissance and arts and crafts work but it came at a cost. Overwork resulted in Inglis suffering from chronic insomnia and a desperate overdose of a sleeping draught resulted in his death at his home 26 Pitt Street, Edinburgh on 9 June 1901, two days before he was to be married.

Williamson then closed the Edinburgh office and did not take another partner at that time. He was admitted FRIBA on 5 June 1905, his proposers being Charles Stanley Peach of London, Alexander Cullen of Hamilton and Alexander Hunter Crawford of Edinburgh with whose work his own had much in common. At that date his house was The Croft, Kirkcaldy and his main office was at 220 High Street in the same town, seemingly with an additional branch office in Dunfermline. Sometime prior to 1914 he took an office in Royal Bank Buildings in Kirkcaldy and lived at Pitteadie (or Piteadie) House adjacent to Pitteadie Castle, the planned restoration of which he never implemented. Subsequently he moved to Bowbutts, a fine 18th-century house in Kinghorn where he was both Dean of Guild and Provost.

Williamson was in partnership with George Brown Deas in Kirkcaldy from 1919 until 1923, and also seems to have formed a partnership with William Barnet Wyllie and Williamson in 1920 for the purpose of housing scheme work. Of his partners, no details are currently known of the background of William Syme, who had been working in partnership with John Daniel Swanston since 1904 and continued to do so despite the formation of the new short-lived partnership with Williamson and Wyllie, the office being located in Redburn Wynd, Kirkcaldy. The other partner, Wyllie, had been born at Kinghorn on 2 November 1879, the son of James Wyllie, and educated at Kinghorn Public School and Kirkcaldy High School. He had been articled to James Murray of Kirkcaldy from 1894 to 1899 and then had become assistant to John Gershom Adams in Edinburgh. He must have been an excellent draughtsman as from these unpromising beginnings he had obtained a place with Niven & Wigglesworth in London in 1902. In the following year he had moved to the office of John Armitage and in 1904 to that of Francis George Fielden Hooper, both of London. He had passed the qualifying exam in 1906 and had been admitted ARIBA on 4 March 1907, his proposers being Niven, Wigglesworth and Hooper. By that time he had obtained a post as assistant in H M Office of Works in London, where he remained for the following two to three years, before returning to Kirkcaldy to commence independent practice at 196 High Street in 1910. He had been mobilised in August 1914 as a Lieutenant in the Forth Heavy Garrison Artillery and had been sent to France as Captain, 108 Siege Battery, in February 1916. He had been promoted Major in the Field to command 150 Siege Battery but had been wounded in August 1918 and invalided home. While serving in France he had married in 1917 Mary Henderson, daughter of Peter Henderson. He had resumed practice in Kirkcaldy after the war.

There is no evidence of the existence of the partnership of Williamson, Wyllie & Syme outside the year 1920.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1Kirkcaldy, Fife, ScotlandBusiness   

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3William Syme1920 * Partner 
Item 2 of 3William Williamson1920 * Partner 
Item 3 of 3William Barnet Wyllie1920 * Partner 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice 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 31920Fifty houses for Kirkcaldy Town CouncilKirkcaldy FifeScotland 
Item 2 of 31920Houses, Overton Road site, for Kirkcaldy Town CouncilKirkcaldy FifeScotland40 houses
Item 3 of 31920Twenty-four houses for Kirkcaldy Town CouncilKirkcaldy FifeScotland 


Currently, there are no references for this architectural practice. The information has been derived from: the British Architectural Library / RIBA Directory of British Architects 1834-1914; Post Office Directories; and/or any sources listed under this individual's works.