Basic Biographical Details

Name: Flockhart & Guthrie
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: Before 1912
Ended: After 1913
Bio Notes: William Flockhart was born in Glasgow in 1852 or 1853, the son of William Flockhart, tailor and clothier, and Margaret Gibson. There was a family link of some kind to Sir William Flockhart of Duncan Flockhart & Co, Edinburgh, the chemists who developed chloroform. In 1870 he was articled to Adamson & McLeod and took classes at Glasgow School of Art where he was a prize-winner in 1871-72. He presumably remained with McLeod after the dissolution of his partnership with Adamson c.1871-72, moving to Campbell Douglas & Sellars as assistant in 1876-77. After a year of study in London and Paris in 1878-79, he entered the office of William Wallace at 27a Old Bond Street, London, first as an assistant and then in partnership as Wallace & Flockhart, his earliest commission being the addition of a tower and spire to Newhaven Free Church where Sir William Flockhart was a member of the congregation. On 9 September 1880 he married Christine Lochhead at her home, 33 Granville Street Glasgow, the minister being A A Bonnar of Finnieston Free Church, on which he had worked when with Sellars, his own address being given as 15 Marlborough Place, St James Wood.

Flockhart's clients tended to be either artists like Ricketts, Charles Shannon and John McWhirter and the photographers Elliot & Fry or extremely rich like his principal clients James Douglas Fletcher of Rosehaugh, Stuart Samuel, Samuel Montagu, Sir Edmund David, diamond merchant, the art dealer Joseph Duveen and Sir Frederick J Mirrielees of the Union Castle Mail Steamship Company. For the Union Castle Company he designed the interiors of S S Balmoral Castle in 1910. He was also consultant to the Derwent Valley Water Board and designed the architectural elements of the Derwent and Howden dams.

Flockhart was an extremely inventive and scholarly designer, something of a trial to the staff as designs were endlessly changed and perfected, sometimes after work was well under way. Goodhart Rendel described him as 'an extremely sensitive draughtsman', and 'potentially the best of the lot'.

The partnership of Wallace & Flockhart was dissolved c.1883, Flockhart continuing to practise alone. He was admitted FRIBA on 18 February 1901, his proposers being John Belcher, John McKean Brydon and Ernest George.

Flockhart appears to have taken his former senior assistant Leonard Rome Guthrie into partnership as Flockhart & Guthrie by 1912. Guthrie had been born in 1880, educated at Glasgow High School and articled to William Leiper from 1895 to 1899, during which period he had studied under William James Anderson at Glasgow School of Art. He had 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 had 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 had became head draughtsman to Flockhart. He had left Flockhart in 1907 but had stayed in London to commence practice on his own account at 3 Gray's Inn Square. He had passed the qualifying exam in 1909 and been 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.

Flockhart died on 10 April 1913, leaving moveable estate of 29,631 6s 2d. He had one son who did not become an architect and two daughters, one of whom married Guthrie, who inherited the practice. Guthrie was elected FRIBA on 8 June 1925, his proposers being Edward Prioleau Warren, James Glen Sivewright Gibson and William Curtis Green. In that year he was taken into partnership by Edmund Walter Wimperis and William Begg Simpson of the London firm Wimperis & Simpson, who had recently achieved fame by winning the limited competition for the rebuilding of Fortnum & Masons in 1923. The practice title became Wimperis, Simpson & Guthrie.

Private and Business Addresses

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

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 3Robert Hunter Cameronc. 1911c. 1913Assistantfor 2 years 1 month
Item 2 of 3William FlockhartBefore 19121913Partner 
Item 3 of 3Leonard Rome GuthrieBefore 1912After 1913Partner 


Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers Robert Hunter Cameron: A v24 no2714 (microfilm reel 23) (mentions him working for Flockhart & Guthrie)