Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Coulson Nicol
Born: 1848
Died: 14 March 1933
Bio Notes: John Coulson Nicol was born in Aberdeen in 1848 and articled to Alexander Ellis for six years from 1867, thereafter obtaining a place as assistant in the office of George Beattie & Sons in Edinburgh, working under William Hamilton Beattie. In Post Office directories of about 1874-75 his address appears as 10 George Street, the Beattie's office address. In 1876 he emigrated to New Zealand, where he worked in Dunedin as an assistant to Robert Arthur Lawson and then to David Ross, before spending some time travelling in the United States and working in unidentified offices in San Francisco and Chicago. On his return to Britain in 1880 he entered the office of Alexander Marshall Peebles, District Surveyor of North St Marylebone in London, where he passed the District Surveyor's exam. In 1881 he became managing assistant first to Thomson Plevins of Birmingham, and then to Osborn & Reading, also of Birmingham.

Nicol commenced practice as a principal in London in 1883, although he did not pass the qualifying exam until 1886. He was admitted ARIBA on 18 August 1887, his proposers being Frank Barlow Osborn of Osborn & Reading, Andrew Baird Phipson and Julius Alfred Chatwin, all of Birmingham. In the same year he took over from Peebles as district surveyor of Marylebone. In 1887 he formed a partnership with Oliver Essex, who was seven years younger, as Essex & Nicol; this partnership was joined in 1900 by John Goodman and became Essex, Nicol & Goodman. Nicol's son George Salway Nicol, born 1878, became an apprentice in the firm in 1892 and was placed in John McKean Brydon's office for experience 1900-02. At some point before he was admitted ARIBA on 2 March 1903 he had travelled in Spain, France and Italy. He won the Tite Prize in 1907 and by 1914, the partnership with Essex and Goodman having been dissolved, he was a partner in Birmingham, the firm now being Nicol & Nicol. Despite the Marleybone surveyorship the practice became predominantly based in Birmingham where it was responsible for the Birmingham Municipal Technical School, the Meat Market and Newbury & Lunt's building.

George Salway Nicol died in 1930; his father John Coulson Nicol on 14 March 1933 at Elmdon Lodge, Acocks Green. The practice was continued by T Wynne Thomas.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 310, George Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1874c. 1875Beattie's office address
Item 2 of 3Kings Court/117, Colmore Row, Birmingham, EnglandBusinessBefore 1914After 1926 
Item 3 of 3Elmdon Lodge, Acocks Green, Birmingham, EnglandPrivate1917 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 10Essex, Nicol & Goodman  Partner 
Item 2 of 10Alexander Ellis18671873Apprentice 
Item 3 of 10George Beattie & Son18731876AssistantWorked under william Hamilton Beattie
Item 4 of 10Robert Arthur Lawson1876Before 1879Assistant 
Item 5 of 10David RossAfter 1876Before 1879Assistant 
Item 6 of 10Alexander Marshall Peebles18801881Assistant 
Item 7 of 10Thomson Plevins1882Before 1883Assistant 
Item 8 of 10Osborn & ReadingAfter 18821883Assistant 
Item 9 of 10Essex & Nicol18871900Partner 
Item 10 of 10Nicol & Nicolc. 1914 Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6Julius Alfred Chatwin18 April 1887for Associateship
Item 2 of 6Alfred William Stephens CrossLate 1917 or early 1918for Fellowship
Item 3 of 6Arthur HarrisonLate 1917 or early 1918for Fellowship
Item 4 of 6Frank Barlow Osborn18 April 1887for Associateship
Item 5 of 6John Perrins OsborneLate 1917 or early 1918for Fellowship
Item 6 of 6Andrew Bond Phipson18 April 1887for Associateship


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 2British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 2Who's Who in Architecture1914    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Birmingham Post15 March 1933  Obituary
Item 2 of 2RIBA Journal22 July 1933v40London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp743 - obituary of John Coulson Nicol

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A v9 p133 (microfiche 38/A1); F no1626 (microfilm reel 14)