Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Stuart Syme
Born: 1872
Died: 12 December 1958
Bio Notes: John Stuart Syme was born in 1872 and was articled to Robert Rowand Anderson in 1888, attending Heriot-Watt College and, briefly, the Edinburgh School of Applied Art before moving to the office of William Henry Thorp of Leeds in 1896. In 1898 he moved to London to work for James Glen Sivewright Gibson, returning to Anderson's practice, by then Anderson, Simon & Crawford, in 1899. On the dissolution of that partnership in 1902 he joined the office of the Edinburgh School Board architect John Alexander Carfrae, leaving for Liverpool in 1905 to be briefly assistant to Frank Worthington Simon of Matear & Simon. In the same year he moved again to York as assistant to Walter Henry Brierley whose chief assistant since 1901, James Hervey Rutherford, had been a fellow apprentice in Anderson's office. Syme was admitted LRIBA on 20 March 1911, proposed by Sydney Decimus Kitson and the Leeds & Yorkshire Architectural Society.

Brierley subsequently took Rutherford into partnership, Rutherford continuing the practice after Brierley's death in August 1926 and taking Syme into partnership in January the following year. Syme was elevated to FRIBA in mid-1928, his proposers being Simon, Rutherford, and Edward Thomas Boardman, President of the Norfolk & Norwich Association of Architects. At that time he was President of the York & East Yorkshire Architectural Society. His nomination papers state that he had spent at least a fortnight each year since 1893 in travelling and studying, and had visited Belgium, France and Italy as well as touring England and Scotland extensively.

The Rutherford & Syme partnership was dissolved in 1939; Rutherford continued the Brierley practice (though the RIBA obituary says Rutherford retired in 1939) and Syme practised alone until 1943 when he merged his business with that of Cecil Leckenby and who had been on the staff of Brierley & Rutherford from 1912-1926, whose son David A Leckenby became a partner in 1954. They were joined by John K Keighley in 1956. By that date Syme was eighty-four and must have been almost completely retired, though his RIBA obituary says he retired in April 1958.

Syme was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a member of the Diocesan Committee of York, of York Civic Trust and of the Royal Archaeological Institute. By the post-war period, he was affectionately referred to as 'Dinky Dime' by some members of his staff. He died on 12 December 1958.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 423, Hill Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1905 Appears to have practised briefly at this address perhaps working for Charles Mitchell?
Item 2 of 413, Lendal, York, Yorkshire, EnglandBusinessBefore 1906After 1928 
Item 3 of 421, Bond Street, Leeds, Yorkshire, EnglandPrivate1911 *  
Item 4 of 4Ivyholme, Holgate Road, York, Yorkshire, EnglandPrivate1928 *  

* 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 13Wardrop & Anderson18881893Apprentice 
Item 2 of 13Wardrop & Anderson1893(?)1896(?)Assistant(?)Probably remained with Anderson during this period, after completing his apprenticeship
Item 3 of 13William Henry Thorp18961898Assistant 
Item 4 of 13James Glen Sivewright Gibson18981899Assistant 
Item 5 of 13Anderson Simon & Crawford18991902Chief Assistant 
Item 6 of 13John Alexander Carfrae19021904Chief AssistantIn Edinburgh School Board Architect's Office
Item 7 of 13Edinburgh School Board Architects Department19021904Chief AssistantWorking under John Alexander Carfrae
Item 8 of 13Walter Henry Brierley1905c. 1911Assistant 
Item 9 of 13Matear & SimonEarly 19051905AssistantWith Simon in Liverpool.
Item 10 of 13Walter Henry Brierleyc. 19111918Chief Assistant 
Item 11 of 13Brierley & Rutherford1918August 1926 or January 1927Chief Assistant 
Item 12 of 13Rutherford & SymeJanuary 19271939Partner 
Item 13 of 13Syme & Leckenby19431958Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 4Edward Thomas BoardmanMid 1928for Fellowship
Item 2 of 4Sydney Decimus Kitson20 March 1911for Licentiateship - as president of the Leeds & Yorkshire Architectural Society
Item 3 of 4James Hervey RutherfordMid 1928for Fellowship
Item 4 of 4Frank Lewis Worthington SimonMid 1928for Fellowship

Buildings and Designs

This 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 71888University of Edinburgh, Medical School and McEwan Hall  EdinburghScotlandMcEwan Hall - as apprentice/assistant to Robert Rowand Anderson
Item 2 of 71901Pearce Memorial Hall and InstituteGovan GlasgowScotlandExecuted scheme - as chief assistant to Anderson Simon & Crawford
Item 3 of 71902Boroughmuir Higher Grade School (1st school)  EdinburghScotlandAs chief assistant to John Alexander Carfrae, School Board Architect
Item 4 of 71902Broughton Higher Grade School  EdinburghScotlandAddition to McDonald Road - as chief assistant to John Alexander Carfrae, School Board Architect
Item 5 of 71905Liverpool Cotton Exchange  LiverpoolEnglandAs assistant to Matear & Simon
Item 6 of 7After 1939Hamilton Park Racecourse and ancillary buildingsHamilton LanarkshireScotland 
Item 7 of 7After 1939(?)Lanark Racecourse and Ancillary BuildingsLanark LanarkshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 4Post Office Directories     
Item 2 of 4Who's Who in Architecture1914    
Item 3 of 4Who's Who in Architecture1923    
Item 4 of 4Who's Who in Architecture1926    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1RIBA JournalApril 1959 London: Royal Institute of British ArchitectsObituary p22

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Courtesy of Roy HunterInterview of Roy Hunter by Jessica Taylor, 18 November 2009 Information re: 'Dinky Dime' epithet
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers L v13 no858; F no2610 (box 9)