Basic Biographical Details

Name: Burn & Bryce
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1844
Ended: 1849 or 1850
Bio Notes: The partnership of William Burn and David Bryce was a legal entity from 1844 to July 1850 although in design terms it had begun much earlier and had effectively ended in 1849. It was managed by David Bryce from what had been William Burn's house and office at 131 George Street, Edinburgh and was confined to Scotland, Burn's London practice at 6 Stratton Street, Piccadilly being conducted in his name only. The practice differed in that the Edinburgh Burn and Bryce office continued Burn's pre-1844 general practice, whereas Burn's London office accepted commissions only for country houses, related estate work, gentleman's clubs and business arising from his Office of Works role as consulting architect to the Government of Scotland following the retirement of Edward Blore in 1849.

David Bryce's connection with Burn began with the death of his older brother William on 5 December 1823. William was one of Burn's senior clerks and David was given his post to help provide for his widow and three young children. By at least 1829 Bryce was Burn's chief clerk: he had been allowed to continue conducting his brother's architectural academy from his house in Hermitage Place, Stockbridge and from about 1828 was allowed to have a small independent practice, mainly small parish buildings with which Burn did not want to be troubled. But in April 1829 Bryce received and accepted the commission for a small country house at Newton Hall at Kennoway in Fife and his private practice, in the early 1830s based at Great Stuart Street and from 1835 at 53 Castle Street, grew steadily throughout the 1830s, mainly with church, manse and school work. In parallel Bryce became increasingly important to Burn's practice through his mastery of neo-Mannerist, neo-Baroque and Scottish Jacobean detail.

But by 1839-1840 Bryce had received commissions for several Edinburgh insurance offices and for the Edinburgh & Leith Bank's head office, buildings too prominent to be consistent with the position as Burn's chief clerk. Matters came to a head in March 1841 when Bryce not unreasonably sought full membership of the Institute of architects in Scotland which Burn had founded in the previous year. His application was unfavourably received as he was still regarded as an employee rather than a principal by the other members of the committee. Burn then formally proposed him as a Fellow at the beginning of May, but as his admission was still opposed by the committee, Burn resigned from the Institute on the 15th, bringing about the collapse of the Institute.

The reason why Burn and Bryce ultimately merged their practices were, however, more because of practical considerations. In 1839-44 Burn had an altogether exceptional number of major commissions on his hands which were geographically widely spread from Ross and Cromarty in the north to Lincolnshire in the south and across the Irish Sea to Muckross and Dartrey. Early in 1844 he had a short breakdown in health similar to that which afflicted him for a longer period in 1824 and later in that same year he moved house to 6 Stratton Street, Piccadilly, London as a more convenient address from which to deal with his English and Irish clients and his grander Scottish ones during the winter season. No copy of the partnership agreement has been found, but it appears to have been provided for Bryce still managing all Scottish business from Burn's house and office at 131 George Street into which Bryce then moved.

Within a year the partnership became strained as a result of problems with the slating of the Duke of Buccleuch's Episcopal chapel at Dalkeith where the Ducchess's enmity made Burn particularly sensitive of his reputation. Bryce's friendship with Robert William Billings, whose publishing partnership with Burn ended acrimoniously in October 1848, and his feud with the Free Church faction in Edinburgh's Town Council over the rebuilding of Trinity College Church, probably did not help matters but the primary cause of the break-up of the partnership was Bryce's increasing habit of dealing directly with most of the Scottish clients and designing their houses without much reference to Burn in London. Burn's acceptance of the commission for Poltalloch which was both designed and supervised from Stratton Street, probably marked the final breaking point. At the time the break suited the interests of both partners. Bryce's Edinburgh practice was by then busier than Burn's in London and he no longer needed Burn to introduce business; and Burn was by then relatively short of commissions for completely new houses and Scottish business was again welcome. The partnership was formally dissolved shortly before 11 July 1850 when Burn wrote to the published John Blackwood: 'I have closed my partnership with Bryce it being utterly impossible to go on with him'.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1131, George Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate/business18441849 or 1850 

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 7John Starforth1844 * ApprenticeExact dates unkown
Item 2 of 7David Bryce18441849Partner 
Item 3 of 7William Burn18441849Senior Partner 
Item 4 of 7James Campbell Walker18441849(?)AssistantInitially still an apprentice
Item 5 of 7John StarforthAfter 1844(?) AssistantStarforth is believed to have remained in the practice after his apprenticeship
Item 6 of 7Andrew Heiton (junior)c. 1844c. 1848Assistant 
Item 7 of 7Charles George Hood Kinnear18491850Apprentice 

* 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 521837Roslin ChapelRoslin/Rosslyn MidlothianScotlandSupervised repairs
Item 2 of 521843Ladykirk HouseLadykirk BerwickshireScotlandMinor alterations and additions
Item 3 of 521844BalcaskiePittenweem FifeScotlandWest (Carnbee) Lodge
Item 4 of 521844Bamff HouseAlyth PerthshireScotlandAdditions
Item 5 of 521844Carradale HouseCarradale ArgyllScotland 
Item 6 of 521844Fife Arms Hotel and adjoining premises for the Trustees of Lord FifeBanff BanffshireScotland 
Item 7 of 521844Mertoun HouseMertoun BerwickshireScotlandAlterations and additions, including new south wing, reusing old pavilion
Item 8 of 521844Preston HouseLinlithgow West LothianScotlandHouse, lodge and gateway
Item 9 of 521844Thirlestane CastleLauder BerwickshireScotlandCompletion of additions - begun by Burn, probably partly designed by Bryce; may have been completed in partnership
Item 10 of 521844Town's Churches, St Mary's Church and church hall  DundeeScotlandDesigns drawn up for new church following rejection of scheme for rebuilding the medieval church, burnt 1841.
Item 11 of 521844Trinity Church  EdinburghScotlandBuilding dismantled under Bryce's supervision and various schemes prepared
Item 12 of 521844WhitehillRosewell MidlothianScotlandHouse, lodge etc
Item 13 of 52c. 1844Norton House and ancillary buildings  MidlothianScotlandHS- 'style of David Bryce'
Item 14 of 52c. 1844Riccarton Estate Lodge  West LothianScotlandHS - 'style of William Burn and David Bryce'
Item 15 of 521845ArmadaleMelvich SutherlandScotland 
Item 16 of 521845Clatto Estate, House and Steading (Clatto Cottage)Cupar FifeScotlandScottish Baronial additions and possibly steading
Item 17 of 521845Edinburgh Royal Lunatic Asylum  EdinburghScotlandAddition
Item 18 of 521845Hamilton MausoleumHamilton LanarkshireScotlandBryce responsible
Item 19 of 521845InchdairnieKirkcaldy FifeScotlandHouse and lodges
Item 20 of 521845Leny HouseCallander PerthshireScotland 
Item 21 of 521845New Greyfriars Church  EdinburghScotlandRepair work after fire
Item 22 of 521845Strathendry CastleMarkinch FifeScotlandStables and additions - Bryce responsible
Item 23 of 521845The Parsonage, Dunmore Park  StirlingshireScotland 
Item 24 of 521846BalcaskiePittenweem FifeScotlandEast Lodge
Item 25 of 521846Balfour Castle and lodgeBalfourShapinsayOrkneyScotlandExtensive Scottish baronial additions and gate lodges
Item 26 of 521846Corraith HouseSymington AyrshireScotland 
Item 27 of 521846Exchange Bank of Scotland  EdinburghScotland 
Item 28 of 521846Grange Cemetery, layout, lodge etcGrange EdinburghScotlandLayout, lodge and vaulted catacombs
Item 29 of 521846Luffness HouseDrem East LothianScotland 
Item 30 of 521846Western Bank  EdinburghScotlandBryce responsible
Item 31 of 521846Western Bank, Glasgow  GlasgowScotlandAdditions
Item 32 of 52c. 1846ArddarrochFinnart DunbartonshireScotlandAdditions, including conservatory (demolished). East Lodge
Item 33 of 521847British Linen Bank, St Andrew Square  EdinburghScotlandInternal alterations to connect two houses with British Linen Bank
Item 34 of 521847Dalkeith Union PoorhouseDalkeith MidlothianScotlandScheme drawn up - not selected for job
Item 35 of 521847Edinburgh and Leith Bank  EdinburghScotlandExtension
Item 36 of 521847Invermark LodgeGlenesk AngusScotlandOriginal building
Item 37 of 521847Town's Churches, Old St Paul's  DundeeScotlandExecuted Burn's design of 1841-42
Item 38 of 521848(Old) Edinburgh Royal Infirmary  EdinburghScotlandMajor alterations and extensions planned
Item 39 of 521848Allanbank HouseChirnside BerwickshireScotland 
Item 40 of 521848CapenochPenpont DumfriesshireScotlandAdditions in three distinct stages
Item 41 of 521848Colonial Life Assurance Co  EdinburghScotlandInterior alterations
Item 42 of 521848Dalkeith House, Duke's GatesDalkeith MidlothianScotland 
Item 43 of 521848Falkland Parish ChurchFalkland FifeScotland 
Item 44 of 521848Guthrie CastleForfar AngusScotlandExtensive Scottish Baronial additions
Item 45 of 521848Polmont ManseGrangemouth StirlingshireScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 46 of 521848Register House, Screen Wall  EdinburghScotlandAlterations to screen wall including design of base of Wellington Statue
Item 47 of 521848Tollcross House  GlasgowScotlandHouse and lodge
Item 48 of 521849Cameron HouseWindygates FifeScotland 
Item 49 of 521849Dargavel House, BishoptonBishopton RenfrewshireScotlandMinor alterations and additions
Item 50 of 521849Duke of Wellington Monument  EdinburghScotlandBase
Item 51 of 521849Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Old Surgical Hospital  EdinburghScotland 
Item 52 of 52Before 1850(?)Ardoon HouseWaterside AyrshireScotlandTentative attribution in HS Lists - if correct, must be before 1850


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.