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Basic Biographical Details

Name: Thomas Purves Marwick
Designation: Architect
Born: 1854
Died: 26 June 1927
Bio Notes: Thomas Purves Marwick was born in 1854 in Edinburgh, and educated there, serving his articles with Peddie & Kinnear. He won the Ashpitel Prize in 1882 and the RIBA Silver Medal in 1884 for an essay on staircases, and made the highest marks in all subjects at the RIBA Qualifying Examination for Associateship in 1882, earning the commendation of Alfred Waterhouse and Sir Horace Jones of the Board of Examiners. He was admitted ARIBA on 8 January 1883, his proposers being Robert Rowand Anderson, Arthur Cates and John Macvicar Anderson, as neither Peddie nor Kinnear were fellows.

Marwick commenced practice in Edinburgh in or about 1879, his early years being spent building good-quality tenements in the Marchmont/Bruntsfield area. Several of these were of great originality, those at Bruntsfield challenging comparison with the best work of John James burnet and George Washington Browne at that time: they provide ample confirmation of the esteem in which he had been held by his examiners. His practice began in a very cautious way, operating from his suburban home addresses until about 1893 when John MacLachlan of York Place died and he bought his business, managing to retain MacLachlan's main clients, the National Bank and the St Cuthbert's Co-operative Society. The character of some of MacLachlan's late work, notably the National Bank building at the corner of High Street and Cockburn Street, suggests that Marwick may have assisted him in his last years. Marwick soon built up a large and varied practice. His obituary lauds him as a great planner, his work 'a natural expression of plan and construction.' He sometimes followed Scottish tradition, but he was primarily an accomplished Free Renaissance and neo-baroque designer, capable of good design in other styles as the occasion demanded.

The National Bank retained Marwick's services almost exclusively throughout his life, employing him to build numerous branch offices throughout the country, including those at Trongate, Glasgow, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, Kilmarnock, East Linton, Fort William, and Portobello. St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association in Edinburgh similarly remained an exceptionally loyal client, commissioning additions to their head office in Fountainbridge, premises at Bread Street and Nicolson Street, and various stables, bakeries, slaughterhouses and district branches.

In addition to his architectural work, Marwick was active in public life. In 1892 he joined the Merchant Company of Edinburgh, designed the extension of their Hanover Street premises in 1901, and was elected Assistant Master in 1917. From 1915 to 1920 he served as Convenor of the Estates Committee of the Merchant Company Education Board for Peterhead, and was the Convenor of the Special Committee of the Company in 1919, retiring from office in 1920. During his time as Convenor, the Committee published a comprehensive report on recommendations for furthering industry in Edinburgh. Valuation was an important element of his practice, and he was frequently called upon as an expert witness, mainly on Edinburgh property. As an active member of the Edinburgh Architectural Association, he was its President from 1918 to 1921, and one of the earliest presidents of the Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, from 1922 to 1924. Deafness in his later years made this kind of work increasingly difficult.

Marwick was scholarly with an extensive library, his interest ranging from classical antiquity to Old Edinburgh. In his earlier years he planned to develop his RIBA essay on staircases further, but in 1888 he had it published by J & J Gray as first written as ‘The History and Construction of Staircases’ with illustrations drawn from ‘Le Moniteur des Architectes, Paul Letarouilly, Joseph Nash and Robert William Billings. It was dedicated to Mrs Dennistoun of Golfhill, Glasgow, and may not have been for sale as those known to the Dictionary are presentation copies.

Although everything Marwick built had distinction, it could not be said that his early promise developed to quite the same degree as John James Burnet’s and John Archibald Campbell’s: only at his magnificent bank in Glasgow’s Trongate us there a real indication of what might have been. In part that was because he seems to have avoided competitions, his institutional clients providing all the business his practice needed to prosper. He designed no major public building and seems to have had no significant country house practice. That may have been due to his abrupt manner with strangers and even with his own family, but according to an anonymous former pupil, 'this abruptness was due to an acute and active brain'. He was remembered in his obituary as a 'prodigious and untiring worker' who worked 'without fuss' and had little use for assistants who were not dedicated to the profession. His pupils and assistants included Alexander Lorimer, who worked for him for forty years, Arthur James Driver of Blomfield's office in London, William James Walker Todd of Dick Peddie & Walker Todd, James Gillespie who shared his scholarly interests, and William Davidson, head of Edinburgh College of Art Evening Architectural School from 1908.

Marwick died on 26 June 1927, survived by two daughters and a son, Thomas Craigie Marwick (born 1878), who had been articled to his father from 1898 and had remained with him thereafter, being taken into partnership in 1917. The elder Marwick left a moveable estate of £52,277 6s 8d, a very large sum indeed at the time. His practice was continued by his son under the same name. A grandson, Thomas Waller Marwick (born 1903 or 1904), also became an architect and continued the practice until his death in 1971.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 59, Broughton Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate/businessc. 1877c. 1881 
Item 2 of 51, Spottiswoode Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate/business(?)c. 1882c. 1892 
Item 3 of 543, Lauder Road, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate/businessc. 1893c. 1926Was house and office in 1893 only, thereafter only house
Item 4 of 529, York Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness18941897Took over John McLachlan's practice and office
Item 5 of 543, York Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1899 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2Peddie & Kinnearc. 1870c. 1875Apprentice 
Item 2 of 2T P Marwick & Son1917(?)1927Senior Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 13Alexander Lorimer1887c. 1895DraughtsmanFor forty years was with the Marwick practice
Item 2 of 13Arthur James Driver18931899Assistant 
Item 3 of 13William Davidson1895c. 1899Apprentice 
Item 4 of 13James Gillespie18951900 or 1901Apprentice 
Item 5 of 13Alexander Lorimerc. 18951911 or 1912(?)Chief Assistant 
Item 6 of 13Thomas Craigie Marwick18981902Apprentice 
Item 7 of 13William Davidsonc. 18991903Draughtsman 
Item 8 of 13John Alexander McWilliam1901After 1911Assistant 
Item 9 of 13James Gray19011912Assistant 
Item 10 of 13Thomas Craigie Marwick19021917Assistant 
Item 11 of 13William James Walker ToddJanuary 19021907 or 1908Apprentice 
Item 12 of 13James Spalding BennetSeptember 1907May 1912Apprentice 
Item 13 of 13Alexander McWilliam1913 Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3John Macvicar Anderson8 January 1883for Associateship
Item 2 of 3(Sir) Robert Rowand Anderson8 January 1883for Associateship
Item 3 of 3Arthur Cates8 January 1883for Associateship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 4William Davidson6 June 1910for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 4William Davidson14 June 1926for Fellowship
Item 3 of 4Thomas Forbes Maclennan1 December 1924for Fellowship
Item 4 of 4James Thomas Alexander Taylor9 January 1911for Licentiateship

Buildings and Designs

This architect 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 109 22-42 Earl Grey Street  EdinburghScotlandAlterations - date unknown
Item 2 of 109 28-36 Cowgate  EdinburghScotlandFloor plan, probably for alterations - date unknown
Item 3 of 109 79-80 Queen Street and 5-6 North Charlotte Street  EdinburghScotlandAlterations on North Charlotte Street façade - uncertain as to which Marwick involved as there is no date given in list
Item 4 of 109 Bakers Shop, 9 Wolsley PlacePiershill EdinburghScotlandAlterations - date unknown
Item 5 of 109 Edinburgh Ladies College, Proposed Branch School  EdinburghScotlandAlterations - date unknown
Item 6 of 109 George Watson's College  EdinburghScotlandDrawings (after MacGibbon and Ross?)
Item 7 of 109 Kerr Memorial ChurchPolwarth EdinburghScotlandProbably a remodelling of David Robertson's John Ker Memorial Church at Polwarth; date unknown
Item 8 of 109 St Cuthbert's Wholesale Co-operative Society LaundryGorgie EdinburghScotland 
Item 9 of 1091878Tenements, 1 Marchmont Road and 1 Marchmont Crescent  EdinburghScotland 
Item 10 of 1091880Tenement, 33 Marchmont Crescent  EdinburghScotland 
Item 11 of 1091880Tenement, 33-35, 36-37, 38-39 Warrender Park Terrace  EdinburghScotlandHS attribution
Item 12 of 1091880Tenements, 36-41 Warrender Park Terrace  EdinburghScotland 
Item 13 of 109188145-49 Warrender Park Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 14 of 1091881Tenement, 14 Spottiswoode Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 15 of 1091881Tenement, 35 Marchmont Crescent  EdinburghScotland 
Item 16 of 109188371-77 Warrender Park Road and 16-20 Spottiswoode Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 17 of 1091883Gladstone Hotel  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 18 of 1091883Tenement, 330 Lawnmarket  EdinburghScotland 
Item 19 of 10918849 Thirlestane Lane Mews  EdinburghScotland 
Item 20 of 1091885Fisher's Buildings  EdinburghScotland 
Item 21 of 1091885Tenements, 1-19 Bruntsfield Place  EdinburghScotland 
Item 22 of 1091885Tenements, Barclay Place  EdinburghScotland 
Item 23 of 1091887Edinburgh Free Library  EdinburghScotlandUnsuccessful competition design
Item 24 of 1091887Tenement, 44-46 High Street  EdinburghScotlandProbably adapting a design by David Cousin and John Lessels.
Item 25 of 1091888Tenement, 30-38 Marchmont Road and 56-60 Warrender Park Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 26 of 1091888Tenement, 40-44 Marchmont Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 27 of 1091888Tenement, 62-66 Warrender Park Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 28 of 109188919-25 St Mary's Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 29 of 1091889Tenement, 46-50 Marchmont Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 30 of 1091889Tenement, 52-56 Marchmont Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 31 of 1091889Tenement, 58-62 Marchmont Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 32 of 109c. 188Rentons, 10-15 Princes Street  EdinburghScotlandPlans
Item 33 of 1091890Tenements, Barclay Terrace  EdinburghScotland 
Item 34 of 1091892Kenilworth Bar  EdinburghScotlandAdaptation of older building to form bar
Item 35 of 1091893National Bank of Scotland, High Street  EdinburghScotlandTook over after McLachlan's death
Item 36 of 1091894National Bank of Scotland, Anstruther BranchAnstruther FifeScotlandRepairs, drainage
Item 37 of 1091894National Bank of Scotland, Bathgate BranchBathgate West LothianScotlandReported on alterations
Item 38 of 1091894National Bank of Scotland, Glasgow St Rollox BranchSt Rollox GlasgowScotlandAlterations and modernisation
Item 39 of 1091894National Bank of Scotland, Haymarket BranchHaymarket EdinburghScotlandAlterations and addition of porch
Item 40 of 1091894National Bank of Scotland, Islay Branch IslayArgyllScotlandImprovements
Item 41 of 1091894National Bank of Scotland, Jedburgh BranchJedburgh RoxburghshireScotlandRepairs and windows
Item 42 of 1091894Premises for C J Turcan & CoLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 43 of 1091895194 Rose Street  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 44 of 1091895National Bank of Scotland, Dumfries BranchDumfries DumfriesshireScotlandAlterations and repairs, £550.
Item 45 of 109189699 Princes Street  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 46 of 1091896National Bank of Scotland, East Linton BranchEast Linton East LothianScotland 
Item 47 of 1091896National Bank of Scotland, Fauldhouse BranchFauldhouse West LothianScotlandPossibly provided plans for additional accommodation
Item 48 of 1091896National Bank of Scotland, Rutherglen BranchRutherglen LanarkshireScotlandReport, additional accommodation
Item 49 of 1091896Premises for Mr D Thomson  EdinburghScotland 
Item 50 of 109October 1896Building at 24-25 Home Street, including National Bank of ScotlandLochrin EdinburghScotlandProvided plan of Bank's requirements for office
Item 51 of 109189715 Queen Street  EdinburghScotlandRemodelled with canted bays
Item 52 of 1091897National Bank of Scotland, Castle Douglas BranchCastle Douglas KirkcudbrightshireScotlandMinor alterations
Item 53 of 1091897National Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh South Side Branch  EdinburghScotland 
Item 54 of 1091897National Bank of Scotland, Greenock BranchGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandAlterations
Item 55 of 1091897Tenement at Argyle Street and Brown Street  GlasgowScotland 
Item 56 of 109January 1897National Bank of Scotland, Kilmarnock BranchKilmarnock AyrshireScotland 
Item 57 of 109After 1897Public SchoolYetholm RoxburghshireScotlandAddition of classrooms
Item 58 of 1091898Leith Provident Co-operative Society  EdinburghScotland 
Item 59 of 1091898National Bank of Scotland  GlasgowScotlandUnsuccessful competition design
Item 60 of 1091898National Bank of Scotland, Leith Walk  EdinburghScotlandConversion of dwelling house into bank premises. Check!
Item 61 of 1091898St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association Department Store and Dairy  EdinburghScotlandExtension - matching McLachlan's work
Item 62 of 1091898Viewforth Free Church  EdinburghScotlandRebuilt interior after fire
Item 63 of 1091899Kenilworth Bar  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction
Item 64 of 1091899National Bank of Scotland, Glenluce BranchGlenluce WigtownshireScotland 
Item 65 of 1091899National Bank of Scotland, Gorgie BranchGorgie EdinburghScotland 
Item 66 of 1091899National Bank of Scotland, Oban BranchOban ArgyllScotlandAlterations
Item 67 of 1091900National Bank of Scotland, Jedburgh BranchJedburgh RoxburghshireScotlandPossibly improvements
Item 68 of 109c. 1900Daniel Stewart's College Art Room  EdinburghScotlandProposed new art room
Item 69 of 109c. 1900Daniel Stewart's Hospital  EdinburghScotlandUnspecified drawings
Item 70 of 109c. 1900Nenthorn HouseKelso BerwickshireScotlandNomination papers of Lorimer & obituary of Marwicksay Marwick responsible for work here - perhaps alterations?
Item 71 of 109c. 1900Premises for W J Clay, Teviot Place  EdinburghScotlandSketch plans
Item 72 of 109c. 1900Shop for Barret & Co, South Bridge  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 73 of 1091901City of Glasgow Bank  EdinburghScotlandBuilt southern half of the building for the Merchant Company with the British Linen Bank as tenants
Item 74 of 1091901Livingstone Institute and Medical Missionary Society's premises  EdinburghScotlandExtension, including Magdalen Chapel
Item 75 of 1091901National Bank of Scotland, Trongate  GlasgowScotland 
Item 76 of 1091901St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association Tenements, Shop and Bakery with stables  EdinburghScotland 
Item 77 of 1091901TheatreStockbridge EdinburghScotlandConversion of roller skating rink to theatre
Item 78 of 109After 1901Factory for J Colton & Son Ltd  Edinburgh?Scotland 
Item 79 of 109After 1901Factory for J Thyne & Son  Edinburgh?Scotland 
Item 80 of 109After 1901Factory for James Dunbar & Son  Edinburgh?Scotland 
Item 81 of 109After 1901Factory for McVitie & Price Ltd  Edinburgh?Scotland 
Item 82 of 109After 1901St Cuthbert's Co-operative Society Bakeries  EdinburghScotland 
Item 83 of 109c. 1901St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association Premises  EdinburghScotland 
Item 84 of 1091902National Bank of Scotland, Anstruther BranchAnstruther FifeScotlandPossibly did extension
Item 85 of 1091904Edinburgh and East of Scotland College of Agriculture  EdinburghScotlandEnlargement of original premises
Item 86 of 1091904National Bank of Scotland, Portobello BranchPortobello EdinburghScotland 
Item 87 of 1091904National Bank of Scotland, Sauchiehall Street Branch  GlasgowScotlandAlterations
Item 88 of 1091904People’s Bank, Forrest Road   EdinburghScotland 
Item 89 of 1091904St Cuthbert's Wholesale Co-operative Association Headquarters  EdinburghScotlandWestern extension
Item 90 of 109c. 1905Ardrossan EU Congregational ChurchArdrossan AyrshireScotland 
Item 91 of 109February 1906National Bank of Scotland, St Enoch Square  GlasgowScotlandPrepared plans, but Paterson's were selected
Item 92 of 1091907Tenement, 47-77 Bread Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 93 of 1091908Gresham Life Assurance and Merchant Company offices  EdinburghScotland 
Item 94 of 1091909St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association Slaughterhouses and Cattle DepotGorgie EdinburghScotland 
Item 95 of 109c. 1910Swinton Parish ChurchSwinton BerwickshireScotlandRestoration
Item 96 of 1091911National Bank of Scotland, Fort William BranchFort William Inverness-shireScotland 
Item 97 of 1091912Suggested development for land to the north-west of Leith Walk  EdinburghScotland 
Item 98 of 1091912Whitefoord House  EdinburghScotlandAdditions and alterations
Item 99 of 1091913Callander House  EdinburghScotlandAlterations in conjunction with Scottish Naval and Military Veterans' Residence
Item 100 of 1091913Edinburgh and East of Scotland College of Agriculture  EdinburghScotland 
Item 101 of 1091914St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association Department Store and Dairy  EdinburghScotlandFurther extension and dairy
Item 102 of 109After 1920Star Hotel  EdinburghScotlandPossibly involved in unspecified work
Item 103 of 1091922St Cuthbert's Wholesale Co-operative Association, dairy block  EdinburghScotland 
Item 104 of 1091924(?)Logie HouseForres MorayshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 105 of 1091925St Cuthbert's Co-operative Association Block of Shops and HosesCorstorphine EdinburghScotland 
Item 106 of 1091926St Cuthbert's Wholesale Co-operative Association Headquarters  EdinburghScotlandNew main doorway and internal alterations
Item 107 of 109Early 1920sSeamill HydropathicSeamill AyrshireScotlandExtensive additions
Item 108 of 1091950Wilson's InstitutionDunfermline FifeScotlandNew frontage and internal alterations
Item 109 of 1091951(?)Premises for Edinburgh Press Club  EdinburghScotlandConversion for Edinburgh Press Club


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 4British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 4Marwick, Thomas Purves1920Balbardie and Robert AdamOctober 1920Architectural Review, October 1920 
Item 3 of 4Post Office Directories     
Item 4 of 4Who's Who in Architecture1914    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder8 July 1927v133 p73
Item 2 of 4RIAS Quarterly1927 Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)Undated obituary by an anonymous former pupil
Item 3 of 4RIBA Journal26 November 1927v35London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp60
Item 4 of 4RIBA Journalearly 1927v34London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp697

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A v9 p42 (microfiche 34/C2)
Item 2 of 2Royal Bank of Scotland Group ArchivesNational Bank Board Minutes NS/22/33: 25 May 1893, 1 February 1894


© All rights reserved. ©and courtesy of RIAS 

© All rights reserved. ©and courtesy of RIAS