Basic Biographical Details

Name: Edmund Walter Wimperis
Designation: Architect
Born: 1865
Died: 1946
Bio Notes: Edmund Walter Wimperis was born in 1865, the son of Edmund Morison Wimperis, watercolourist and brother of the playwright Arthur Wimperis. He was articled to his older cousin, John Thomas Wimperis, in London in February 1882, and remained with him as an assistant, attending the Architectural Association and passing the qualifying exam to be admitted ARIBA on 3 June 1889, his proposers being Wimperis, Thomas Verity, another of the Grosvenor Estate architects and Cole Alfred Adams.

John Thomas Wimperis retired in 1898, at which point, or earlier, the younger Wimperis became a partner. The elder Wimperis died on 21 December 1904, and William Henry Arber, his partner since 1889, died in the same year, but a few years before that the younger Wimperis had taken into partnership John Reginald Best, born 1866. Best had been articled to Cole Alfred Adams in 1883 and had also had some experience as a clerk of works to the scholar architect John Alfred Gotch. He had been in the Wimperis office and attended the Architectural Association prior to passing the qualifying exam in 1889 and being admitted ARIBA on 3 June of that year, his proposers being Adams, Verity and Herbert Duncan Appleton. He had subsequently worked in partnership with Charles Ashton Callon before being taken into partnership by Wimperis.

The Wimperis & Best partnership seems not to have been a success and was dissolved in or about 1910 when Edmund Wimperis succeeded Colonel Estace Balfour as architect to the Grosvenor Estate.

In 1913 Wimperis replaced Best by taking into partnership William Begg Simpson, born 1880, the son of an Aberdonian farmer, described by his obituarist D F Fyffe as 'a man of amazing vitality and cheerfulness of spirit'. He was articled to Alexander Marshall Mackenzie 1896-1901, working alongside Mackenzie's son, Alexander George Robertson Mackenzie who was a year older. He attended classes at Aberdeen School of Art from 1896 until 1902 when he moved to London as assistant to Read & MacDonald, both of whom had worked for Sir Ernest George. After a period with Arthur Conran Blomfield, Simpson joined Wimperis as an assistant in 1911, making his name with 26 Grosvenor Street in a neo-Georgian manner influenced by Lutyens.

The partnership of Wimperis and Simpson was renewed at the end of the First World War and in 1923 Wimperis & Simpson achieved still wider fame by winning the limited competition for the rebuilding of Fortnum & Masons. In 1925 Leonard Rome Guthrie was taken into partnership to help with the Grosvenor House project for which Lutyens was consultant, the practice name now becoming Wimperis Simpson & Guthrie. Born in 1880, Guthrie was educated at Glasgow High School and articled to William Leiper from 1895 to 1900, during which period he studied under William James Anderson at Glasgow School of Art. He 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 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 became head draughtsman to William Flockhart, marrying one of Flockhart's two daughters. He left Flockhart in 1907 but stayed in London to commence practice on his own account at 3 Gray's Inn Square. He passed the qualifying exam in 1909 and was 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. He was elected FRIBA on 8 June 1925, his proposers being Edward Prioleau Warren, James Glen Sivewright Gibson and William Curtis Green.

Edmund Wimperis died in retirement in 1946. The practice was continued by Simpson and Guthrie with Douglas James Fyffe who had been taken into partnership in 1931. Guthrie retired in 1953 and died in April 1958 and Simpson, who had retired two years earlier in 1951 on 22 July 1959.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 56, Lambert Road, Brixton Hill, London, EnglandPrivate1889  
Item 2 of 522, Conduit Street, London, EnglandBusiness1899  
Item 3 of 551, Conduit Street, London, EnglandBusiness1901  
Item 4 of 56, Vigo Street, Kensington Gardens, London, EnglandBusinessBefore 1903After 1907 
Item 5 of 561, South Molton Street, London, EnglandBusinessBefore 1914After 1939 

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 6John Thomas Wimperis1882c. 1886Apprentice 
Item 2 of 6John Thomas Wimperisc. 18861889Assistant 
Item 3 of 6Wimperis & Arber1889Before 1898Assistant 
Item 4 of 6Wimperis & Best1900 or 1901 or 1902 or 1903c. 1910Partner 
Item 5 of 6Wimperis & Simpson19131925Partner 
Item 6 of 6Wimperis, Simpson & Guthrie1925 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 2George Herbert FoggittAfter 1903Before 1914Assistant 
Item 2 of 2William Begg SimpsonJune 19111913Assistant 


RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6John Duff6 June 1910for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 6John Murray EastonLate 1921for Associateship
Item 3 of 6Douglas James Fyffe6 March 1939for Licentiateship
Item 4 of 6Walter Symington Athol GordonLate 1916 or early 1917for Fellowship
Item 5 of 6Laurence Kirkpatrick Hall2 March 1908for Fellowship
Item 6 of 6William Begg SimpsonMid 1919for Fellowship

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 31923Fortnum & MasonPiccadilly LondonEnglandWon competition to secure job
Item 2 of 3After 1925Dupplin CastleForteviot PerthshireScotlandAlterations
Item 3 of 31932Flats, Brook House site  LondonEnglandAppointed for job


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 2Survey of London Survey of London  v39 & 40