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Records of Lorimer and Matthew, architects, Edinburgh, Scotland

551 154

Description Records of Lorimer and Matthew, architects, Edinburgh, Scotland

Date 1890 to 1960

Collection Records of Lorimer and Matthew, architects, Edinburgh, Scotland

Catalogue Number 551 154

Category All Other

Scope and Content The Lorimer & Matthew Collection is rare in comparison to collections from other architectural practices from this period in its comprehensive nature, and covers the full range of Lorimer’s practice, from cottages and country houses to churches, war memorials and interiors. Architectural drawings and photographs make up the body of the Collection, supplemented by further office material such as account books, certificate books, notebooks and ledgers, files of correspondence, diaries and sketchbooks. The collection also contains a number of architectural maquettes and a cabinet of drawing instruments.

Archive History The Lorimer & Matthew Collection has accumulated over a period of forty years from more than twenty accessions. A large initial deposit of office drawings was made by Stuart Matthew in 1968, which by this time had already been moved several times to different locations in Edinburgh, including premises occupied by the practice of Stuart Matthew’s brother, Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall & Partners at Alva Street, Edinburgh. This, and further donations comprising of drawings, photographs, news-cuttings and correspondence donated by Matthew in 1978, 1990 and 1995 (Accession Nos. 1990/54, 1978/20 and 1995/11); material including presentation drawings of the Thistle Chapel and the Scottish National War Memorial purchased by RCAHMS in 1995 (Accession No. 1995/11); photographs presented by Peter Savage (Accession Nos. 1989/20 and 1990/30); and plans and correspondence gifted by J W F Morton (Accession No. 1976/6), were catalogued and conserved as part of the Scottish Architects' Papers Preservation Project (SAPPP) between 1999 and 2004. Over the course of SAPPP a number of additional donations were received but were not included in the project. More still has been added in recent years. Notable accessions include the remaining part of the Lorimer Collection (Accession No. 1999/27); a plaster maquette for the Naval War Memorials at Clatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth (Accession No. 1987/17); and a set of Lorimer’s sketchbooks (Accession No. 2002/29).

System of Arrangement When the Collection arrived in the NMRS it was partially sorted and catalogued. The un-catalogued drawings were listed as projects. Accompanying the Collection was a reference book from Stuart Matthew ordering the rolls alphabetically by name and numerically within each letter. The book gives a brief description of what each project holds and the date. This book was transcribed by staff during SAPPP and used as a hand-list for sorting and cataloguing the Collection. A portion of the Collection was flattened with the rest remaining rolled. As part of the SAPPP cataloguing this hand-list was used for identification purposes, the numbering system was not used although it remains in Stuart Matthew’s book.

Related Material RCAHMS holds a number of Collections relating to Sir Robert Lorimer, such as the Thomas Hadden Collection and the SAPPP collections of Scot Morton, Carr & Matthew and Alan Reiach. MS 922/6 and 7 contain finding aids from the practice generated by the NMRS that can be used in conjunction with the Lorimer & Matthew Collection. Other smaller collections that may be of interest include Scott Morton & Co accounts (Accession Nos. 2000/197 and 2000/198) and a collection of material relating to the work of John Marshall (1888-1952), sculptor and stone carver who worked with Sir Robert Lorimer and others (Accession No. 2005/77). RCAHMS has carried out surveys of a number of private collections relating to Robert Lorimer (Accession Nos. 2001/217, 2004/69 and 2006/167). University of Edinburgh Special Collections contains a large correspondence Collection that relates to the Lorimer & Matthew Collection (GB 237 Coll-27). RIBA nomination papers are held in the RIBA Archive at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Access Conditions Access is unrestricted except where conservation concerns exist with individual items.

Administrative History Robert Stoddart Lorimer (1864–1929) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1864. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy and then the University of Edinburgh before taking an apprenticeship in 1885 with Sir Robert Rowand Anderson (1864-1929) and his partner Hew Montgomerie Wardrop (1856-1887). In 1889 Lorimer left Edinburgh for London to join the practice of George Frederic Bodley (1827-1907), a leading architect in the Arts and Crafts movement. He later worked briefly in the office of James Marjoribanks MacLaren (1853-1890) before returning to Scotland having won his first commission, to restore Earlshall, Leuchars, in 1891. In 1893 Lorimer opened an office at 49 Queen Street, Edinburgh, where he remained until 1913. Lorimer is renowned as being one of Scotland’s leading country house architects during the first two decades of the 20th century. He took a ‘traditionalist’ approach to architecture, drawing influence from the past whilst adhering to the Arts and Crafts ethos of simple facades built from local materials and rejecting the highly ornamental fashions of the mid-nineteenth century. Lorimer’s commissions included small domestic dwellings such as a series of cottages at Colinton (1897-1923); large country houses such as Rowallan, Ayrshire (c. 1901-6), Ardkinglas, Argyll (1906-12) and Formakin, Renfrewshire (1903-20); restorations and renovations such as Craigmyle, Torphins, Aberdeenshire (1901-10) and Pitkerro, Broughty Ferry, Dundee (1902-10); and remodelling of interiors such as those at Aberlour House, Moray (c.1893) and Marchmont House, Berwickshire (c.1913-17). His skill as an interior and furniture designer as well as an architect is also apparent in ecclesiastical commissions such as the Thistle Chapel, St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh (c.1911), a project which earned Lorimer a knighthood in 1911. By 1919, he had been appointed an official architect to the Imperial War Graves Commission, and in this capacity designed over 300 memorials to the dead from villages, towns and schools in Scotland and England as well as cemeteries in Greece, Macedonia, Italy and Egypt. The largest, and perhaps his best known of these commissions, was the Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle (c.1919-27), for which he received a second knighthood. Lorimer was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1920 and to the Royal Scottish Academy in 1921. From c.1913 the practice resided at 17 Great Stuart Street, Edinburgh. In 1927 Lorimer’s office manager (and first apprentice) John Fraser Matthew (1875-1955) was assumed into partnership and the practice was renamed Lorimer & Matthew. On Lorimer’s death (Edinburgh, 1929) John Matthew continued the practice alone until succeeded by his son, Stuart Russell Matthew (1912-1996) in 1946. John Matthew continued a number of projects started during Lorimer’s lifetime such as the King’s Buildings, University of Edinburgh (1926-34); and St Margaret’s Church, Knightswood, Glasgow (1929-34); as well as his own projects such as Granton Parish Church, Edinburgh (1934). Notable projects from later years of the firm include the Thistle Foundation, Robin Chapel, Craigmillar, Edinburgh (1945-50) and the Scottish National Institute for the War Blinded, Linburn, West Lothian (1946-51). The practice became Carr & Matthew in 1950 with Stuart Matthew’s creation of a partnership with David Carr (1905-1986) at 14 Lynedoch Place, Edinburgh. Carr continued concurrently his previous partnership with William Frederick Howard (b. 1906), formed following their winning entry for Kirkcaldy Town Hall (completed 1956), from the same address.

Accruals No further accruals are expected.


Collection Hierarchy - Collection Level

Collection Level (551 154) Records of Lorimer and Matthew, architects, Edinburgh, Scotland

Preview Category Catalogue Number Title Date Level
Prints and Drawings LOR G/8/1 Full size details of reredos. 8/1919 Item Level
Prints and Drawings LOR A/6/2 Plans, sections and elevations of additions including details of billiard room, verandah, dormer window, fireplace and cupboard in nursery. c. 12/1906 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR A/10/1 Alloa Parish Church. Elevation of West window. Designs and details for war memorials. c. 1919 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR A/12/1 Site and floor plans, sections and elevations of alterations, including details of drainage, doors and windows. 5/1957 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR E/100/14 Thistle Chapel. Preparatory sketches of bulls heads for the Bilsland Crest. c. 1950 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR E/100/15 Thistle Chapel. Preliminary sketches of bull's head for Bilsland Crest. c. 1950 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR E/100/18 Thistle Chapel. Sections and elevations of Bilsland Crest and details of horns. Plans showing alterations to seating. Details showing chapel door, stalls and stall plates. c. 1950 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR E/100/13 Thistle Chapel. Sketches of bulls including the Short-horned, Ayrshire and Hereford. Reference material for the Bilsland Crest. c. 1950 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR D/2/1 Plans, sections, elevation and details of proposed font. 15/9/1927 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR G/4/1 Site plans showing Bank Street improvements, drainage, basement, first floor and roof plans, elevations and sections showing alterations and additions. 5/1906 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR G/4/2 Ground, first and second floor plans showing alterations and additions including heating chamber. 3/1922 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR E/114/1 The Moray Aisle. Survey, plan and details of screen, minister's chair and kneeler. 11/1930 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR G/7/1 Floor plans, elevations and sections showing alterations and additions to house including details of stairs, porch and windows. 5/1910 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR E/116/1 Plans, sections and South elevation showing proposed alterations including details of corbel for carrying flowers, panel at choir vestry and organ case. c. 1/1927 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR G/7/2 Additions and alterations for R.W Purvis. Details including full size details of attic stairs, porch and joinery work. Heating plans. c. 1910 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR G/10/1 Elevations, sections, drainage plans and correspondence regarding drainage. 3/1909 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR G/11/1 Details of panelling at sides of reredos. c. 2/1919 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR G/15/5 Plans of wine cellar and library, details of fittings, drainage and water supply. 7/1920 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR E/116/2 Site plans, ground floor plans and elevations showing proposed alterations to vestries and miscellaneous drawings including internal elevations, sketches of screens, floor finishes and decorative details. c. 7/1929 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR G/4/3 Ground, upper and roof plans, elevations and sections showing lighting, alterations and additions. 12/1922 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR G/18/1 Gardeners Cottage. Plans, sections and elevations including minor alterations, details of doors, windows and room sections. 4/1920 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR G/13/5 Floor plan as existing. Ground floor plan, sections and elevations. c. 1907 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR E/100/16 Thistle Chapel. Preliminary sketches of bull's head for Bilsland Crest. c. 1950 Batch Level
Prints and Drawings LOR A/11/1 Plans, sections and elevations of hall as existing and of proposed alterations. 3/1925 Batch Level

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