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Sydney Mitchell and Wilson

551 320

Description Sydney Mitchell and Wilson

Collection Sydney Mitchell and Wilson

Catalogue Number 551 320

Category All Other

Scope and Content The Sydney Mitchell & Wilson Collection comprises almost 7,000 drawings and a small number of related papers, encompassing around 170 projects that span the main years of the practice’s history from the 1880s to the 1930s. Significant buildings featured in the Collection include Well Court, Edinburgh (1883-85) for The Scotsman owner J R Findlay; the Ben Nevis Observatory for the Scottish Meteorlogical Society (1883-89); and the Church of Scotland Offices, 117-121 George Street, Edinburgh (1908-51). The practice’s hospital work is a dominant feature of the Collection and includes papers for Montrose Asylum (1887-88); the Thomas Clouston Clinic, Craighouse, Edinburgh (1889-95); Crichton Royal Hospital, Dumfries (1889-1912); and the Valkenberg Asylum, Cape Town, South Africa (1892). Bank and country house commissions are well documented within the Collection. Drawings in the Sydney Mitchell & Wilson Collection are often presented on one sheet of paper as a large-scale section including structural details and room elevations on which furnishings and fittings are represented, showing the attention paid by the practice to the interior detail of their buildings.

Archive History The Sydney Mitchell & Wilson Collection (Accession Number 1995/60?) was deposited in RCAHMS following the Survey of Scottish Architectural Practices (SSAP) in 1995 by Mike Henderson, senior partner of Dick Peddie & McKay. The drawings had been stored as part of the Dick Peddie & McKay office archive from c.1936, when G Lindsay Auldjo Jamieson joined the practice. Jamieson had inherited the drawings through his father’s practice, Jamieson & Arnott, which had taken over the practice of Sydney Mitchell & Wilson in 1911. The archive was originally ordered by a ‘bin’ system in which drawings were stored in numbered ‘bins’ (size approximately 3 x 2 ft), which was likely created at 3 South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh, where the practice of Dick Peddie & McKay was based from 1860-1896. When the practice moved in 1896 the drawings were transferred to two attics at 8 Albyn Place and the ‘bin’ numbers were retained. The practice employed an archivist to manage the drawing store until the 1950s, but had become so muddled by c. 1977-78 that Richard Emerson of Historic Buildings and Monuments compiled a list for the Collection, following the existing bin numbering system, with the assistance of Steve Brewer. Rolled drawings were put into clear plastic tubes (‘bags’) and additional ‘bin’ numbers were created for loose items. Copies of both the old and new indexes are stored at RCAHMS. The Collection was catalogued and conserved as part of the Scottish Architects' Papers Preservation Project (SAPPP) between 1999 and 2004.

System of Arrangement All items for each building are grouped together into projects. Projects are then grouped by decade, with all projects numbered by the earliest decade in which they appeared.

Related Material The Dick Peddie & McKay Collection and the Dunn & Findlay Collection contain related papers.

Access Conditions Access is unrestricted, except where conservation concerns exist.

Administrative History Arthur George Sydney Mitchell (1856-1930) studied at the University of Edinburgh before serving a five year apprenticeship in the offices of Sir Robert Rowand Anderson (1834-1921). He set up his own practice in 1882, working initially from his home at 34 Drummond Place, Edinburgh and then from 122 George Street in 1883. In 1886, the practice moved to 13 Young Street, where it remained for the duration of the firm’s history. In 1883, Mitchell invited the more experienced architect George Wilson (1844-1912), to join the expanding practice. Wilson had served his apprenticeship with the firm of Leadbetter & Smith, Architects and Valuators of Edinburgh, before entering the office of David Bryce (1803-1976) in 1864. C. 1976 he found employment with Rowand Anderson, later becoming chief assistant within the practice. After four years of service in the office of Sydney Mitchell, Wilson became a partner in 1887 and the firm was renamed Sydney Mitchell & Wilson. The firm is probably best known for the range of hospital work they tackled, the designs for which offer an insight to the changes taking place in asylum design and the treatment of patients at the end of the 19th century. Sydney Mitchell & Wilson also undertook significant banking commissions, most notably for The Commercial Bank of Scotland, and carried out work on many prominent country houses. Wilson retired sometime around 1907, shortly after having been admitted FRIBA (Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects), and Mitchell retired in 1911. The practice then continued under the auspices of Ernest Arthur Auldjo Jamieson (c. 1880-1937) and James Alexander Arnott (1871-1950). Jamieson was educated at Glenalmond College, Perthshire, and Cambridge University, graduating in 1903. He then appears to have served his apprenticeship in Edinburgh before opening his own architectural practice at 1 Melville Street c. 1909. Arnott was articled first to John Russell Walker (d. 1891) in 1886 and then to Kinnear & Peddie in 1888. In 1898 he was recruited by Dunn & Findlay to assist with the design of The Scotsman premises on North Bridge, Edinburgh and in 1904 he moved to the office of Hippolyte Jean Blanc (1844-1917). In 1907 he published a folio with John Wilson (1877-1959) on the Petit Trianon at Versailles that was to become a key source for architects working in the Louis XV style. Arnott commenced independent practice at 21 York Place in 1908 with a former colleague at Dunn & Findlay’s, James Inch Morrison (d. 1944). This fledgling partnership was cut short when Jamieson bought Sydney Mitchell & Wilson c. 1910 and invited Arnott to join him in partnership. Jamieson & Arnott continued the practice tradition of working on hospital project such as alterations to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh (1920-26). Ill-health forced Jamieson to retire in 1936 and the firm then dwindled; Jamieson’s son George Lindsay Auldjo Jamieson (1904-c. 1960) joined W J Walker Todd (1884-1944) and David Chisholm (1885-1949) at Dick Peddie & Walker. Arnott continued to practice alone for a few years, before re-establishing a partnership with James Inch Morrison as Arnott & Inch Morrison in 1940. Their assistant J D (Ian) Carnegie continued the practice after their deaths.

Accruals No further accruals are expected.

Accession Number 1995/60

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/collection/1176619

Collection Hierarchy - Collection Level

Collection Level (551 320) Sydney Mitchell and Wilson

Preview Category Catalogue Number Title Date Level
All Other 551 320/4 Aberlour House Sub-Group Level
All Other 551 320/5 Crichton Royal Hospital Sub-Group Level
All Other 551 320/6 Royal Edinburgh Hospital Sub-Group Level
All Other 551 320/7 Catrine House Sub-Group Level
All Other 551 320/8 Hairmyres Hospital Sub-Group Level
All Other 551 320/9 Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh Sub-Group Level
All Other 551 320/10 Rainy Hall, Edinburgh Sub-Group Level
All Other 551 320/11 Royal Bank of Scotland, Comrie Sub-Group Level
All Other SMW 320/1 Plans and sections showing additions. 1902 Batch Level
All Other SMW 1890/28/1 Site plan. Plans, sections and elevations of female hospital and extension of dining and recreation halls including details of foundations, roofs and connecting corridors. 1895 Batch Level
All Other SMW 1890/36/1 Craiglockhart Poorhouse. Plans, sections and elevations showing alterations. 1896 Batch Level
All Other SMW 1880/28/1 Plans, sections and elevations showing alternative schemes including details of roof, gallery, seating, foundations, structure and tower. 1888 Batch Level
All Other SMW 1880/7/1 Alterations for W.F Lindsay Carnegie. Plans, sections and elevation showing details of windows, panelling, porch, stairs, doors, ceilings, plasterwork, cornices and joinery. c. 1888 Batch Level
All Other SMW 1880/53/2 Plans and sections showing additions. 1902 Batch Level
All Other SMW 1890/43/1 Part plans, sections and elevations of Dairy including details of fireplace, position of new gate and railings, corbels and masonry. 1892 Batch Level
All Other 551 320/3 Cockenzie United Free Church. Sketch plans, sections and elevations showing alternative schemes including details of seating, tower and retiring room. c. 1902 Batch Level
All Other 551 320/1 Leithen Lodge drawings Acc no 1999/225 1887 Batch Level
All Other 551 320/2 Cockenzie United Free Church. Sketch plans, sections and elevations showing alternative schemes including details of seating, tower and retiring room. c. 1902 Batch Level
All Other SMW 1880/28/1/3 1888 Item Level
All Other SMW 1880/28/1/1 1888 Item Level
All Other SMW 1900/1/6/1 First floor plan 6/1929 Item Level
All Other SMW 1900/1/6/2 Second floor plan 6/1929 Item Level
All Other SMW 1900/1/6/3 Third floor plan 6/1929 Item Level
All Other SMW 1900/1/6/4 Attic floor plan 6/1929 Item Level

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