Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John W. Simpson

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Sir John William Simpson

1858 Born in Sussex, son of Thomas Simpson, architect, and his wife, Clara (née Hart), great-grandson of Robert Simpson. He was the brother of Gilbert Murray Simpson, architect

1875 Articled to his father

1879 Attended the Royal Academy Schools.

1881 John W. Simpson 22, architect, lived in Edmonton with his wife Adela C. Simpson 20 Clara Simpson 1, and servant Annie E. Simpson 18[1]

1881-4 Simpson was in partnership with M. P. Manning

1889 Divorced[2]

1890 Architect of 10 New Inn, Strand, London[3]

Later was in partnership with E. J. M. Manning and O. M. Ayrton.

He specialized in the design of public buildings, and planned (in collaboration): the Grafton Street Hospital, Liverpool; the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic, Queen Square, London; the Glasgow Art Galleries for the corporation of Glasgow; and the Victoria Institute, Worcester (1896).

He was solely responsible for the offices of the crown agents for the colonies at Millbank and for schools as diverse in character as Roedean, (1898–9, 1906, 1908, 1911), Gresham's School, Holt, and West Downs School, Winchester, and for new buildings at Lancing College and Haileybury College.

He also undertook the design of several memorials, including: the Queen Victoria memorial at Bradford; the Royal Sussex regiment memorial at Brighton; the Onslow Ford memorial in St John's Wood; and the Cartwright Memorial Hall at Bradford.

He was associated with a number of overseas schools of architecture.

1919-21 President of the Royal Institute of British Architects

In collaboration with his partner, Maxwell Ayrton, he was responsible for the general layout of the 1924 British Empire Exhibition, Wembley Stadium, and the palaces of industry and engineering.

1924 Knighted

1927 Dissolution of the Partnership between Sir John William Simpson, K.B.E., F.R.I.B.A., and Ormrod Maxwell Ayrton, F.R.I.B.A., heretofore practising at 3, Verulam-huildings, Gray's Inn, in the county of London. Sir John William Simpson will continue to practise at 3, Verulam-buildings, Gray's Inn. The said Ormrod Maxwell Ayrton removed his practise to 7, Grosvenor-street, New Bond street,London, W. 1.[4]

Published several books and many professional papers on subjects such as the planning of cities and open spaces.

1927 Arrived in Liverpool from Valparaiso, Chile[5]

1928 Left London for Marseilles[6]

1932 Arrived in Southampton from Durban[7]

1933 Died in Highgate[8]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1881 census
  2. Civil Divorce Records
  3. Street Directory
  4. London Gazette 17 May 1927
  5. Incoming Passengers
  6. Outward Passengers
  7. Incoming Passengers
  8. London Gazette 23 June 1933
  • Biography of Sir John William Simpson, ODNB