Wilfrid Fitzalan Crombie

Architect; JHKM employee

Wilfrid Fitzalan Crombie (1882–1952), born in Dumfries, was the son of architect Alan Burgess Crombie and his Dutch-born second wife, Elizabeth McIl(w)raith. His grandfather, uncle and two brothers were also architects, practising mostly in south-west Scotland. 1 Crombie was apprenticed to his father from 1896 to 1898. During this time he attended classes at Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College for eight months. In July 1899 he entered the office of John Honeyman & Keppie, remaining there until the end of 1902. He enrolled at the Glasgow School of Art from 1900–1. 2

In 1903, Crombie left Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh to become his father's assistant in Dumfries. Using his family's connections with Amsterdam (his grandfather had been a clergyman here, 1854–71) he spent two months in1903 on a drawing tour of the Low Countries. The following year, Alan B. Crombie died, and Wilfrid took over the practice. 3

Among Crombie's projects in Dumfries were Dockhead Aerated-Water Works (1903–5), Dumfries Academy Lodge (signed 'Crombie & Mackenzie', the latter being James C. Mackenzie), and a proposed new school in Kirkconnel (1912). 4 In 1907–8, he joined the Glasgow Institute of Architects as an Associate, and in 1912 was admitted LRIBA. He was also a Territorial Force (part-time) military officer, from before 1912. 5 He used his construction experience during the First World War to act as a valuer for the War Department.

After the war, Crombie resumed practice in Dumfries, where he designed George Street Fire Station (1925), and tendered for the Sanquhar Drainage Extension Scheme (1930). He was appointed as a council representative of the RIAS. in 1938. Crombie died in Dumfries on 8 October 1952. 6


1: Census information, www.ancestry.co.uk; GGD109/2672, 'Letter from Sir John Richardson to his sister', 26 December 1855, 'Crombie Collection', Dumfries Archive Centre, online catalogue, http://archives.dumgal.gov.uk; 'Crombie, James, Alexander, Alan, Alan Burgess, Stewart P.', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [all accessed 13 March 2014].

2: 'Wilfrid Fitzalan Crombie', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk; Census information, www.ancestry.co.uk [both accessed 11 March 2014]; Student Registers, consulted by Archives Assistant, personal communication, Glasgow School of Art, 12 March 2014.

3: 'Wilfrid Fitzalan Crombie', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 13 March 2014]; H. W. Scott, ed., Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1920, 3, p. 195.

4: 'Plans, Dumfries Academy Lodge, 8 June 1907', MP135/5, and 'Site Plan for Proposed New School at Kirkconnel, 9 November 1912', CB848/6/6/15, Dumfries Archives Centre, online catalogue, http://archives.dumgal.gov.uk [accessed 13 March 2014]; 'Dumfries, Dockhead, Aerated Water Works', Canmore I.D. 68560, Site No. NX97NE 110, Canmore Catalogue, www.rcahms.gov.uk [accessed 13 March 2014].

5: Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1908–9, p. 1712; Scotsman, 20 July 1915, p. 9; 'Wilfrid Fitzalan Crombie', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 13 March 2014].

6: Southern Reporter, 14 May 1925, p. 6; 'Sanquhar Drainage Extension Specification, October 1930', CB848/5/4/35, Dumfries Archives Centre, online catalogue, http://archives.dumgal.gov.uk; England & Wales, National Probate Calendar, 1858–1966, www.ancestry.co.uk [both accessed 13 March 2014]; Dundee Courier, 4 June 1938, p. 7.