Name: John Dick PEDDIE
Given Name: John Dick
Birth: 24 FEB 1824 in Edinburgh
John Dick Peddie
Change Date: 28 JUN 2006 at 10:18:04
Born: 24 February 1824
Died: 12 March 1891
Bio Notes from the Dictionary of Scottish Architects
John Dick Peddie and his twin brother William were born in Edinburgh on 24 February 1824, the second and third sons of James Peddie WS and his wife Margaret Dick. Both the Peddies and the Dicks were prominent families within the United Associate Synod which became the United Presbyterian Church in 1848, Peddie's grandfather the Rev Dr James Peddie of Bristo Church, Edinburgh having been Moderator of the Burgher Synod from 1789. He presided over the split between the Rev Dr John Brown's 'Old Light' Burghers and his own 'New Light' Burghers in 1799. The Rev Dr James Peddie married twice, his first marriage being to Margaret Coventry, which brought a link by marriage with the civil and railway engineers Benjamin Hall Blyth and Edward Lawrence Blyth which was to be important later. His second marriage to Barbara Smith, daughter of Lord Provost Donald Smith of the private bank Donald Smith & Company, brought a significant range of business connections.
Like his twin brother William, John Dick Peddie was originally intended for a legal career, their eldest brother James having become a civil engineer. John and William attended Edinburgh University from 1839 but in 1842 their careers diverged when John was allowed to become an architect and was articled to David Rhind. While there he entered the competition for the National Bank buildings in Queen Street, Glasgow, in 1844 and, although he probably did not know it at the time, his design reached the final selection, that ultimately chosen being by Charles Barry's assistant John Gibson. In 1845 he established his own independent practice at his father's house at 36 Albany Street and was successful at once, deservedly winning the competition for the Synod Hall (although the influence of his father and his uncle by marriage Professor the Rev Dr James Harper must have helped) and that for the proposed Gilmorehill Cemetery in Glasgow which was not built.
In 1848 Peddie moved his practice to 1 George Street, the office of his uncle, Donald Smith Peddie, a chartered accountant, and from there he won the first of several poorhouse competitions, that for South Leith, and was involved in the design of the Caledonian Station through his Blyth cousins, then senior assistants with Grainger & Miller, probably following the railway's dispute with Sir William Tite over non-payment of fees.
In 1849 the Peddie family bought Lauriston Park, commencing Peddie's long-running involvement with Chalmers Street and Chalmers Hospital, and in the same year he made a feuing plan for Laverock Bank, where his grandmother and his uncle Donald Smith Peddie had their house, an area he was to develop speculatively for villas. He then seems to have taken a short career break, leaving an assistant, David Jamieson, in charge of the office: in the autumn of 1850, or just possibly rather earlier, c.1844-45, he made an extensive continental tour which embraced Constantinople, Prague, Munich and Regensburg. His visits there were mentioned in his lecture 'On the Architectural Features of Edinburgh' given on 12 February 1851 to the Architectural Institute of Scotland of which he had been one of the founder members in 1850. This tour brought about a lifelong interest in contemporary German architecture and theology which was to lead to his sons being educated at Elberfeld.
On 21 July 1851 Peddie married Euphemia Lockhart More, the daughter of James Stephen More and a descendant of the Rev George More of South Shields, co-founder with the Rev Dr James Peddie of the Friendly Society of Dissenting Ministers, a pension fund which helped finance some of Peddie's early property investments. They set up house and office at 10 Nelson Street, which was rented. Through his father-in-law Peddie secured the business of the Royal Bank of Scotland which established a branch network between 1854 and 1857, nearly all of the buildings being designed by Peddie. All were built in a stylish eye-catching palazzo form, and monogrammed, bringing the practice a nationwide reputation. It became UK-wide when he added a new telling room to the head office in 1857, a project reported and illustrated in 'The Builder' on 21 May 1859.
Concurrently with these developments at the Royal Bank Peddie and his civil engineer brother James promoted the Edinburgh High Street and Railway Access Company's proposals for the formation of Cockburn Street, first mooted in 1851, and made more feasible by the Limited Liability Act of 1855. For this the Improvement Act of 1827 had set the precedent of 'Old Scots or Flemish' for Old Town developments. That and over-commitment on Royal Bank business induced him to take a partner skilled in 'Old Scots' who also had some capital to inject into the rapidly expanding practice.
Peddie's choice fell on Charles George Hood Kinnear, born at Kinloch, Fife on 30 May 1830, the second son of Charles Kinnear of Kinnear and Kinloch and a member of the banking family Thomas Kinnear & Company. His mother was Christian Jane Greenshields, only child of the wealthy Edinburgh advocate John Boyd Greenshields who had married Jane Boyd, heiress to the small Dunbartonshire estate of Drum and adopted her name as an additional surname. Charles Kinnear was educated privately with his elder brother, the London advocate, politician and radical journalist John Boyd Kinnear whom he followed to Edinburgh University prior to being articled to David Bryce, than of Burn & Bryce in 1849; his home address was then his Greenshields grandmother's house at 125 Princes Street. Peddie appears to have recruited him on a part-time basis late in 1853 or early in 1854 when his handwriting appears on the detail sheets for the Sir Michael Street Church in Greenock, but by that date he was already undertaking study tours, sketches still in the possession of the family showing that he was in Palermo on 9 March 1853 and Pisa on 13 December 1854. Shortly after returning home from the second tour he set up his own household at 17 Alva Street and commenced an independent practice which seems to have consisted only of improvements on the Kinnear and Kinloch estates. After less than two years as Peddie's assistant he was made a partner, apparently on 1 January 1856 although his RIBA nomination form gives 1855, probably the date of the partnership agreement. Thereafter Kinnear appears to have taken charge of the drawing office, Burn & Bryce drawing office methods being consistently adopted with nearly all the drawings signed in Kinnear's handwriting.
By the time the partnership had been formed, Kinnear had become deeply interested in photography, perhaps through his former master David Bryce, who was also a pioneer photographer. Together with the architect David MacGibbon and Sir David Brewster, Bryce and Kinnear co-founded the Photographic Society of Scotland in 1856, Brewster being president and Kinnear secretary. In the same year Kinnear made a photographic study tour which embraced Milan; and in the following year, 1857, he invented the first bellows camera, which was made for him by a Mr Bell of Potterrow. He took it on a study tour of northern France, followed by another in Germany.
Kinnear was able to make these study tours through inheritance. When he came of age in 1852 he fell heir to a large number of Edinburgh properties from his Greenshields grandfather, and on the death of his grandmother in 1856 he also came into full possession of 125 Princes Street and the estate of Drum. One of these houses, 12 Howe Street, provided the larger premises the partnership required. Family connections were reinforced by volunteer connections from 1859 onwards when he joined the First Midlothian County (Midlothian Coast) Artillery Volunteer Brigade. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in July 1860 and quickly rose to become captain of the Portobello battery, then second major, and as senior major one of the three officers who financed the building of the regimental headquarters in Grindlay Street in 1866.
From the very beginning the partnership was hugely successful as commissions for major public buildings and churches flowed in: Dublin Street Baptist Church in Edinburgh in 1856; the Scottish Provident Institute in Edinburgh, where Donald Smith Peddie was on the board, in 1858; Morrison's Academy in Crieff in 1859; and Morgan's Hospital in Dundee in 1860. They also had considerable success in competitions, winning that for Sydney Place UP Church in Glasgow in 1857 and coming second for the Wallace Monument and St Mary's Free Church, Edinburgh in 1858, the design for the latter being realised at Pilrig Free Church in the same city in 1860. In the following year, 1861, they won that for Aberdeen Sheriff Court, which grew into the much larger municipal buildings project in the following year. The single major disappointment was the reconstruction and enlargement of the Bank of Scotland Head Office in Edinburgh, commissioned by the Treasurer Alexander Blair in the autumn of 1859 but retrieved by David Bryce from his successors after Kinnear was instructed to seek his opinion on their designs. Peddie & Kinnear were, however, given all of the bank's provincial branch business, and after initially building some relatively simple Italianate structures, Kinnear followed David MacGibbon's lead in adopting a Scots vernacular idiom as the bank's house style for new construction. This greatly increased volume of business required a larger office, 3 South Charlotte Street being bought for the purpose in 1866. It also led to a marked increase in Peddie's social standing, expressed first in a large terrace house at 21 Claremont Crescent, built in 1860 and then in a much grander one at 33 Buckingham Terrace, built along with number 34 in 1866. Not long thereafter he also rented from the Countess of Seafield the estate of Muckrach in Inverness-shire, primarily for the fishing. Election as ARSA followed in 1868, and full academician and treasurer only two years later. The Academy was to become a showcase for his ambitious proposals for Princes Street, an interest which seems to have stemmed from his North British Station and Waverley Market competition designs of 1866 and the unbuilt Caledonian Hotel scheme of 1868, the biggest disappointment of Peddie's career.
To keep their office continuously employed, Peddie & Kinnear began building speculatively in Edinburgh from the mid-1860s, taking over the Grosvenor Crescent section of Robert Matheson's West Coates development and extending it into Palmerston Place. This sold well and with a relative dearth of commissions for public buildings, now increasingly determined by open competition, the partners set about creating new business through property, hydropathic and hotel companies in which they and a select circle of business associates were the major shareholders, a tactic made less hazardous by the Limited Liability Act of 1855 and the Companies Act of 1862. The first of these were the Heritable Securities Association and the Scottish Lands and Buildings Company, founded in 1862 and 1864 respectively, followed by the Craiglockhart Estates Company in 1873 and a number of smaller companies. Nearly all of these were managed by the Edinburgh chartered accountant Alexander Thomas Niven. Their authorised capital was not fully paid up, the balance being met by advertising for funds on deposit at interest rates of 3 to 4 %. Initially these companies were primarily concerned with housing developments, but when the Caledonian Railway moved the site of its proposed Central Station to the eastern side of Hope Street, the Blythswoodholm Building Company, backed by the Scottish Lands and Buildings Company, took over the original site on the west side for a major hotel and shopping arcade development. In this project Peddie realised some of the ideas in the unbuilt schemes for St Enoch Station in Glasgow and the North British and Caledonian Hotels in Edinburgh, but with Alexander Thomson-based elevations. By 1877 the Scottish Lands and Buildings Company had become overstretched as costs escalated and disposed of its interest to the Scottish Heritable Securities Company. Further capital was raised but in 1878 the City of Glasgow Bank crashed. This provoked a prolonged recession and in 1879 the Caledonian Railway decided to convert its offices into an hotel, bringing about the liquidation of the Blythswood Building Company and of the Scottish Heritable Securities Company in 1882 when a £70,000 bond was called in. Kinnear's Scottish Lands and Buildings Company also went into liquidation, but it was a voluntary one and it somehow managed to remain solvent. Peddie & Kinnear's other property companies fared no better as a result of the recession and the withdrawal of loan capital: calls for capital from companies which no longer had a value were to plague both partners to the end of their lives.
The partners similarly incurred heavy losses in their two large hydropathic developments: Dunblane, where the company was formed in 1874, and Craiglockhart, a by-product of the Craiglockhart Estates Company, formed in 1877. At Callander, where they acted as consultants to the Stirling architect and civil engineer Francis Mackison in 1878-80, they were careful to avoid subscribing any capital. All three hydropathics failed in 1884 and were sold to hoteliers: the only one to survive was Shandon where the capital cost had been kept low by buying the existing mansion by John Thomas Rochead for a fraction of its original cost.
In 1878 the Peddie & Kinnear practice briefly became Peddie, Kinnear & Peddie with the return to the office of John More Dick Peddie. Born in Edinburgh on 21 August 1853 and educated at the Edinburgh Academy from 1864 to 1868 followed by two years at the Real Schule Elberfeld, he entered the science faculty at Edinburgh University in 1870 while on a short articled apprenticeship with his father. He then obtained a place in the office of George Gilbert Scott, returning to the office in 1875 as an assistant after a grand tour which took him as far south as Sicily. After his return the practice's church work took on an English Gothic rather than the continental Romanesque which had characterised his father's. When John More Dick Peddie became a partner the practice was also joined by Peddie's fifth son Walter Lockhart Dick Peddie, born in Edinburgh on 7 November 1865 and educated at Fettes College. He may have been less academically minded than Peddie's other sons: he did not go to Elberfeld and of all Peddie's sons he was the only one not to go to university, signing drawings at the early age of fourteen.
In 1879 Peddie withdrew from the practice at the age of fifty-five. He did not become a retired Academician, thereby blocking the election of both Kinnear and his son, and retained his membership by exhibiting old projects. Although it has been stated that he retired to enter politics, it was at least as much to repair the family fortunes and provide for his unmarried sisters and daughters by becoming a fund manager. His sisters were a particular problem to him as his unmarried brother James had never had a particularly successful business and his father had somehow lost his money, probably through acting as a 'cautioner'. He had had to sell the house his son built for him in Lansdowne Crescent in 1867 and become his son's tenant and pensioner in Chalmers Street. Preparations for Peddie's change of career appear to have been made for more than a decade as he had been building up directorships since at least the mid-1860s, and in May 1875 he bought Veitch's Hotel at 122 George Street, Edinburgh in partnership with the solicitor William John Menzies, converting it into shops and offices to provide a steady income stream from rents. To achieve this they borrowed £12,000 from the Earl of Moray and £5,000 from the vendors, but after a very few years these bonds became a problem and after some re-mortgaging Peddie bought out Menzies's interest in 1884. Although several architectural practices took chambers in this building it is doubtful if it ever produced much of a net income after servicing the bonds.
Peddie secured the Liberal nomination for Kilmarnock burghs in 1878 and won the seat on the Disestablishment issue on 8 April 1880 despite the splitting of the vote by an unofficial pro-Establishment Liberal candidate. At Westminster he represented the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings' interests as well as the Disestablishment interest. On the first day of each parliamentary session he gave notice of his intention to introduce a resolution to implement disestablishment. Although initially unsuccessful he hired halls in every sizeable town in Scotland to whip up interest and on 23 June 1884 he eventually won a place in the ballot and exchanged his resolution for a private members' bill introduced on 24 October 1884.
The bill never came to a vote. Peddie's business interests had taken him on a voyage round the world. It must have been a welcome absence. The reputation and financial circumstances of the entire Peddie family had been compromised by Peddie's chartered accountant uncle Donald Smith Peddie and making money had become even more important than it had been. As a result of the divorce action by one of his clients his uncle had fled to the USA in November 1882 and was found to have liabilities of £75,000 and realisable assets of £4,565, chiefly represented by the house Peddie had built for him in Trinity. Peddie's £800 bond on that property was amongst those 'left out of view' and the Peddie family had to subscribe heavily towards the £25,940 missing from the accounts of the Friendly Society of Dissenting Ministers which he had been raiding since at least 1845.
Peddie's interest in overseas investment dated back to at least 1873. Together with Sir George Warrender, Edward Blyth, Thomas Nelson and others he was a founder of the Scottish American Trust of which James A Roosevelt was one of the American directors. Peddie's remit was to advise on property investment and Blyth's on railroads, and following the Trust's decision not to hold property directly, the Peddies formed the Scottish American Land Company in 1880, Peddie's third son William, born 27 March 1859, being sent out to Emmetsburg in 1883 to assist Alexander Peddie, who was an uncle already resident in Iowa. Peddie's other American interests included the United States Mortgage Company of Scotland and after he became an MP he bought a large shareholding in James L Lombard's American and General Mortgage and Investment Corporation Ltd, of which he became a director. Along with other members of the family he subscribed to the formation of the Scottish and New Zealand Company in 1877 and to the Colonial and Investment Company of New Zealand: he was a director of both of these and for a time chairman of one of them.
Peddie and his wife set off for Australia and New Zealand in the autumn of 1885 to inspect these operations, but a crisis of confidence amongst the American and Canadian shareholders led him to cut short his visit to Australasia and sail for the United States. Somewhere on the voyage Euphemia died and her body was brought home for burial in Dean Cemetery on 31 December. Early in the New Year he returned to Australia, in March he met Lombard to look at the operations in Kansas, and in April he returned home to report to his several boards.
Peddie's parliamentary seat was lost in his absence because of the split Liberal vote in November 1885. The Conservatives won by 293 votes and despite a request from Gladstone to stand again in July 1886 he declined: in his son Coventry's words, he had 'not the wherewithal' as a result of heavy borrowing to finance his New Worlds investments. The zenith of his business career came in July 1887 when he became first chairman of the hugely successful Scottish Investment Trust formed by his solicitor brother's firm Peddie & Ivory. But two years later he took one final gamble by investing in Pollok Patents and two related companies, the Grass Valley Gold Company in the USA and the Australian Gold Extracting Company, all three of which were linked to Peddie & Ivory's Scottish Investment Trust and Second Scottish Investment Trust. These briefly brought him a very large income in director's fees but the processes on which these companies were based proved uneconomic. He did not live to see their collapse in 1892-94 as he had become seriously ill in 1890 and had to resign all his directorships. An operation was carried out early in 1891 but he died on 12 March, leaving moveable assets of £26,432 2s 10d, liabilities of £10,002 13s 0d, his houses in Buckingham Terrace and Chalmers Street and the heavily mortgaged office building at 122 George Street. His net moveable estate was calculated at £16,429 9s 10d but because of bonds the net worth of his property interests is difficult to guess.
(See separate entry on Kinnear & Peddie for the continued history of the practice after Peddie's withdrawal.)
Private and Business Addresses
The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
Address Type Date from Date to Notes
36, Albany Street, Edinburgh, Scotland Business 1845 1848
1, George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland Business 1848 1856(?)
12, Howe Street, Edinburgh, Scotland Business 1856 1866
21, Claremont Crescent, Edinburgh, Scotland Private 1860
33, Buckingham Terrace, Edinburgh, Scotland Private 1866
3, South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh, Scotland Business 1866 1879
Employment and Training
The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
Name Date from Date to Position Notes
Peddie & Kinnear 1 January 1856 1878 Partner
Peddie, Kinnear & Peddie 1878 1879 Partner
David Rhind 1842 1845 Apprentice
In 1881 John was visiting London, staying at Pall Mall.
Jno.D. PEDDIE Household
Birth Year <1824>
Birthplace Edinburgh, Scotland
Marital Status M <Married>
Head of Household Jno. BENNETT
Dwelling 12 Pall Mall
Census Place London, Middlesex, England
Family History Library Film 1341029
Public Records Office Reference RG11
Piece / Folio 0128 / 27
Page Number 4
Household: Name Relation Marital Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation Disability
Jno. BENNETT Head M Male 74 Soberton, Hampshire, England Lodging House Keeper
Jane BENNETT Wife M Female 54 Bridgetown, Devon, England
(DEAN OF DURHAM) Lodger U Male 64 St Georges Hanover Sq, Middlesex, England Clergyman
Jno.D. PEDDIE Lodger M Male 57 Edinburgh, Scotland Architect
Alf. ILLINGWORTH Lodger M Male 54 Bradford, York, England Worsted Spinner
(Lord) CARNEGIE Other U Male 26 Scotland Retired Capt In Army
Father: James PEDDIE c: 14 MAY 1798 in Saint Cuthberts,Edinburgh,Midlothian,Scotland
Mother: Margaret DICK
Euphemia Lockhart MORE
21 JUL 1851
- John More Dick PEDDIE c: 9 OCT 1853 in Bristo Associate Congregation,Edinburgh
- Catherine Helen Lockhart PEDDIE b: 30 JAN 1856 in Edinburgh,Scotland
- James PEDDIE b: 25 AUG 1857 in Edinburgh,Scotland
- William DICK-PEDDIE b: 27 MAR 1859 in Edinburgh,Scotland
- Eliza More PEDDIE b: 17 APR 1862 in Edinburgh,Scotland
- Coventry Dick PEDDIE b: 2 DEC 1863 in Edinburgh,Scotland
- Walter Peddie More PEDDIE b: 7 NOV 1865 in Edinburgh,Scotland
- Alexander Louis PEDDIE b: 10 SEP 1869 in Edinburgh,Scotland