Niven and Wigglesworth

I hadn’t come across the firm of Niven and Wigglesworth until I saw their inscription on the Passmore Edwards Sailors Palace at the top end of the West India Dock Road (they also worked on a baroque palace for the Scandinavian Sailors Temperance Home).   I now realise, as Martin Hopkinson has suggested, that they are extremely interesting arts-and-crafts architects.   Like so many of their generation, they were Scots, coming south to find work.   David Niven came from Dundee, was trained at the Royal Academy Schools and worked in the office of Aston Webb.   Herbert Hardy Wigglesworth was born in Belfast before moving to Dundee and, like Niven, was trained in the Royal Academy Schools, while working in the office of Ermest George and Harold Peto.   They presumably joined forces at the RA and became brothers-in-law when Niven married Wigglesworth’s sister, Sarah.   Niven lived in Farnham, Surrey and together they designed a number of timber framed, tudorbethan houses in places like Walton-on-Thames and Byfleet.   After the war, they designed the Hyde Estate in Enfield as Homes for Heroes.   An interesting pair:-

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4 thoughts on “Niven and Wigglesworth

  1. Martin Hopkinson says:

    There is quite a bit about both of them in the Dictionary of Scottish Architects [Niven married Wigglesworth’s sister] . They exhibited in the 1908 Vienna International Baukunst exhibition. Wigglesworth used Axel Haig’s designs for the Swedish Church in Marylebone and designed the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, and at the end of his career, Hambro’s Bank. He also converted 27 Portland Place for the Swedish Legation. One of their buildings is close to the RA – 2 Savile Row . Pevsner admired their Westminster Bank in Vauxhall Bridge Road. He also liked their Treasure House in Ely Place, which you must have seen recently, Charles.
    Also a partner in the practice for a while was the fine architectural draughtsman , Harold Falkner . There is a 2003 book by Sam Osmond in him [National Art Library]

  2. Jane de Sausmarez says:

    As an elderly man, Harold Falkner became more and more eccentric. He was famous locally for the houses that he designed, which were known as Falkner’s Follies. Some of them contained curving corridors that also undulated and doors that led to a twenty foot drop!
    He could be seen every week at the Farnham Repertory Theatre, in Castle Street, sitting at the end of the front row stalls, with his foot up on the stage!
    I was at Farnham Art School at the time, so witnessed some of this.

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