The following biographies for Arthur John Fryers & Larmont Douglas Penman has been extracted in full from the Dictionary of Scottish Architects: php?id=201162


Arthur John Fryers was born in 1867, the son and second child of John Fryers, draper, and his wife Isabella Greaves. He was articled to William Forsyth McGibbon, attending classes at Glasgow School of Art where he won bronze medals in Measured Drawing; Building Construction; Graphic Statics; and Quantity Surveying. He commenced independent practice in Largs in 1894 and was a somewhat coarse designer. In his later years he lived in considerable style at Warren Park, Largs, a large Old English house built in 1891 for O E Philips when Fryers was twenty-four. He exhibited this house as his own work at the RGI in 1893 but it is probable that McGibbon had a hand in it as Fryers did not commence independent practice until the following year.

In 1898 he went into partnership with his brother-in-law Larmont Douglas Penman. Penman was born on 9 September 1868 at 10 Robertson Street, Glasgow, the son of, John Sandilands Penman, wine and spirit merchant, hotel keeper, restaurateur and cab proprietor and his wife Mary Struthers (maiden name Steven). He had been articled to Thomas Lennox Watson from June 1884 until 1889, remaining as assistant for a year after completing his apprenticeship and studying at Glasgow School of Art. In 1890 he had moved to Edinburgh as an assistant to George Washington Browne, attending classes at Heriot-Watt College, but late in the same year he had transferred to the office of Charles Davidson of Paisley. In 1892 he had moved briefly to Robert Thomson’s office in Glasgow before finding a place in that of Hippolyte Jean Blanc in Edinburgh, and the following year he had moved again to that of Joseph Hall Morton in South Shields. On 26 March 1894 at the Clark Town Hall, Paisley he had married Amy Fryers, sister of Arthur John.

After the formation of the partnership of Fryers & Penman, the quality of design in the Fryers practice notably improved. The practice began with suburban villas mainly for the Glasgow builder George Hamilton, but by 1905 had secured the patronage of the Coats family. At that date the practice was capable of work of the extremely high quality required by its clientele. Between April and June 1910 Fryers married Edith Amelia Bedington in Melton Mowbray Leicestershire.

In 1911 -12 Fryers & Penman’s Paisley connections with the Coats and Clark families brought the commission for what was probably the largest commercial office building in the UK, St James’ Building on Oxford Street, Manchester for the Calico Printers’ Association, seven storeys and attics high and twenty-seven bays long to the street and containing 1,000 rooms. For this project they entered into a short-term partnership or association with the long-established Manchester practice of Charles Clegg & Son as Clegg, Fryers & Penman. The elder Clegg (b.1828) was then 83 years old and it seems likely that the effective partner was his son Charles Theodore Clegg (b.1861). The project was completed in 1913, the Cleggs then reverting to the practice title Charles Clegg & Son.

In 1912 Fryers & Penman had an office at 22 Bath Street in Largs; by 1914 the practice had moved to Clydeview in the same town.

Penman died in 1931, but Fryers lived on at Warren Park until 9 August 1954.


 In addition to many others across the UK, Fryers and Penman were involved with the following houses/buildings in Largs and Skelmorlie.

Date Building name Town, district or village City or county Country Notes
1893 Lodge, Warren Park Largs Ayrshire Scotland  
1904 Knock Castle Largs Ayrshire Scotland West lodge built and house enlarged.
1906 West Park House Skelmorlie Ayrshire Scotland Additions
1908 Knock Castle Largs Ayrshire Scotland Enlarged house. Added billiard room.
1910 Masonic Lodge Largs Ayrshire Scotland  
1910 St. Fillans Largs Ayrshire Scotland Large additions with tower.
1924 Nodesdale House Near Largs Ayrshire Scotland  Major reconstruction and enlargement.
1935 Dunn Memorial Hall Largs Ayrshire Scotland Re-worked in Tudor style
1938 Amusement Pavilion Largs Ayrshire Scotland Alterations


Source: Dictionary of Scottish Architects – Fryers & Penman