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John Austin Dempster was born on 14 Aug 1892. He studied at The Glasgow School of Art from 1910 to 1914, taking evening classes in Drawing and Painting, then Architecture. He served a five-year apprenticeship with Hamilton Neil. During the First World War, Dempster served as a Private in the King's Own Scottish Borderers. After the war, he moved to Lancaster to work as chief assistant for the landscape architect Thomas Hayton Mawson. He was admitted ARIBA in late 1920 or early 1921. He formed the partnership of Dempster and Boddy in 1922, commencing practice as a principal at St. Catherine Street, Westminister. They secured the commission for Topsham Town Hall in Devon and designed several large houses, as well as office blocks in England and Scotland, which are unidentified at this time. Around 1928, Dempster was appointed senior architect to the Miners' Welfare Committee, a position he held until c.1938. On 20 July 1936, he was elected FRIBA. He died in 1956. John Austin Dempster is commemorated on The Glasgow School of Art's First World War Roll of Honour.
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Sources: the Dictionary of Scottish Architects: http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk; Imperial War Museum's Lives of the First World War: livesofthefirstworldwar.org;