Penman, Larmont Douglas

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Penman, Larmont Douglas

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Larmont Douglas 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 was 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 moved to Edinburgh as an assistant to George Washington Browne, attending classes at Heriot-Watt College, but late in the same year he transferred to the office of Charles Davidson of Paisley. In 1892 he 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 moved again to that of Joseph Hall Morton in South Shields. On 26 March 1894 at the Clark Town Hall, Paisley he married Amy Fryers, sister of architect Arthur John Fryers, with whom Penman entered into partnership in 1898. Thereafter 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. 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' Buiolding 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.
Penman was admitted LRIBA on 22 April 1912, proposed by John Bennie Wilson and the Glasgow Institute of Architects, at which date he was living at Dunallan, West Kilbride with an office at 22 Bath Street in Largs. By 1914 the practice had moved to Clydeview in the same town.
Amy Penman died on 3 February 1908. Penman subsequently married Helen Jane Gauld. He died at Nithsdale, Bowfield Road, West Kilbride on 31 October 1931, leaving moveable estate of £5,863 3s 5d. Fryers lived on at Warren Park until 9 August 1954.


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