L B Cumpston c.1911

CUMPSTON, Louis Bowser [1865-1931]

As a young boy Liverpool-born Louis Bowser Cumpston found himself on the other side of the world, an emigrant to Australia following his father’s bankruptcy. Whilst his father suffered a second bankruptcy in their new home Louis was to prosper and become one of Western Australia’s outstanding architect’s in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

He was born on 27th November 1865, the son of builder Louis Phillippe Cumpston and his wife Catherine Annie Corlett (née Cowell). At the time of his birth the family lived at 3 Great Mersey Street L5, later moving to 171 Grove Street L7 (both now demolished). Louis’ father hailed from the Isle of Man and it was there that he spent a brief time at Ramsey Grammar School before joining his father in Echuca about 120 miles from Melbourne. After completing his education he returned to England but after two years returned to Australia and became articled to architect John Robertson in Melbourne. Once qualified he decided his prospects would be better in Western Australia and in 1891 he moved to Perth, soon establishing himself as an outstanding architect. His work was very wide-ranging, including domestic and business properties, showing a particular skill at hotel design.

He married Daphne Norah Venn in March 1895 but the marriage collapsed when Cumpston became aware that she had been conducting a long-standing affair with her uncle J. B. Simmons, the very man who had introduced the couple. Jhe was subsequently granted a divorce on the grounds of her adultery and happily then found love – literally as in 1901 he married Aimee Muriel Love. They had a son and two daughters.

Cumpston remained active in his profession well into his sixties, dying at Subiaco on 30th November 1931 aged 66.

St Columba's Presbyterian Church in Peppermint Grove, Western Australia. Designed  by L B Cumpston


The Wikipedia entry lists a considerable number of Cumpston's buildings. A pen-picture of Cumpston by Dr John Taylor [2012] can be viewed and downloaded online.