Support Peter Womersley's Architectural Legacy


In January 1969, Peter Womersley made the following observations, speaking as one of the practitioners featured in the RIBA series ‘Architects' approach to architecture’, later reproduced as an article in the RIBA Journal in May 1969:

“The office used to be the house garage,then grew its first appendage, and will soon be climbing in an organic way up the village hill, to try and cope with the work we expect to do on the development of the College of Art in Edinburgh, commencing with a new school of town planning….

...With the appointment to the College of Art in Edinburgh, the hand-to-mouth existence may now be at an end...”

After years of work and increasingly constraining and shifting demands, his office had ‘climbed the hill’, but his hopes were dashed: Womersley’s design for the Edinburgh College of Art would never be built.

In retrospect, it would seem to mark the turning of the tide on the development of his practice, and within ten years, he would close its doors and emigrate to Hong Kong.

Preserving Womersley is pleased to publish below the dissertation of Robbie Macfarlane, which delves into the tangled story surrounding Womersley’s involvement with the ECA project.

Robbie graduated from Edinburgh College of Art at Edinburgh University with an MA (hons) in architectural history in 2019 and the prize for ‘Best Graduating Student”. He is an active member of the Forth and Borders case panel for AHSS and hopes to continue his career in building heritage, complementing his love of architectural history.


Edinburgh College of Art





Edinburgh College of Art Development Plan Project


This dissertation would in no way have been possible without the patient and continued support of the very knowledgeable Dr Alistair Fair, who has been unfaltering in his open door policy and capacity for answering ridiculous questions. A special mention for historian Simon Green who was incredibly generous and supportive in sharing his extensive knowledge of Peter Womersley and pointing me in the right direction on more than one occasion.

Thanks to Diane Watters for the pointers to the Wheeler and Sproson archive and guidance on not polarising architecture.

Thanks to Aline Brodine, who as ECA archivist was always beyond helpful and dug out not properly archived material, even leaving bookmarks in minute books that became a great starting point. I would also like to thank Robin Rodger for his patience with my overenthusiastic chat at finding photographic evidence at the Royal Scottish Academy Archives and Edinburgh City Archive, who always go above and beyond whenever I ask an ‘all too often’ vague question.

A massive thank you to Mark Douglas, the Borders conservation officer, who took the time to give me a personal tour of Womersley’s County Council buildings in Newtown St Boswells and spent more time enthusing with me about the building and Womersley in general: I can only be sad at the fact my main focus had to deviate from the wonderful Womersley designed building there. Hamish and Sheila Carruthers deserve a mention for welcoming me into their home after an unsolicited knock, sharing a great deal and keeping me interested in Womersley the architect.

Finally, to the whole Architectural History Department, especially John Lowrey and Iain Boyd Whyte for their general no nonsense encouragement and continued support. Last but by no means least, thank you to Jim Lawson, whom I genuinely believe was the person who pushed me over the line in enrolling to study architectural history and whose enthusiasm inspired me through my difficult first year as an undergraduate.

To Miles, For all the Proofreading and Support.

General Abbreviations

ECA- Edinburgh College of Art

HES- Historic Environment Scotland

HMI- Her Majesty’s Inspector

NLS- National Library of Scotland

RMJM- Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall

RIAS- Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland

RIBA- Royal Institute of British Architects

RSA- Royal Scottish Academy

SED- Scottish Education Department


This is the story of an unbuilt project, an ambitious proposal that was not to be realised, by Peter Womersley (1923-1993) an architect who is not now the household name his early career might suggest is the case. Between 1967 and 1971 Peter Womersley was the Edinburgh College of Art Architect. His plans included a number of highly articulated concrete multi-level buildings that would have seen fundamental structural change to a large section of central Edinburgh. Engineered concrete bridges spanned projected widened city centre roads; integrated structures and buildings merged creating an artistic megastructure. The vision embodied strong faith in a modernist future. Here we will examine what went wrong. Was Womersley too ambitious, or is this just a story of institutional budget tightening and bureaucratic red tape?

ECA History

Edinburgh College of Art’s Main Building (1909) lies south of Castle Rock within Edinburgh Old Town World Heritage site. Figure.2 The West Port and Lauriston Place are both historic streets. The former is one of the main routes into historic Edinburgh, originally with its own port tollbooth. The latter is one of the sites of the Telfer Wall, Edinburgh’s medieval boundary defence. These two streets are the North and South boundaries of the ECA site as are the Vennel and Lady Lawson Street, East and West respectively. Figure.3 The foundation stone of the main College building was laid on 11th July 1907, and Edinburgh’s Lord Provost outlined the College’s objectives during his speech1. The new building was to accommodate the Trustees Academy School of the Board of Manufactures, the classes of the Life School at the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh School of Art (which included Architectural training) and initially the Art classes that had been provided by Heriot Watt College. After the dissolution of the Board of Manufactures the reorganization of the two buildings on the Mound into what is now The Scottish National Gallery and the Royal Scottish Academy would leave the disparate art classes and schools homeless2. The Corporation of Edinburgh agreed to found the School at the behest of both Secretary of State to Scotland and the Scottish Education Department to combine the multiple schools, forming the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA)3. The City welcomed the transfer of the Trustees Academy from the Board of Manufactures having had an early involvement, having also controlled Edinburgh University until the Universities Scotland Act had separated the Institution from the City 50 years previously4. The College remained under the control of the Edinburgh Corporation until 19605. The College would become an important institutional body for Edinburgh, especially in an architectural sense. Alan Reiach (1919-1992) , Sir Basil Spence (1907-1976), Sir William Kininmonth (1904-1988) all trained there6, and Frank Mears (1880-1953) (Patrick Geddes’ son-in-law) would keep Geddes’ legacy alive by Introducing the discipline of Town Planning to the College in 19327. Geddes himself was said to be a background figure in College proceedings8, as well as other high profile architectural figures such as Sir Robert Lorimer (1864-1929) who would serve as an assessor of architecture and on the Board of Governors9.

Peter Womersley’s Architecture in Context

Peter Womersley, although from Yorkshire, made his home in the Borders of Scotland in a small village called Gattonside near Melrose in the 1950s, designing a number of houses and other buildings both in the village and nearby. While Womersley’s architectural practice was relatively small and did not take on a second employee until the 1960s10, this was by no means his intention and his ambitions were laid bare in a letter of 1969 where he stated that “no small practice wants to remain small”11.

Womersley’s 1950s work largely comprised one-off houses, while the 1960’s saw many more commissions of public buildings, offices, shops and even a football stand. He was included in a small number of architects invited to speak about their ‘approach to architecture’ at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)12. Womersley’s talk was subsequently published in the RIBA journal and must have been seen as the work of someone with a bright future. Often featuring in architectural publications in the 1950s and 1960s his British practice would seem to be on the upward trajectory. Womersley featured in the national press too, designing a theoretical ‘House of Today’ for a Sunday Times feature that ran over a number of weeks in July and August 1961, the subtitle of which ‘one of the younger bolder architects’ by Robert Harling, editor of Home and Garden, would suggest Womersley was seen as the future in 196113. Figure.4

Womersley was certainly not unappreciated in his day. He was a fellow of both RIBA (1964) and Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (1960) and he received numerous awards, including 4 Civic trust awards and RIBA medals. He was also made an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy (1967). All of this shows that his work was valued at the time by the architectural establishment. After a lull, more recently Womersley has come to light again, being included in a number of recent publications including Elain Harwood’s seminal survey Space Hope and Brutalism, for his work south of the border15, but also in Scottish publications for the predominant body of his work in Scotland. Perhaps most indicative of the modern appreciation of the architect are his 4 entries in Scotstyle, which discusses key works in twentieth-century Scotland, voted for by experts16. In other publications, Alan Powers’ Britain framed Womersley as important to British post-war architecture and SOS Brutalism, a publication born of a Berlin conference puts Womersley in an international context.

The Sculptural Architect

Miles Glendinning has argued that Womersley’s work during the 1960s should be understood as part of a broader sculptural tendency in Scottish architecture, which also encompassed the contemporaneous work of Gillespie Kidd and Coia17. While there is something to be said for this view this dissertation tries to look past Womersley as a sculptural ‘artist architect’. It also seeks to assess another theme in the Womersley literature, namely that his work has a slightly ‘tragic’ dimension. This ‘tragedy’ reflects first of all the failure of Womersley to complete the two largest commissions of the 1960s, namely the ECA project, and new headquarters for the Roxburghshire County Council (1961). Figure.5 With these projects abandoned by the early 1970s, Womersley closed his Scottish practice and moved to the Far East within a few years. The second ‘tragedy’ of Womersley work is the ruinous state of one of his most obviously ‘Brutalist’ works, the A-Listed Bernat Klein Studio (1972) for the well-known textile designer18. Figure.6 The present poor condition of this building and the apparent failure to maintain it brings to mind the ‘tragedy’ of St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross, by Gillespie Kidd and Coia, another building whose prominence now largely results from its abandonment and from the protracted debates about its future. Another of Womersley’s buildings in this category was the very picturesque clifftop Maidens, Port Murray (1963), sadly recently demolished. Figure.7 On a more positive note, the Architect’s cantilevered concrete Fairydean Stadium (1964), the only A-listed Stand of its type in Scotland has at least raised some of the fund desperately needed for restoration19. Figure.8 Here we will try to look past the tragedy and see the ECA project in a historical sense of what really happened. So what did happen? Why did Womersley wind up his practice and move to Hong Kong in the 1970s? Why did he fade into the background of architectural appreciation only to be seemingly rediscovered recently?

ECA Context and Post-war Expanding Educational Institutions

Post-war Britain was building as part of its recovery. Rebuilding with housing and schools was a priority initially. During the 1960s higher education became a Britain’s universities were expanding by the late 1950s in response to the post-war ‘baby boom’ and to meet the demand for scientists and engineers, while the Robbins Report of 1963 promoted further expansion in the name of egalitarianism. Historians of the period’s university architecture have tended to focus on the so-called ‘new universities’, built on open greenfield sites developments such as the University of East Anglia by Denys Lasdun or closer to Edinburgh, Stirling University by Robert Matthew and Johnson Marshall (RMJM). While both of these developments echo the Womersley ECA schemes in some of their assumptions and forms neither were inner city sites. A more obvious parallel is found at the University of Strathclyde, which built its own School of Architecture (1967) and, similar to the School of Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art, it was designed by its own head of School, Frank Fielden20. This department head/designer situation was described by Andrew Wright as either ‘a brave or a foolhardy one’, which may become an interesting parallel as we go forth within this text21. Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art would also commission a sculptural concrete building in Dundee by Baxter Clark and Paul (1974). Although the Matthew building is again a articulated concrete city structure, Charles Mckean and David Walker point out it ‘If there is a problem, it will be that a building of concrete and blockwork will be too finite a structure for the consistently evolving patterns of Art Schools” 22. Something that we will see Womersley was keen to avoid with an extended site and interlinked structure. In the case of Glasgow school of art, their iconic Macintosh building would have inner city additions too. The Newbury Tower (1970) by Keppie, Henderson and Partners would be followed by The Bourdon Building by the same architects. The Glasgow edition of the Buildings of Scotland mentions how the Bourdon “spoils the view to the West”, which we can assume directly relates to its concrete exterior and the fact it bridges over Renfrew Street23. Figure.9. Both bridging roads and the building’s exterior can be directly related to the Womersley project in terms of aesthetics. The negative reaction perhaps even says something about the ECA projects failure to complete, Glasgow could be perceived as having been more daring in some of its post-war projects than Edinburgh, especially if we consider Glasgow’s road network.

Edinburgh educational projects of the 1960s also affected fundamental city changes and vice versa. Edinburgh University had revamped George Square and the road layout changed significantly. In addition, the University’s proposed Comprehensive Development Area, designed by Percy Johnson-Marshall was to remodel a large area of the southside, mixing university and other buildings as part of a decked megastructure within a new road layout. In Edinburgh another projected road layout caused a great public outcry after being given the green light in January 196724, only to be scrapped a year later in January 1968 due to many objections25. Edinburgh’s Inner City Ring Road was decided as a route through the Meadows on approval, but as we will see both its initial line and conception in regard to negative public opinion may be a factor to the rejection of this project as a grand scheme for the city centre. Figure.10. Womersley’s scheme was a bold proposition for central Edinburgh, though bold planning schemes are very much a part of Edinburgh’s history when we consider projects like bridging the old and new towns or new western approach roads into the city in the nineteenth century.

Ralph Cowan’s ECA Projects

Womersley’s extension plans for the ECA were by no means the first. Proposals to extend and enhance the ECA go back as far as 195026. In 1954, a veritable list of the ‘Who’s who’ of Local architects who might design these extensions was sent to the ECA Secretary J.R. Brown by Alex Steele, Edinburgh City Architect27. This list of fourteen architectural practices mainly based in Edinburgh included firms with long remembered reputations, such as Leslie Graham, Burnet Tait and partners, Neil and Hurd, Rowand Anderson, Kininmonth and Paul, and Basil Spence28. Steele reported it wasn’t an easy list to compile and believed that he felt any extension work should be done by a firm with connections to the ECA generally; however the list didn’t take into account any architects within the school itself, although it did include two members of the board of Governors, J.A.H. Mottram and Ian. G. Lindsey29. As head of ECA Architecture department, Ralph Cowan (b.1917) wrote a letter to principal Lyon in May 1955 proposing an extension to the East of the original building30. Despite serious complaints of the quality of facilities from visiting representatives from RIBA in 1958 of the ECA’s facilities in this field, little progress was made31. In 1960, Principal Robert Lyon and Cowan concluded that the School itself had more than enough internal expertise to plan a new school for architecture32. Architectural students would be given nominal fees as draftsmen, staff would be paid agreed fees outside of teaching duties and complementary departments could design, murals, sculptures, ceramics and even furnishings33. This was similar to what had been previously achieved at the Architecture extension completed at Cambridge (1959) which was conceived as a “live studio project” including staff design involvement34. Cowan’s appointment as school Architect was confirmed35. Sketch plans were submitted fairly quickly in 1960 to the Town Clerk for planning permission on 1 March 196036, Figure.11 and a programme of work for preparation of schedules, surveyors work and finished drawings was also drawn up around the same time37. The working plans by Cowan were finalised and construction was to last 15 months38. Figure.12 Cowan set up a practice, Ralph Cowan and Associates at 7 Graham Street, off Lauriston Place. Surrounding properties such as the Chalmers Church and adjoining hall on the corner of West Port and Lady Lawson street were bought for £10500 in late 196439. Figure.3 The fact that the College offered to let the Parishioners continued use of the site for two years highlights the speculative nature of buying these sites as and when they arose40. Even with these purchases, the need for space remained, and the neighbouring Royal Infirmary offered rooms for College use41. The scheme encompassed the Vennel and parts of West Port. By this point building of the new Architecture School had begun at the end of Graham Street42. Figure.13. Completed in 1962 the Architecture School was a modern building with concrete cladding with what the Buildings of Edinburgh describes as an “Impressive tower of studio glazing seen from the West Port43”. This modern concrete and glass unit contrasted somewhat with the red sandstone main building by J.M. Dick Peddie of 190944. Figure.14 The full development plan was written by mid 1965 and two more drafts would be amended and completed before March 1966, based on projected enrolments for the years 1973-7445. Figure.15 A report of the specific needs of the school of Town and Country Planning also was released in October 1965.

While we can start to see Cowan’s vision for the ECA, it may be pertinent to note that the ECA was not the only educational institution with major plans for a place within Edinburgh’s built environment. A meeting at St Andrews House on the 18 October 1965 between Edinburgh University, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh Corporation, Scottish Development Department, George Heriots Trust, and ECA highlights just how audacious some of these plans actually were47. This meeting was primarily to hear the newly created Heriot Watt University’s vision for its future, including a notion to buy up all the properties between Guthrie Street and the west end of the Grassmarket, with talk of demolition, the building of large slab blocks and raised pedestrian walkways48. While these plans were quickly dismissed at the time49, contextually they may not be quite as outlandish as they would seem in retrospect, especially when considering the scale of development proposed for Edinburgh and the parallels that can be drawn to the scheme we will look at by Peter Womersley for the ECA.

Cowan’s Resignation.

Cowan came to believe his position as Head of the School of Architecture was incompatible with his relationship with the governors, which had resulted from his appointment as College Architect50. In March 1967 as he handed in his notice citing this position, his tenure as College Architect came to an end51. In 1965 he made known his feelings on Government financial restrictions and spending limitations clear52, these concerns may in part explain his resignation. College property acquisitions were starting to falter; acquisitions in Graham Street and Lauriston Place were met by direct opposition, and unless deemed urgent all acquisitions were on hold53. Financial restrictions placed on spending by the Chancellor of the Exchequer were relayed in correspondence in July 1966 from T.T Hewitson, Town Planning Officer from the Edinburgh Corporation54. Yet, the College would continue to plan boldly, during the meeting where Cowan’s resignation letter was read the College requested the Corporation as planning authority to earmark sections of the Grassmarket and Lauriston as Comprehensive Development Areas for the College55.

While Cowan’s plans for the projected Sculpture School was accepted the question of a replacement College architect was tabled, and possibility of one of the architects on the Board of Governors applying for the position was mentioned56. The decision was made that even if no Governor-Architects were considered, they should at least join the committee to choose an architect57. It was also decided that only a firm of “high standing” should be considered for such a position58, clearly showing the ambitions of the institution. Further to the thoughts of Governors being considered for the position it became clear the board members were against the idea and it was also decided that decided that staff should not apply, possibly supporting the idea the situation with Cowan had become an unhealthy one59. This meeting is also where we are introduced to the architect of the projects that will become our main focus. Peter Womersley was unanimously chosen as College architect to take over all building designs and the development plan60.

Womersley’s Scheme?

The first time Peter Womersley met the Extensions and Maintenance Subcommittee the embryonic idea of his overall plans was already being formulated, though surprisingly the suggestion of a grand idea actually came from T.T. Hewitson, the Corporation Planning Officer, who suggested enlarging the site to include north of West Port, going as far as King Stables Road61. Encouraged to be ambitious, Womersley presented he idea of building with bridges, creating an interconnected megastructural campus that would span roads and spread from the original site on Lauriston Place all the way to the west of the Grassmarket62. This would seem like a prudent idea considering Womersley talked with representatives from Edinburgh University whom were keen on utilizing the Lister Trust site on Keir Street and sections of Lauriston Place to build on for their own projects; leaving the only feasible direction for expansion the area to the north. Another possible issue with the original site was the news that Womersley had garnered from the City Chambers that Lady Lawson Street among others was to be widened63. Road widening connected to the proposed Inner Ring Road can be seen in both Cowan’s College development plan and early projected designs from the Edinburgh Corporation in 1963. Figure.16 Figure.17 While the final Ring Road plans went through The Meadows and not Lauriston Place, Womersley’s plans would be based on the earlier (1963), and not later road layout.

Womersley had been proactive in his first three months as College Architect. His initial ambitions were clear, i.e. to scrap and redesign plans for the Sculpture building followed by Town and County Planning then Design and Crafts64. Plans were agreed In principle by the Extensions Committee who said that compulsory purchase orders should be sought for the south side of West Port as far as the Salvation Army building, hoping a Comprehensive Development Area could also be earmarked65. Following these applications Hewitson called a meeting with both Edinburgh University and ECA to discuss their respective needs as to the sites and land use in the areas already discussed. This meeting is where we get first mention of street widening projects in both Lauriston Place and the West Port66, Figure.16 and apparent lack of direction from Edinburgh University building projects on both the Keir Street site and the Grassmarket generally. The Town Engineer had earmarked a site between Keir Street and the Vennel for a carpark to hold 300 cars for Royal Infirmary parking68. With opposing schemes and confusion it is hardly surprising Womersley and the Planning officer had sought an alternative site for College extensions. Another meeting in September 1967 including representatives from the Corporation planning and engineering departments was held to discuss sites and possible purchases from the Corporation after acquisition of properties in the West Port to facilitate projected slum clearance and road widening projects69 Principal Stanley Wright was keen to get assurances from the Corporation that these sites would become available to the School as Womersley was showing his sketches for proposed developments70. This meeting is also when we get the idea that the School of Planning has been earmarked for proposed site adjacent to Lauriston Place.

At the next Extensions Meeting, Womersley presented his overall plan to the Subcommittee, stating that Hewitson had seen it and was satisfied with the concept71. Womersley has also completed sketches of his newly designed Sculpture School, now on a single floor stretching down the south side of West Port as far as the proposed bridge that crosses the street72. Figure.18 The plans and designs were generally well received, committee agreed to designs in principle and Womersley was asked to build a model for the Corporation planners and the Scottish Education Department (SED)73. However as we will see, the plan also had allocated parking underneath the building, which later became a contentious issue74. The architect agreed to work with the existing College surveyors and recommended Ove Arup as engineers for the projects going forward75.

While all seems well between the Building and Extensions Subcommittee, the Corporation Planners and the College architect, opinions behind the scenes were not so positive. At a Governors’ meeting in November 1967 Her Majesty’s Inspector Gray had set out the SED’s position as unsupportive of the extended site unless the College could prove that there was no way of limiting the extensions to the original site boundaries76. Not surprisingly in the wake of national financial cutbacks, the SED were already concerned about the possible cost implications of such an extensive building programme and required the College Surveyor to look at the costings closely77. To further back their cost worries the SED reminded the Board of a letter that was sent earlier the same month stating the Governors’ must “exercise proper control” and not to exceed costs set out by the Secretary of State78. While we must see this as a reflection of Government spending controls, this can also be directly related to the Cowan complaints of financial restrictions mentioned in his comments of 1965.

While it becomes clear to the reader that the SED did not seem to be on side of the larger project it is difficult to tell whether Womersley was actually aware of their opposition as the institution controlling the finances for the project. At the beginning of January 1968, Womersley had completed the Phasing plan with an attached capital expenditure report by the College surveyors Gibson and Simpson79. Womersley’s full phased plan was presented to the Extensions Committee, including a detailed report setting out reasons for a shift in site boundaries in which Womersley detailed the public road widening schemes by the Edinburgh Corporation which affected both the West Port and Lauriston Place80. These would hamper sticking to the original site although the Corporation plan for slum clearance on both sides of the West Port planned for 1968-70 would make way for development on these sites81. In addition to issues with the changing road layout, the architect cited how other institutions in the area would limit development, referring to The Vennel Nursery School, Fire Station on Lauriston Place and Salvation Army Building in the West Port/Grassmarket, all in the way of prospective College building82. These plans were generally supported by Hewitson in his capacity as Town Planning Officer, who had suggested the expanded site including the area to the north of the West Port on first meeting Womersley83.

The site plan and phasing was as follows:

Coloured Phasing Plan - set out with costs by Surveyors, Gibson and Simpson

Phase1 Autumn 1968 – Autumn 1970 (Orange) Sculpture with garage underneath £500,000

Phase2 Autumn 1969- Autumn 1971 (Brown) Architecture and Town Planning £280000

Phase3 Autumn 1970- Autumn 1971 (grey) Original Building alterations £300000

Phase4 Autumn 1970- Autumn 1973 (green) Design, Lecture, Library, Union and Dining; with garage under. £1250000

Phase5 Autumn 1972- Autumn 1975 (Red) Drawing and Printing with Arch and Design; garage under. £1260000

Sixth and seventh phase (blue and yellow) 1973-77 not yet costed as out-with expenditure period…84 Figure.19

It was decided to apply for Comprehensive Development Area status but there were two clouds on the horizon: Curbs on spending on the one hand, and restrictions imposed by the SED related to the provision of parking on the other85. There was also discussion of the possible purchase of a large number of properties in the West Port, but no action was taken on this matter as the residents of the non-commercial properties had secure tenancies which would have rendered ECA liable to rehouse them86.

The decision not to ask the SED for further funding for property acquisition would seem to be well timed considering on 19th of March 1968, the committee met with four delegates from the SED who promptly reminded them “it’s not propitious to spend large sums of public money at the moment.”87 In spite of this, Principal Wright backed Womersley’s plan on the basis of projected growth that had been discussed at length between College staff and HM inspectorate88. He also reminded the SED representatives that the lease on current rented property of The School of Planning (48 Manor Place) expired in 197289. At this point the SED representatives questioned the need for student hostels as part of the Kings Stables/Grassmarket development, but were reminded that senior students often worked late into the night90. There is of course a larger argument for housing students within a university development. During this post war period the ideas of the student citizen, the urban university community and cross fertilized learning becomes a factor. especially in the newly built Universities of the early 1960s attempting to house students on site partially as they were often out of town but also to do with new ideas about the student citizen as a social and cultured citizen, and above all, an adult91. Although the ECA was a city centre site the ethos here would certainly seem to correlate, though as Stefan Muthesius points out, by the late sixties a lot of these ideas and the modern institution that bore them had been deemed “a sham”. 92

Whilst student accommodation was to be questioned, another aspect was rehousing the student club for the College. One idea involved buying the Uniroyal Club in Merchiston Place after their initial search had been fruitless93. Even though the College had been offered a £25000 SED grant to purchase a new student club as the existing site was in Lauriston Place and would be lost in site clearances for building the Planning School, the fund had a time limit of March 1969. It was proposed that Chalmers Church could be renovated to house the club at minimal cost, and Womersley who was asked to check the feasibility of the idea94, but found it would be very expensive95. Following this it was decided that 34/38 West Port was to be adapted for student club as a more economical alternative96. However club warden, Mrs Russell, was unhappy about the location due to her often finishing late into the evening, this issue along with her unwillingness to move into one of the vacant Keir Street tenements was enough to merit the Principal, Vice principal and Secretary being asked to discuss the situation with her97. Whilst these decisions on the site of a social club seem minor, they highlight just how many people had power to change the course of direction of planning decisions.

While some purchases of property went ahead98, the SED’s doubt about Womersley’s scheme was still apparent. Although the SED wrote to the College on 27 May 1968 stating they would like to see the Principal’s reorganization proposals for the new Design School before they made a decision regarding Kings Stables/West Port site, the Chairman of the College Committee revealed at a meeting in June 1968 that formal application to the Corporation had been submitted to have the entire site re-zoned for cultural and educational purposes99. This show of support from the College was reiterated the following week as Womersley himself stated he cannot go ahead with plans, even for the Design School, until the site was no longer being disputed100. It was however decided that the Planning Building could be developed as its Lauriston Place/Keir Street as that site was not in dispute101.

While there was no direct dispute about the Lauriston and Keir Street site between the SED and the College, the site was not without its own issues, including that of controlled tenancies enjoyed by residents102. Tenancy issues would continue to be a factor that would linger. College legal advisors had approached the tenant at 48 Lauriston Place to see if she would waive her tenant’s rights in November 1968, but she would only accept an offer of suitable accommodation and this was accepted. Whilst advisors asked for authority to acquire accommodation for her and to reopen negotiations with two tenants of 23 and 29 Keir Street respectively to see whether they would accept £500 each for waiver of their rights103. Properties on the north side of Keir Street would be offered to them but as they were eventually to be demolished too, tenants might refuse104. This is perhaps a good reflection of why the SED were very wary about getting into buying up properties without Corporation assurances.

In September 1968, Womersley wrote to Brown complaining that the SED were “shortsighted” in their lack faith in the overall scheme105. Saying that three schools in the next ten years may solve immediate problems but it leaves the “future beyond that as just a large blank”, the SED’s comment about not ruling out a possible future development north of West Port was just “a sop”. He urged the College to keep buying up the land north of the West Port as it was obvious to him following conversations with Hewitson that the Argyll Trust would buy up all the land down to the Grassmarket leaving the College with no hope in this area107. The opposition was even more clearly described in a letter from Governor G.A. Lyall to Brown.

“I am writing you this note, wearing my hat as a Governor of the ECA … to ask if you are aware of the discussions that have been going on for a good many months now about the development –long and short term- of the ECA… Peter Womersley produced plans and a model which are the subject of discussion between the town planning department of the city and the College’s legal advisors. These plans would mean that eventually the new College building would form the entire west wall of the Grassmarket and could be of the greatest benefit to Edinburgh… I was appalled to find the SED interjecting…it did seem to me that the SED by this letter was entering into realms of civic planning which belong much more to your department than to theirs. If you are not aware what has been taking place, I should be pleased to arrange for you to see the model and anything else you wish”108. Figure.20

However, as we have seen the split between the views on Womersley’s plan between the SED and the College does not seem to deter the College from being ambitious. The College Committee were in favour of the school gaining a foothold in owning the land even if north of the West Port would not be developed over the next ten years109. This stance was reiterated in a meeting of the Extensions Committee in October 1968, stating they were “firmly convinced that the existing site is inadequate to meet the foreseeable needs of the College and that further representation be made to the Scottish Education Department to authorise an extension of the area for College development on to the West Port/Kings Stables Road site”110. The College decided they should seek early agreement with the Corporation to strengthen their argument when they next approach the SED.

At an Extensions and Building Work committee on the 2nd of October 1968, the SED decreed that only two of the three proposed buildings (Planning, Sculpture and Design) could go ahead in the next five years. In those five years one additional development might be permitted and any College development must stay within the original site boundaries due to “financial resources and existing pressures”111. Furthermore the SED highlighted parking in another letter of mid-October 1968; while the Planning Building had been approved in principle, proposal for underground parking cars went against government policy that town centre developments should only provide parking for operational vehicles112. Eventually, it was agreed parking that staff would need to bring their cars to work in order to travel to the emerging Heriot Watt campus at Riccarton, as well as for field trips with students113. This was accepted as an exception and in some ways a small and unusual win for Womersley and the College.

While the connections to Heriot Watt were fundamentally educational there were also architectural ramifications. An agreement had been finalised in 1968 that planning and architecture teaching would have direct links between the two institutions114. While Heriot Watt had once been keen to occupy the Grassmarket on a grand scale, their move to Riccarton created space for Womersley’s overall vision115. After much deliberation, Heriot Watt had been decided as the best option for collaboration in these areas opposed to Edinburgh University due to a number of factors, not least Percy Johnson Marshall’s objection to training undergraduate town planners116. A further factor was a concern raised by College Governor William Kininmonth that Edinburgh University would use the possible collaboration as the first step to a complete takeover of the College by the University; in no small part due to Sir Robert Matthew’s suggestion of the College’s School of Architecture becoming part of the newly created School of the Built Environment at the older institution117. Sir Robert Matthew (1906-1975)had a long history with the ECA having studied there well before his time in London running the London County Council’s Architect’s Department. He then returned to head the Architecture department at the Art College as well as teaching at Edinburgh University118. His contentious departure from ECA in 1954, to work only at Edinburgh University, may well have given Kininmonth reason to worry119. One could see the apparent attempt to bring the ECA’s architectural teaching under the umbrella of the University as a power-play by a man that Ralph Cowan had described as having “emanated Power”120. Matthew was unimpressed by the hierarchy at the College, during a speech in 1954 he stated that “the College is run by Edinburgh Corporation…Governors are the Finance Committee of the Corporation… while... most of the finance comes from the SED”, adding that he though the Architecture School should be run by “academic staff like a University Department”121. It was also clear that Matthew held contempt for Edinburgh’s ‘provincial’ artistic and architectural elite122. One might also wonder if there might have been some personal rivalry between Kininmonth and Matthew. It could also be suggested that Kininmonth was more a part of the Edinburgh establishment than Matthew in this period, Kininmonth certainly had powerful Edinburgh based friends, such as the lord Provost123. The fear of becoming subservient to the University may seem like a side track but it does highlight how the College was trying to keep itself independent and grow in a period where they may have been at risk of being swallowed up by a larger institution.124

Whilst there was still doubt about the SED and the College coming to an agreement for the entire scheme, the Planning Building was approved for the site boundary facing Lauriston Place in October 1968125. To the delight of Professor Travis, Head of Planning, the model and plans were presented to the Extensions Committee in March 1969.126 Figure.21 Figure.22 Travis commended Womersley on “consulting him at each stage of the planning”.127 The Building was to be built of rough concrete, with forced air heating and ventilation with the outside sealed for noise reduction to combat the increased traffic noise from the Lauriston Place. This highly articulated and technical building has much in common with the forms and materials of Womersley’s Nuffield Transplant unit at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital (1968). Figure.23 While this was not the first specialized transplant unit in the country, the brief for the Planning Building certainly had similar technical aspects to the design and was to be built of a number of highly articulated concrete units and linking bridges like the Nuffield unit. However, the brief for the Planning Building remained somewhat fluid, and started to expand. Principal Wright proposed a link building between the Building and the existing Architecture Building128. This link was to provide extra staff and student dining facilities including a kitchen extension, student common rooms, lecture halls and basement storage129. These proposals were accepted by the Extensions Committee, and were to be submitted to the SED along with smaller proposals for general changes to the historic Main Building130. These shifting goalposts were not unusual in a large project, but help us understand how many differing views Womersley was attempting to appease. Certainly some Governors were not convinced about the link idea, suggesting there may “be serious architectural problems in designing a building to fit in between the architecture school and the new planning school” while the functional aspects of the link building were also questioned131. It was decided that the Principal should consult the HM Inspectorate and if they agreed then Womersley would be given a remit to design and submit estimates. These views were by no means unqualified as Sir Michael Laird and William Kininmonth, both architects of notable reputations were in attendance.

The Beginning of the End?

During the second quarter of 1969, the SED confirmed that the cost of the new Planning School should be no more than £162186, yet Womersley’s first minimum estimate was £238000.133 The initial reaction was for the architect, Professor Travis, Principal and Vice Principal to prepare a case for justifying an increased grant from the SED.134 By June 1969 Womersley was confident that the variance of £60000 could be smoothed out with the SED and they would meet extra costs, as their given figure was deemed completely inadequate for this type of building.135 It was agreed that it was advisable to try and reduce the costs; Travis and Womersley were to work together.136 After reducing the variance from £60000 to £28000 it was suggested by Arup engineers that “by a means of direct negotiation with contracting firms, it would be possible to reduce the gap even further”.137 However the subsequent meetings with the College surveyors did not go well. A letter of 27 October 1969, stated they had grave doubts about the soundness of design team’s current contract proposals and the cost estimates on which submissions were proposed”, and asked to be released from their contract as a result.138 The Principal reminded everyone at this point that the Planning School was struggling for accommodation so it was imperative the job went ahead soon, and Womersley and Arup were asked to revise costs again.139 By November Womersley had managed to reduce costs to within the SED guidelines, but the Governors were showing signs of concern and stated that they “strongly advise” all contractors to be under the “responsibility of a main contractor”.140 Concerned costs may spiral Womersley was asked to redraft his proposal with help from Mr Cottier from the Board before submission to the SED.141 By the end of November, forms had been submitted to the SED and Cottier supported the system of working with direct and separate contracts for the trades as the College could control the contracts directly.142 This decision contravened the earlier Governors concerns and Womersley had actually suggested a Master of Works position back in March of 1969.143 The SED had confirmed the employment of this position but their suggested pay scale was deemed inappropriately small,144 probably helping instigate the need for direct contracts suggested by the Engineers,145 later supported by Cottier.146

At the beginning of 1970, the Link Building was still being discussed between the College and the SED. The SED referred to the letter of October 1968 which stated that the College could have only one building a year due to governmental cuts to education budgets.147 Furthermore, the College would not be able to start more than two projects by 1973-74, first being the School of Planning then “one more in the ensuing five years” and the position still stood.148 However, softening their stance somewhat, if the proposed link building and a second new school was less than £500000 it might be approved following submission.149 While this step forward with the Link Building is one aspect of the correspondence, another related to the larger plan where Wilson stated “I should add that, on the wider question of future developments of the College generally, our understanding is that the Governors are now more sanguine than they were previously about the prospect of containing such development (other than any hostel development which may be approved) on the south side of the West Port.”150

While it seems that the SED had started to draw a line under the overall plan restrictions the Corporation had not. At a Governors’ Meeting in February 1970 it was intimated that Hewitson had asked for a meeting to discuss developments north of the West Port.151 Hewitson had pointed out that “a determination of a plan for this area depended, to a large extent, on a decision regarding the College proposals”.152 It was agreed that Principal, Vice Principal, and Secretary Brown would meet him informally then inform SED about the possibility of acquiring some sites north of West Port.153 This meeting was to prove enlightening as what transpired was planning applications had been received for a 500 bedroom hotel in the Grassmarket and a proposal for Argyle Securities to extend eastwards from their corner site adjacent to Lady Lawson Street along the north side of West Port.154 All of these proposed developments seem to sway the Principal that the original site restricted to south of the West Port was the best course of action, proposing the Corporation should clear the area to facilitate.155 Somewhat aligned with the SED stance, the Link Building which Wright had been advocating seems to have become his main focus. Accordingly, when Womersley presented his plans for the link, Wright made a number of seemingly new stipulations.156 In addition to the original needs already mentioned, a private dining room, staff bar, staff buffet service and a teaching space for first year design were now to be included. These were all approved along with Womersley’s proposed designs by the committee.157 Although some of these additional proposals for the link building seem like personal additions by the Principal, the lack of facilities for certain departments was obviously a key issue due to the ad hoc and piecemeal facilities for these departments.

One specific case was that of the Design School. J Kingsley Cook, Head of Design had written to Principal Wright back in October 1968 co complain about “the very serious situation” of 50 first year design students crammed into the basement of a “condemned church”, and how the students must have a “terrible impression after most having attended new secondary modern schools”, Cook felt like they were being fobbed off.158 Secondary Modern Schools had often been built in a modernist style and could be considered in line with new educational theory, but would also have in some ways primed a student in new modernist taste.

Suggesting Womersley could easily design multi-purpose studios that could be shared by first year design, tapestry and weaving classes, Cook argued that Design was being side-lined in favour of other departments.159 In fact, the Design School was at one point during late 1968, before the Planning school took priority, projected to be built on the site of a Corporation owned Nursery on the south of the West Port.160 Following this possible but quickly deemed unlikely idea of buying up more property, Cook also suggested knocking down Chalmers Church and building a three story building on the site for first year general classes and weaving and tapestry.161 Following further suggestions of temporary accommodation in front of the Main Building, it was decided heads of schools were to discuss with Womersley and the Corporation would be asked about the nursery.162 At the extensions committee in February 1970, Womersley presented estimated costs and reported that due to financial restrictions the sculpture building should be built after the link as Design school would cost £750000. However, it seemed that the head of the Sculpture School was actually fairly happy with their accommodation.163

At a Governors meeting in march 1970 the Principal explained that he had talked to Cook about Womersley’s phasing plan order, beginning with the Planning Building (£250000) then link building (£200000) and finally the School of sculpture and administration building (£300000) all which fell within the SED proposed budget.164 Cook strongly recommended building a Design School using the £500000 allocated for the proposed link and sculpture buildings.165 This new building proposed on the north side of Keir Street could house dining hall and other amenities that could be transferred to link building at a later date.166 It was decided at this point that Planning and Link were indeed first in line.167

Even though the design of the Planning Building was finalised and the costs had been agreed, by June 1970 the reductions in cost were having their inevitable effects on the designs. As we have noted Womersley’s original plan responded to projected traffic increases and road widening in Lauriston Place (as well as the South-facing orientation of the main façade) by sealing the building; there were to be no opening windows, with ventilation being supplied mechanically.168 The South elevation was also to be shaded by a complex set of mouldings to help shield traffic noise, not unlike the forms of Womersley’s Nuffield Unit. Figure.23 Unfortunately, to have the building sealed, soundproofed with no opening windows and a profiled cross-section toward Lauriston Place was deemed too expensive.169 The forced air ventilation system and exterior ‘pods’ were also dropped due to strict economies and the building would need to have opening windows for ventilation.170 Other cost implications due to changing fire regulations included a new stair and fire exit.171 The similarities here to another of Womersley’s projects in the Borders are reminiscent of, yet not limited to fire regulations. Womersley’s masterplan for a series of buildings for Roxburgh County Council would be limited to one phase after the local Ratepayers Association complained of rising costs and was also victim to the requirement of additional fire escapes due to updated Safety Regulations made in 1963.172 This project had been seen by Womersley as a ‘practice saving’ scheme only to be stopped after phase one.173 The fact Womersley saw this as his next step to building his practice must be directly comparable to the ECA project in terms of his practice expansion. Another victim of the cost cutting of the Planning Building was the architect’s specified heating system. The SED’s technical advisors “made it abundantly clear that they were against a gas heating system due to the high running costs” as gas was projected to be £4000 per year more than oil for the projected buildings.174 Yet as we now know this would be a false economy due to success of North Sea gas and steep increase in oil prices within a few years.175

By December 1970 the initially suggested costs had doubled and Womersley reported that negotiations had completely broken down; the deficit was £111000.176 Womersley had taken it upon himself to invite James Laidlaw and Sons Ltd construction to give a quote, even though at this point he felt that a complete redesign might be the only option.177

The mention of a redesign seemed to spark something of a wave of sympathy from sections of the Extensions Committee. It was commented that Womersley had a bad deal as the brief had been based on the development plan of 1966, which was already out of date against the revised building codes and ”inadvertently” Womersley had accepted the Head of the Planning School as his client and had designed the building to his “Special requirements”.178 Councillor Smith then asked Womersley and Ridley from Arup if they could build within SED budget, Womersley admitted he could not guarantee but could have sketches by end of January 1971 and working drawings by construction beginning July 1971. Womersley explained the building would have to be rendered block with short spans, low ceilings and little sound insulation.179 During a period where both architect and engineer left the meeting room, it was decided that there was no point in trying to negotiate with the contractors and that a new design was the only way.180

While Womersley was still out of the room, it was discussed whether he should charge for a new design; a nominal £1000 fee was discussed and it was concluded that a redesign should amalgamate both the Planning and Link Buildings together; although this may have consequences regarding the SED funding.181 On Womersley’s return to the room he was informed about the plan to appoint a surveyor, the issues surrounding fees from abortive work and the design of the two buildings becoming one project while suggesting he should take the weekend to consider his changing role.182 Womersley informed the Committee after a few days that he would draft a new design at no cost to the College and suggested a choice of surveyor stating the previous relationship may be problematic.183 Surprisingly, the Committee suggested otherwise and unless Womersley pushed the issue Gibson and Simpson should be offered their previous role as surveyors to the College.184 Even though the original surveyors actually turned down this position, it would be difficult to see the Governors’ stance as supportive of the architect.185

It seems that this may have been the beginning of the end for Womersley. By February 1971 the SED had met the Governors and the question of both Womersley and Arup’s continued employment was raised with the Extensions Committee.186 However, Governor Sir David Milne asked for “just and fair treatment for the design team” whilst wary of the legal repercussions on the board of Governors. Milne also suggested a coordinator was appointed to oversee a new brief as well as assessment of funds before any decision on design team replacement was considered.187 Although in some respect the College were considering their stance, Councillor Smith pointed out that the SED had made it “abundantly clear” that that they could not take the risk of working with the current design team and their contracts could be terminated at this stage with no legal recourse; Smith seemed to support the SED and pointed out that they had “gone out of their way to provide funds” to enable the Planning Building and Link be completed by 1974.188 Smith emphasized his stance that this should be resolved within a month and with regard to the proposal the design team be “given another chance” he pointed out that Womersley made no promises about being on budget, even with a new design.189 The meeting between the Governors and the SED representatives confirmed the SED’s position on Womersley. Hamilton reported that the department, after careful consideration, were “ firmly of the view that there ought to be a change of architect”, and could not take the “risk of this happening again” due to the 112% increase in builders fees, costs of abortive work and the fact the surveyors had warned of the costs before they handed in their notice.190 Councillor Smith said the surveyors should have no blame and should be asked if they would like to change their position on returning to work for the College after a new design team was found.191

Through the early part of 1971 it became very clear that the SED were firmly of the opinion a new architect and engineers were required and made it clear to the College that they had not given permission to use the letters setting out their position to terminate or ask for resignation from the design team.192 The SED felt one person from the College should speak to both Womersley and Arup separately and privately.193 Although the SED did offer help to the College, “if it became a legal issue the College would have their full support”.194 The SED stance left the College in the invidious position of clearing up any issues with architect and engineers. While the SED assured the College that senior accounting would write off aborted fees,195 several Governors were unhappy at the attitude in pressing for the dismissal of the design team whilst completely reticent to get involved “in any way”.196 A meeting was held on 15th March to discuss payment or indeed money owed to the College by the design team. The committee was generally unhappy about the SED’s attitude in regards to Womersley and Arup and the reclaiming of fees and select non-payment due to incompetence were deemed unreasonable.197 It was decided that the Governors should convince the SED Womersley should be paid in full for work done in line with RIBA directives.198 Governors generally agreed that the legal team should be in charge of paying fees and any recoup should be avoided at all costs.199 Furthermore, although an account had been submitted to the SED neither Womersley nor Arup had been paid anything at all towards their work on the Planning Building.200 It was concluded that the College Secretary be asked both to bill up until work was stopped on 23 December 1970.201

The death knell finally tolled for the design team at a meeting of the Extensions Committee on 28 May 1971. It was decided not to go any further with the two projects. A new brief should include both Planning and link as one building, while it was formally decided to terminate the agreement with the design team due to the increase in costs.202 As this was agreed, it was also decided to minute the fact that “in normal circumstances it would have been preferable for the design team to carry on with their contracts providing new designs with no further cost to the College”.203

Wasting no time, a delegation of four was chosen to represent the Governors at meeting with SED to resolve the matter of current design team. Womersley would have his last word during a meeting of the Subcommittee to employ a new architect.204 A letter from the president of RIAS was sent to the Board of Governors after Womersley had complained that the College was proposing to appoint another architect for the Planning Building before his fees had even been resolved.205 While Councillor Smith as head of both the Committee for building and the one for appointing the new architects, in reply merely explained that the Planning Building had been abandoned, Womersley’s appointment terminated and the new project was a different and larger one.206

J. Anthony Wheeler (1919-2013) of Wheeler and Sproson was chosen as College architect on 5 March 1971,207 Wheeler was chosen from a short list of six firms including such Edinburgh heavyweights as Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall (RMJM), Reiach Hall and Partners, and Spence Glover and Fergusson.208 What was labelled the Edinburgh College of Art Building Developments Phase 1 brought together the previously separate Planning and Link buildings.209 Figure.24 When Wheeler Accepted his role he very quickly nominated the engineer Andrew G Weir from Wheeler and Sproson’s own in-house firm.210 After trouble with the previous engineering firm this may very well have been a deciding factor in their initial appointment. Wheeler and Sproson were also an established firm with large scale projects under their belt, such as housing developments at Glenrothes, Burnisland and Cumbernauld.211 As we can see by the building that now stands proudly on Lauriston Place, Wheeler and Sproson’s designs comprised a modern flat roofed monumental L-shaped block, joined to the Cowan designed Architecture Building (now North East Studio Building). This design included some of the disputed parking facilities. The building is faced with red sandstone, a planned complementary material to its existing neighbours, i.e. the original art school and the fire station.212 Wheeler and Sproson’s whole plans included the revamping of the gateway and side entrance, figure.25 enclosing the site and recreating a classical typology for an educational institution by making the site a three sided but enclosed cloister. The plan also shows other prospective developments such as a main entrance and more buildings along the south side of the West Port. In 2018 the purchase of the long desired fire station completed the cloister for the ECA enclosing the site with College Buildings. Figure.26

The Wheeler and Sproson plans were quickly accepted, a full planning application was submitted in April of 1972 with development dates of Early 1973- Early 1975 with an estimated cost of £800000.213 When looking at the (now titled) Hunter Building (1977) today it is still sensitive to its surroundings and is a very much a functional structure. Figure.27 While this is true, we must ask is this a reflection on Womersley’s apparent failure to complete even his first full building for the College? Let us consider what Wheeler and Sproson inherited; both Womersley’s phasing/costing plan and Ove Arup’s engineering reports are found in the Wheeler and Sproson files relating to the Lauriston building, which clearly shows Womersley and Arup’s progress was not completely disregarded.214 Figure.19 Figure.28 The purchases for site clearances had already been made and the demolitions completed. The site was finalised and the two projected buildings had been amalgamated into one plan. Furthermore, the brief had been rewritten, parking allowances given permission and the Inner City Ring Road had been scrapped. While there were surely many details still to work out, all of these considerations had been dealt with. We can also ask ourselves, was Womersley outside of the ‘Edinburgh architectural elite’, like Matthew had complained on returning to Edinburgh? Womersley, with his small Borders-based practice may not have had the political and institutional support perhaps some others in his field did, while this can only really be a speculation without further investigation, one might wonder.


What becomes apparent early on in Womersley’s tenure as ECA architect is that there was a number of people to please. From the outset the SED was seemingly opposed to the expanded site. The Governors, the Heads of Departments, even the Student club warden, Mrs Russell all had to be considered. There was also the public voice, not least after they had spoken out against the ring road. Overall, the proposed “decked, multi-level redevelopment” of the Southside by Percy Johnson Marshall would have long running objections in Edinburgh;215 with locals George Square is often still seen as a blight. The demolitions involved with these developments were to directly give to rise to heritage bodies such as the Edinburgh Georgian Society (1956), later to become the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, which is still involved in screening planning applications to this day. The organization of such heritage bodies would definitely make large developments like Womersley’s more of a risk for both the SED and their Governmental masters, who would have been more than aware of this.

This story of ‘almost happened’ is not by any means a singular one for Edinburgh. The unbuilt ‘Opera house’ had and almost parallel timeline as well as being prolonged/protracted then ultimately unrealized.216 The ‘opera house’ project was similarly beset by concerns about its cost and the cost control competence of its designers; there were also worries about the impact of the building on views within the city, while William Kininmonth’s designs were a source of concern for the Scottish Office.217 Furthermore, the suggestion of an embarrassment to the “Secretary of State” is a reminder of how much of a political reflection these large schemes were.218 As at ECA, questions of finance and architectural networks conspired against the project, which ultimately was abandoned in 1975 when the money ran out. This comparison is useful in more than just failed local project, the fact that both higher education and ‘the arts’ had been receiving public subsidies since 1945 with the idea to educate and ‘culture’ the population; effectively to reform public taste.219 These can be seen under one umbrella along with larger ideas of the welfare state. At the opposite end of the period in question, Tony Crosland as Secretary of State for the Environment told us the “Party is Over” in regards to public expenditure and the release of 1975-76 Arts Council Report (the Arts in Hard Times) both show just how the tides had turned since the hopeful Education Buildings of the Early 1960s.220 However, as we have seen already, the budget restraints started in the mid 1960’s.

The letters and reminders from both the Corporation and the SED about the curbs set out by the Government were after all the given reason this scheme wasn’t realised. Yet this would seem an easy and simple answer to a large and complex set of situations that would end up in a four year and seemingly fruitless result. The funding issues start with Cowan who complained in 1960 that the SED’s suggested building budgets were far too low for a quality Art School Building project, for example, ashlar cladding would have to be reduced to concrete panels amongst other savings.221 Elain Harwood and Alan Powers mention in regards to housing in the period that “ a problem was the sheer difficulty with producing good architecture within cost limits”, and how now celebrated housing projects were severely criticised at the time (1965-1973) for cost and time overruns, this is some ways give us context of the Womersley project in broad terms of public funding of the period.222 Moreover, the article reframes the ‘difficult’ period in starting in 1965 and not the common 1970 reading, which helps frame the ECA projects too.223 While Womersley was blamed for the increases from projected costs by the contractors, money wasn’t the only reason, the Wheeler and Sproson planning application tells us their projected costs were £800000, this was almost double Womersley’s budget for the two, then single project, for the same site.

The Edinburgh ring road idea was thrown out with public objection. In other places like the charges of corruption at Newcastle and a reduced Glasgow ring road these mass and comprehensive plans would become toxic in the eyes of the public.224 As Richard Williams points out the late 1960s was a tumultuous time for modern architecture introducing his article on changes to the architectural press by the beginning of the 1970s by saying, ‘It would be easy to argue the British architectural profession was in crisis in the late 1960s’.225 He goes on to highlight the changes in Architectural Review’s Manplan issues that were broadly environmental and Architectural Design’s special issues on supposedly non architectural subjects including Education, but also highlighted the changing public opinion.226 The public had fallen out of love with modern architecture at just the same time as Womersley was trying to build a concrete megastructure in a disputed area such as Education. As early as 1960, Cowan was making comparisons to these earlier schemes. He had pointed out that Newcastle, Liverpool and Cambridge were all expanding.227 Cowan had also submitted statistics to an alterations committee comparing Edinburgh to Manchester and Liverpool to which had been chosen as they were similar in size and attached to existing pre-war buildings like ECA.228 As we have seen, educational institutions of the period had been seen to have failed after the cohesive plans of the early sixties. Womersley’s expansive plans can be seen against the backdrop of these negative public reactions, woven into the centre of Edinburgh, bridging over roads, walkways in the sky and vast modern complexes would all be tarred with the same brush. As we have also seen, Edinburgh had objected before, the bodies that ran the College would be aware that a concrete megastructure such as Womersley’s might have another ’violent reaction’.

Was there a power struggle between the Corporation (City) and the SED (Government)? If the Corporation had indeed been in control of the College until as recently as 1960 this may have been the case. While this may be speculation, the relationship between local and national or Edinburgh and Westminster has from the very inception been something of a power struggle. There can also be the suggestion that Womersley was the victim of what Robert Matthew described as Edinburgh architectural elite?

What we do know is the suggestion of direct negotiations with contractors in place of a Master of Works that might have led to cost variances were actually Arup’s suggestion (supported by Cottier) and not Womersley’s at all. The brief Womersley was given was out of date and his ‘client’ for the Planning Building was not holding the purse strings. Further to this, all the other voices at the College who would redirect Womersley during his tenure due to separate opinions and ambitions, often encouraging him to be bold against the direct warnings of financial constraints. The site was constantly changed due to the differing and conflicting views, the project varied due to expanding lists of requirements and Womersley, no matter how amiable, couldn’t please everybody.

This dissertation has looked a three College architects, two who managed to design finished projects, and Womersley who failed to get even one of his buildings to a stage of completion. Let us not forget that both Cowan and Wheeler had plans to build more, Cowan with his Sculpture Building, as part of his bigger plans before giving notice and Wheeler, with a more ambitious scheme than was built, including a new front entrance on the West Port. Figure.24

The easy assumption of increased costs and financial constraints that started in the mid 1960s worsening as we move into the 1970s as the only reason Womersley’s scheme was not built seems all too simple. The vastly increased budget for Wheelers Hunter Building would certainly suggest otherwise. Only after an examination of the archival material do we see the tensions between the ECA, SED and the Edinburgh Corporation. While the rise of Heritage bodies and negative public opinion must have played a role, poor brief, conflicting visions, an ever changing site, wider unease of large scale planning and personal ambitions were all factors. Thus, this appraisal says a lot about the realities of getting such a large scale and audacious project built, especially in such a difficult period, financially and politically. Womersley’s proposals for the ECA may not be to everybody’s taste, some may see this as a save for the city of Edinburgh, but this ambitious, fully integrated, technically advanced scheme may actually have been doomed from the beginning. Although this text as intended is fundamentally a historical account of what happened; the fact this project failed and it’s part in Womersley’s subsequent withdrawal from British architecture, it might be just as easily added to the list marked tragedy.


Primary Source Material:

Meeting Minutes:

Edinburgh College of Art, Governors’ Minutes, July 1967 –June 1978

Edinburgh College of Art, Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970

Edinburgh College of Art, Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971

Edinburgh College of Art, Governors’ Minutes, July 1971 –June 1972

Folders of Loose Leaf Material:

ECA 1/11/1/1, Folder 1 of 2, Stanley Wright’s Papers on The College Extensions and Maintenance Subcommittee 1964-1969

ECA/2/4/1/1/1, Part 1 of 2, Alterations and Replacement Folder

ECA/2/4/1/1/1, Part 1 of 2, Alterations and Replacement Folder

ECA 2/4/1/2/1 Part 1 of 2, Extension Scheme Folder

ECA 2/4/1/2/2 Part 2 of 2, Extension Scheme Folder

ECA 2/4/1/2/5 PART 1 of 3, Extension Scheme Folder

ECA 2/4/1/2/7, College Extension and other Building Works Folder

ECA 2/4/1/4/1, Ralph Cowan’s Development Plan 1966

Period Journal and Press Articles:

"Building Study/ County Offices." The Architects' Journal (Archive / 1929-2005) 148, no. 43 (Oct 23, 1968)/ 933-946

Coghill, Hamish and Ken Smart, “Six Votes Give Go-Ahead: The Ring Road”, Edinburgh Evening News and Dispatch, Friday, January 20, 1967.

Coghill, Hamish and Ken Smart, “No Ring Road: Mr Ross Throws out Traffic Plan”, Edinburgh Evening News, Wednesday, January 10, 1968.

Harling, Robert. “The Sunday Times House of Tomorrow” in The Sunday Times (August 6, 1961), Magazine Section (page No Missing).

Laird, Michael. critical study/ TWO SCOTTISH HOUSES/ 1 THE RIG, GATTONSIDE, MELROSE The Architects' Journal (Archive / 1929-2005); Jan 1, 1959; 129.

Moorhouse, Geoffrey. "Friction between Town and Gown." The Guardian (1959-2003), Jan 26, 1963.

Womersley, Peter. “Architects’ approach to Architecture,” RIBA Journal, no.126 (May 1969), PP.189-96

Womersley, Peter. "LETTERS/ Exposing the Small Practice." The Architects' Journal (Archive / 1929-2005) 149, no. 9 (Feb 26, 1969)/ 549-549, 551. https///

Development Plan:

Edinburgh Planning Department. City and Royal Burgh of Edinburgh Development Plan, 1965: Review; Written Statement. Edinburgh, 1966.

Secondary Source Material:

Banham, Reyner. The New Brutalism: Ethic or Aesthetic? London, 1966.

Baxter, Neil, and Fiona Sinclair (Editors). Scotstyle: 100 Years of Scottish Architecture (1916-2015). Edinburgh, 2016.

Calder, Barnabus. Raw Concrete: the Beauty of Brutalism, London, 2016.

Fair, Alistair. “A Cambridge Centenary: Alistair Fair reviews a significant year at Scroope Terrace” in C20 Magazine, no 1(2013) p.40.

Fair, Alistair. "‘An Object Lesson in How Not to Get Things Done’/ Edinburgh's Unbuilt ‘Opera House’, 1960–75." Architectural Heritage 27, no. 1 (2017) 91-117.

Fair, Alistair. Modern Playhouses: An Architectural History of Britain’s New Theatres 1945-1985. Oxford, 2018.

Glendinning, Miles. Modern Architect: The Life and times of Robert Matthew. London, 2008.

Glendinnning, Miles. Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision 1945-1975. East Linton, 1997.

Glendinning, Miles, Ranald. MacInnes, Aonghus. MacKechnie, and Royal Commission on the Ancient Historical Monuments of Scotland. A History of Scottish Architecture: From the Renaissance to the Present Day. Edinburgh,1996.

Gifford, John, Colin McWilliam, David Walker, and Christopher Wilson. Edinburgh. Buildings of Scotland. Harmondsworth, 1988.

Grindrod, John. Concretopia, Brecon, 2014. Williamson, Elizabeth., Anne. Riches, and Malcolm Higgs. Glasgow. Buildings of Scotland. Harmondsworth, 1990.

Harwood, Elain. Space Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-1975, London, 2015.

Harwood, Elain, and Alan Powers. "From Downturn to Diversity, Revisiting the 1970s." Twentieth Century Architecture, no. 10 (2012): 8-35.

Macmillan, Duncan. “A New School of Art: The Foundations to the 1960s” in; Revel: The Spirit of Edinburgh College of Art. Editors: Margaret Stewart and Sara Barnes, Edinburgh, 2009, pp.17-37 McKean, Charles., and David Walker. Dundee: An Illustrated Introduction. Architectural Guides to Scotland. Edinburgh, 1984.

Muthesius, Stephan. The Postwar University- Utopianist Campus and College (London, 2000)

Pattulo, Alan. “Both Loved and Loathed, Gala’s A-Listed Brutalist Stand is Under Threat.” The Scotsman (Jan 18, 2019)/, accessed 18/1/19.

Powers, Alan. Britain: Modern Architectures in History. London, 2007.

Waite, Richard. "WHAT A SAVE - FAIRYDEAN LISTED." The Architects' Journal 224, no. 22 (Dec 14, 2006)/ 16. https///

Williams, Richard. "Representing Architecture/ The British Architectural Press in the 1960s." Journal of Design History 9, no. 4 (1996)/ 285-96. http///

Williamson, Elizabeth., Anne. Riches, and Malcolm Higgs. Glasgow. Buildings of Scotland. Harmondsworth, 1990.


Footnote Abbreviations

ARF- Alterations and Replacement Folder

CEBWF- College Extension and other Building Works Folder

CEBWS- College Extensions and Building Works Subcommittee

CEMWS- College Extensions and Maintenance Works Subcommittee

ESF- Extension Scheme Folder

MoG- Meeting of the Governors

MoCC- Meeting of the College Committee Illustrations

1 Duncan Macmillan. “A New School of Art: The Foundations to the 1960s” in; Revel: The Spirit of Edinburgh College of Art (Edinburgh, 2009), p.17.

2 Macmillan, Duncan. “A New School of Art”, p.17.

3 Ibid

4 Ibid, p.23.

5 Ibid, p.19.

6 Ibid, p.32.

7 Ibid, p.25.

8 Macmillan, Duncan. “A New School of Art”, p.25.

9 Ibid

10 Peter Womersley. “Architects’ approach to Architecture”, RIBA Journal, no.126 (May 1969), P.190.

11 Peter Womersely. "LETTERS/ Exposing the Small Practice." Architects' Journal (Archive / 1929-2005) 149, no. 9 (Feb 26, 1969), p.549.

12 Womersley. “Architects’ approach to Architecture”, PP.189-96

13 Robert Harling. “The Sunday Times House of Tomorrow” in The Sunday Times (August 6, 1961) Magazine Section.

14 RSA Archive. Special Collections, Peter Womersley Collection, Black Solander Box, Miscellaneous Certificates. 1.1 - 1.13.2.

15 Elain Harwood. Space Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-1975, London, 2015. pp. 119,122,132-5,385,478.

16 Neil Baxter, Neil, and Fiona Sinclair. Scotstyle: 100 Years of Scottish Architecture (1916-2015). (Edinburgh, 2016), pp..102,111,125,135.

17 Glendinning, Miles et al. A History of Scottish Architecture: From the Renaissance to the Present Day (Edinburgh,1996), p.469.

18 Preserving Womersley Website. “Modernist Masterpiece at Risk: The A-Listed Bernat Klein Textitle Design Studio in the Scottish Borders”, Accessed 12/1/19.

19 Alan Pattulo. “Both Loved and Loathed, Gala’s A-Listed Brutalist Stand is Under Threat.” The Scotsman (Jan 18, 2019)

20 Wright, Scotstyle, p.121.

21 Ibid

22 McKean, Charles. and David Walker. Dundee: An Illustrated Introduction. Architectural Guides to Scotland. Edinburgh, 1984. P.67.

23 Williamson, Elizabeth., Anne. Riches, and Malcolm Higgs. Glasgow. Buildings of Scotland. (Harmondsworth, 1990) P.268.

24 Coghill, Hamish and Ken Smart, “Six Votes Give Go-Ahead: The Ring Road”, Edinburgh Evening News and Dispatch, January 20, 1967, p.11.

25 Coghill, Hamish and Ken Smart, “No Ring Road: Mr Ross Throws out Traffic Plan”, Edinburgh Evening News, Wednesday, January 10, 1968, pp.1-3

26 ECA/2/4/1/1/1, Part 1 of 2, Alterations and Replacement Folder, Letter from J.R. Brown to Town Clerk Dated 8/6/50.

27 ECA/2/4/1/1/1. Part 1 of 2, ARF, Letter from Alex Steele to J.R. Brown, 7/5/54.

28 Ibid

29 ECA/2/4/1/1/1. Part 1 of 2, ARF, Letter from Alex Steele to J.R. Brown, 7/5/54.

30 ECA/2/4/1/1/1. Part 1 of 2, ARF. Letter from Ralph Cowan to Principal Lyon, Dated 14/5/55.

31 ECA 2/4/1/2/1 Part 2 of 2, Extension Scheme Folder, Letter from J.R. Brown to Principal Robert Lyon with attached Extension Scheme Documents, Letter dated 28/8/59

32 ECA 2/4/1/2/2 Part 2 of 2, ESF, Minutes from Subcommittee (College Extensions) Dated 25/2/60.

33 ECA 2/4/1/2/2 Part 2 of 2, ESF, Minutes from Subcommittee (College Extensions) Dated 25/2/60.

34 Alistair Fair. “A Cambridge Centenary: Alistair Fair reviews a significant year at Scroope Terrace” in C20 Magazine, no 1(2013) p.40.

35 ECA 2/4/1/2/2 Part 2 of 2, ESF, Receipt from W.A.M. Good (SED) to J. R. Brown Confirming Ralph Cowan as College Architect, Dated 23/5/60.

36 ECA 2/4/1/2/2 Part 2 of 2, ESF, Application for planning consent, Sketch dated 4/12/59, Consent forms dated 1/3/60.

37 ECA 2/4/1/2/1 Part 1 of 2, ESF, Architects Program of Work with Dates 1/5/61 to 1/10/61.

38 ECA 2/4/1/2/5 Part 1 of 3, ESF, Alterations to College of Art meeting, Dated 3/8/64.

39 ECA 2/4/1/2/5 Part 1 of 3, ESF, Correspondence from J&F Anderson to J.R. Brown, Dated 24/10/64

40 Ibid

41 ECA 2/4/1/2/5 Part 1 of 3, ESF, Letter from T.W Hurst (Secretary, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Associated Hospitals) to J.R Brown, Dated 6/10/64.

42 ECA 2/4/1/4/1, Ralph Cowan’s Development Plan 1966.

43 John Gifford, Colin McWilliam, David Walker, and Christopher Wilson. Edinburgh. Buildings of Scotland (Harmondsworth,1988), pp..258-259.

44 Ibid

45 ECA 2/4/1/2/7, College Extension and Other Building Works Folder, Drafts of Development Plan, dated October 1965- March 1966.

46 ECA 2/4/1/2/7, CEBWF, Preliminary Report School of Town and County Planning by A.S. Travis, Head of School, Dated October 1965.

47 ECA2/4/1/2/7, CEBWF, Meeting Notes St Andrew’s House to Discuss Educational Developments in the Grassmarket, Dated 18/10/65.

48 Ibid

49 Ibid

50 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1966 –June 1967, College Extensions and Maintenance Work Subcommittee, 13/3/67, p.125.

51 Ibid

52 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1966 –June 1967, CEMWS, 13/3/67, p.125.

53 ECA 2/4/1/2/7, CEBWF, Letter from T.T. Hewitson to J.R. Brown, Dated July 1966.

54 Ibid

55 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1966 –June 1967, CEMWS, 13/3/67, p.125.

56 Ibid, p.126.

57 Ibid

58 Ibid

59 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1966 –June 1967, CEMWS, 13/3/67, p.163.

60 Ibid

61 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967 –June 1968, CEMWS, 10/8/67, p.9.

62 Ibid

63 Ibid

64 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967 –June 1968, CEMWS, 10/8/67, p.10.

65 Ibid

66 Ibid, p.11.

67 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967 –June 1968, CEMWS, 10/8/67, Appendix 1 refers to meeting, 16/5/67, p.13.

68 Ibid

69 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967 –June 1968, Meeting in the Board Room with Reps from City Planning and Engineering, 20/9/67, pp.17-18.

70 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967 –June 1968, 20/9/67, Meeting in the Board Room with Representatives from City Planning and Engineering, 20/9/67, pp.17-18.

71 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967 –June 1968, CEMWS, 23/10/67, p.35.

72 Ibid

73 Ibid, p.36.

74 Ibid, p.36.

75 Ibid, p.36.

76 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967–June 1968, Meeting of the Governors, 13/11/67, p.54.

77 Ibid, p.55.

78 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967 –June 1968, 13/11/67, MoG, p57

79 ECA 1/11/1/1, Folder 1 of 2, Stanley Wright’s Papers on The College Extensions and Maintenance Subcommittee 1964-1969, letter from Peter Womersley to J.R. Brown dated 3/1/68 with Report and Written Costed Phasing Plan attached.

80 Ibid

81 Ibid

82 ECA 1/11/1/1, Folder 1 of 2, Stanley Wright’s Papers on The College Extensions and Maintenance Subcommittee 1964-1969, Letter from Peter Womersley to J.R. Brown dated 3/1/68 with Report and Written Costed Phasing Plan attached.

83 Ibid

84 Ibid

85 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967–June 1968, CEMWS, 16/1/68, p.97.

86 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967–June 1968, MoG, 11/3/68, p.144.

87 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967–June 1968, CEMWS, 19/3/68, p.147.

88 Ibid

89 Ibid

90 Ibid

91Alistair Fair. Modern Playhouses: An Architectural History of Britain’s New Theatres 1945-1985. Oxford, 2018.

92 Womersley Muthesius. The Postwar University- Utopianist Campus and College (London, 2000) pp.138-179

93 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968–June 1969, MoG, 9/12/68, pp.59-60.

94 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968–June 1969, Meeting of the Governors, 11/2/69, p.121.

95 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968–June 1969, CEBWS, 6/3/69, pp.162-3.

96 Ibid

97 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968–June 1969, CEBWS, 11/6/69, p.209.

98 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967 –June 1968, 20/9/67, Meeting in the Board Room with Representatives from City Planning and Engineering, pp.17-18.

99 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967 –June 1968, 11/6/68, Meeting of the College Committee, p.188.

100 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967 –June 1968, CEMWS, 18/6/68, p.209.

101 Ibid, p.210.

102 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967 –June 1968, Special MoG, 21/8/68, p.8.

103 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, 26/11/68, MoCC, p51

104 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, 5/5/69, Finance Committee, p183

105 ECA 1/11/1/1, Stanley Wright’s Papers on The College Extensions and Maintenance Subcommittee 1964-1969, Letter from Peter Womersley to J.R. Brown dated 11/9/68.



108 ECA2/4/1/2/7, CEBWF, Letter from G.A Lyall to J.R. Brown, dated 25/9/68.

109 ECA 1/11/1/1, Folder 1 of 2, Stanley Wright’s Papers on The College Extensions and Maintenance Subcommittee 1964-1969, Document titled Development Plan and signed by J.R. Brown dated October, 1968.

110 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, CEBWS, 22/10/68, p31

111 Ibid, p.29.

112 Ibid

113 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, CEBWS, 6/3/69, p.161.

114 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967 –June 1968, MoG, 24/6/68, pp.216-217.

115 ECA2/4/1/2/7, CEBWF, Meeting Notes St Andrew’s House to Discuss Educational Developments in the Grassmarket, Dated 18/10/65.

116 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967 –June 1968, ad hoc Committee (Training of Architects and Planners), 28/11/67, pp.83-85.

117 Ibid.

118 Miles Glendinning, Modern Architect: The Life and times of Robert Matthew. London, 2008, p.147.

119 Ibid

120 Miles Glendinning, Modern Architect: The Life and times of Robert Matthew. London, 2008, p.147.

121 Ibid, p.146

122 Ibid, pp.146-147

123 Alistair Fair. "‘An Object Lesson in How Not to Get Things Done’/ Edinburgh's Unbuilt ‘Opera House’, 1960–75." Architectural Heritage 27, no. 1 (2016)/ 91-117. P.93.

124 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1967 –June 1968, ad hoc Committee (Training of Architects and Planners), 22/2/68, pp.113-115.

125 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, CEBWS, 6/3/69, pp.162-3.

126 Ibid

127 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, CEBWS, 6/3/69, pp.162-3.

128 Ibid

129 Ibid

130 Ibid

131 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, Meeting of the Governors, 10/3/69, p.167.

132ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, Meeting of the Governors, 10/3/69, p.167.

133 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, MoCC, 29/4/69, p.175.

134 Ibid

135 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, CEMWS, 11/6/69, p.209.

136 Ibid

137 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, MoG, 23/6/69, p226

138 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970, CEBWS, 28/10/69, p.35.

139 Ibid, pp.35-36.

140 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970, CEBWS, 28/10/69, p.59.

141 Ibid

142 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970, MoCC, 25/11/69, p.67.

143 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, MoG, 10/3/69, p.167.

144 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, MoCC, 10/6/69, pp.197-198.

145 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, MoG, 23/6/69, p.226.

146 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970, MoCC, 25/11/69, p.67.

147 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970, MoCC, 27/1/70, p.135.

148 Ibid

149 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970, MoCC, 27/1/70, p.135.

150 Ibid, p.136.

151 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970, MoG, 10/2/70, P.145.

152 Ibid

153 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970, MoG, 10/2/70, P.145.

154 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970, CEBWS, 24/2/70, P.154.

155 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970, CEBWS, 24/2/70, P.155.

156 Ibid, P.154.

157 Ibid

158 ECA 1/11/1/1, Folder 1 of 2, Stanley Wright’s Papers on The College Extensions and Maintenance Subcommittee 1964-1969, Letter from J. Kingsley Cook to Professor Stanley Wright 21/10/68.

159ECA 1/11/1/1, Folder 1 of 2, Stanley Wright’s Papers on The College Extensions and Maintenance Subcommittee 1964-1969, Letter from J. Kingsley Cook to Professor Stanley Wright 21/10/68.

160ECA Governor’s Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, CEBWS, 22/10/68, p.30.

161 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1968 –June 1969, MoG, 11/11/68, p.44.

162 Ibid

163 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970, CEBWS, 24/2/70, P.155.

164 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970, MoG, 9/3/70, P.161.

165 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970, MoG, 9/3/70, P.161.

166 Ibid

167 Ibid

168 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970, CEBWS, 25/5/1970, P.199.

169 Ibid

170ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1969 –June 1970, CEBWS, 25/5/1970, P.199.

171 Ibid

172 "Building Study/ County Offices." The Architects' Journal (Archive / 1929-2005) 148, no. 43 (Oct 23, 1968)/ 933-946, p.935.

173 Womersley, “Architects’ approach to Architecture,”, p.190.

174 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, MoCC, 29/9/70, P.16.

175 Elain Harwood and Alan Powers. "From Downturn to Diversity, Revisiting the 1970s." Twentieth Century Architecture, no. 10 (2012), p.10.

176 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, CEBWS, 18/12/70, P.93.

177 Ibid

178 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, CEBWS, 18/12/70, pp.93-94.

179 Ibid, p.94.

180 Ibid, p.95.

181 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, CEBWS, 18/12/70, p.95.

182 Ibid

183 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, Chairman’s Ad Hoc Committee, 22/12/70, P.101.

184 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, Chairman’s Ad Hoc Committee, 22/12/70, P.101.

185 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, MoG, 8/2/70, P.137.

186 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, CEBWS, 19/2/71, P.143.

187 Ibid

188 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, MoG, 8/3/71, p.181.

189 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, MoG, 8/3/71, p.181.

190 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, 12/2/71, Reps of Governors and SED meeting appendix in- CEBWS, 19/2/71, p.148.

191Ibid, p.149.

192 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, MoG, 8/3/71, p.181.

193 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, MoG, 8/3/71, p.181.

194 Ibid, p.183.

195 Ibid

196 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, MoG, 8/3/71, p.183.

197 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, CEBWS, 15/3/71, P.198.

198 Ibid

199 ECA Governor’s Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, MoG, 8/3/71, p.183.

200 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, CEBWS, 15/3/71, P.197.

201 Ibid, P.199.

202 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1970 –June 1971, CEBWS, 28/5/71, p.232.

203 Ibid

204 ECA Governors’ Minutes, July 1971- June 1972, Appointment of an Architect Subcommittee, 5/5/71, p.4.

205 Ibid

206 Ibid

207 ECA Governor’s Minutes – July 1971- June 1972, 5/7/71, Appointment of an Architect Subcommittee, p3

208 Ibid

209 Ibid

210 ECA 2/4/1/5/3- File containing Wheeler and Sproson material, Letter from W.A. Wheeler to the College, dated 16/8/71

211 Glendinning et al, A History of Scottish Architecture, p.601.

212 ECA 2/4/1/5/3- File containing Wheeler and Sproson material, Application for planning permission, dated 17/4/72.

213 ECA 2/4/1/5/3- File containing Wheeler and Sproson material, Application for planning permission, 17/4/72.

214 Womersley Phasing Plan February 1969, Wheeler and Sproson Archive, Manuscript Box 140, HES and Ove Arup soil Tests for Link Building Site, Wheeler and Sproson Archive, Manuscript Box 331, HES


215 Miles Glendinnning. Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision 1945-1975 (East Linton, 1997), pp.165-167.

216 Fair, Edinburgh’s unbuilt opera house. p.112.

217 Fair, Edinburgh’s unbuilt opera house, pp.97-98.

218 Fair, Edinburgh’s unbuilt opera house, p.98.

219 Alistair Fair. Modern Playhouses: An Architectural History of Britain’s New Theatres 1945-1985. Oxford, 2018. P.13

220 Ibid, pp.13-14

221 ECA/2/4/1/1/1, Part 1 of 2, ARF, letter from Ralph Cowan to J.R. Brown, Nov 1960.

222 Harwood and Powers. "From Downturn to Diversity, Revisiting the 1970s.", p.12.

223 Ibid, p.10.

224 Alan Powers. Britain: Modern Architectures in History (London, 2007), pp.156-157

225 Williams, Richard. "Representing Architecture/ The British Architectural Press in the 1960s." Journal of Design History 9, no. 4 (1996)/ 285-96. P.285

226 Williams, Richard. The British Architectural Press in the 1960s, P.285

227 ECA 2/4/1/2/2 Part 2 of 2, ESF, Minutes from Extensions and Maintenance Subcommittee, 25/2/60.

228 ECA 2/4/1/2/1, Part 1 of 2, ESF, Minutes from Alterations Committee Document, dated 27/2/58.