Basic Biographical Details

Name: Stanley Patrick Ross-Smith
Designation: Architect
Born: 25 June 1919
Died: 13 February 2010
Bio Notes: Stanley Patrick Ross-Smith was born on 25 June 1919 the son of James Ross-Smith, solicitor, supreme courts, and his wife Olive Edith Tetley. He was brought up and educated in Edinburgh, attending St Trinneans in the Grange and the Edinburgh Academy. He obtained office experience with Esmé Gordon in the firm of Robertson & Gordon from 1937 to 1938 before commencing classes at Edinburgh College of Art in the latter year.

Ross-Smith’s training was interrupted by war service. He initially enrolled with the Territorial Army and, under the command of fellow architect Basil Spence, was sent to build gun emplacements in the Edinburgh area. He was in the group of recruits who fired on and disabled a German bomber which threatened the Forth Rail Bridge on 16 October 1939. He was subsequently commissioned with the Lancashire Fusiliers and spent time in Manchester and Liverpool and then was moved to the Maunsell Sea Forts in the Thomas Estuary which were for the defence of London. He was eventually posted to an intelligence unit in Egypt, then moved to Greece where he was caught up in the civil war and captured in Athens, spending Chirstmas 1944 as a prisoner. He managed to escape and made his way to a British Unit.

After the cease of hostilities he resumed his studies in 1946. He travelled in Norway and Sweden in August 1947 and was a finalist for the Tite Prize that year and for the Rome Scholarship in 1948. He was admitted ARIBA on 14 December 1948, his proposers being Alfred Hugh Mottram, Basil Spence and Ebenezer James MacRae. His nomination papers give his private address as 19 Lockharton Avenue, Edinburgh; his declaration accepting his admittance is witnessed by Margaret Dykes of The Cottage, Grendon, Northampton. He married June Elizabeth Dykes, a charity manager, in 1948. The couple had three children. From 1948-77 he was a studio master at Edinburgh College of Art (where Esme Gordon also had a teaching post)

Ross-Smith worked as senior assistant (he was elected FRIAS in 1956) and later junior partner of Esmé Gordon before setting up practice on his own account in 1958 in Edinburgh with Ron Jamieson, whom he had met in Esme Gordon’s office. In his Fellowship Nomination Paper Gordon mentions that prior to setting up business on his own account Ross-Smith had already been responsible for designing and building a primary school and a church (presumably that at Pennywell). The practice flourished and they moved to offices to Great King Street. They tackled a wide variety of projects – schools, housing developments, hotels, churches and church-related work, industrial projects as well as work for the licensed trade. He was a representative of the Edinburgh chapter of the RIAS by 1964, and was admitted FRIBA in 1968, proposed by Esme Gordon, James AS H Mottrram and Thomas E Patrick.

Ross-Smith was a fine draughtsman and produced fine perspectives enhanced with watercolour, a medium he always enjoyed. As a designer he had a strong sense of ‘firmness and fitness of purpose’, as well as appreciating ‘light and shade and the sensitive enclosure of space’.

At the same time as conducting his practice, Ross-Smith worked on various charitable initiatives. He helped set up the Barony Housing Association, the object of which was to provide assisted accommodation for people who had spent time in prison or mental hospitals. Initially he worked as architect for the Association but later as a volunteer, chairing committees and raising funds. In 1971 he was a founding member of the Scottish Inland Waterways Association, formed after the closure of the Union and Forth & Clyde Canals to navigation and the proposals to turn them into roads. The Association worked to raise public awareness, clean up the canals and to show how they could be saved. He bought a boat which he moored at Ratho on the Union Canal and demonstrated the pleasures of cruising to MPs, councillors and journalists. In 1979 the boat was moved to the Edinburgh side of the blocked section of the canal and he helped organise a large rally in Harrison Park. The canal was again under threat because of the building of the Edinburgh by-pass but he and others successfully campaigned so that the Hermiston Gate aqueduct and the Gogar Station road bridge now allow boats free passage.

Ross-Smith was also much involved with the Seagull Trust Cruises which give disabled and disadvantaged people the opportunity to experience cruising. He served as trustee and vice-chariman of the Trust for a number of years. His involvement was very much ‘hands-on’. After retirement he spent each Friday evening as skipper of the crew at Ratho. He helped with the building of all eight trust boats and was architect to the Trust. His son Alpin who followed his father into the architectural profession designed the Falkirk boathouse and the Ratho reception centre and dry dock.

After retirement Ross-Smith and his wife moved to Clovenfords in the Borders then returned to Edinburgh but moved to Fair Isle before finally settling in Shetland. He died on * February 2010, survived by his wife, his son Patrick and daughter Caroline and eight grandchildren. Alpin had died in 1996.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 651, Kalliness, Weisdale, Shetland, ScotlandPrivate 2010 
Item 2 of 619, Lockarton Avenue, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1948 *  
Item 3 of 621, Warriston Crscent, Edinbugh, ScotlandPrivate1950 *  
Item 4 of 64, Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate/business(?)1964 *  
Item 5 of 625, Hope Terrace, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1968 *  
Item 6 of 625, India Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessBefore 1981(?)After 1985(?) 

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 5Robertson & Gordon19371938Apprentice 
Item 2 of 5Alexander Esmé Gordon (or Esmé Gordon)After 1948Before 1958Senior Assistant 
Item 3 of 5Alexander Esmé Gordon (or Esmé Gordon)After 1948Before 1958Junior Partner 
Item 4 of 5Ross-Smith & Jamieson1958 Partner 
Item 5 of 5Waters, Ross-Smith, Jamieson Partnershipc. 1975 Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6Alexander Esmé Gordon (or Esmé Gordon)17 July 1968For Fellowship
Item 2 of 6Ebenezer James MacRae14 December 1948for Associateship
Item 3 of 6Alfred Hugh Mottram14 December 1948for Associateship
Item 4 of 6James Allan Hugh Mottram (or James A H Mottram)17 July 1968For Fellowship
Item 5 of 6Thomas Edward Patrick17 July 1968For Fellowship
Item 6 of 6(Sir) Basil Urwin Spence14 December 1948for Associateship

Buildings and Designs

This architect was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 351949Church Hall, Pennywell RoadWest Pilton EdinburghScotlandArchitect in Charge
Item 2 of 351955Westerhall, WesterkirkLangholm DumfriesshireScotlandAlterations after fire
Item 3 of 351956GreencloaksGrange West LothianScotland 
Item 4 of 35January 1958(?)Craighall SchoolTrinity EdinburghScotlandper Builder 31 January 1958 p243
Item 5 of 351960sBrewery for Tennant Caledonian  GlasgowScotland 
Item 6 of 351960sWarehousing for Drybrough & Co.  GlasgowScotland 
Item 7 of 351962Craighall SchoolTrinity EdinburghScotlandAddition of primary school
Item 8 of 351962Middleton HouseGorebridge (near) MidlothianScotlandConversion of house and stable block to conference use.
Item 9 of 351963Loaningdale Approved SchoolBiggar LanarkshireScotland 
Item 10 of 351965Livingston Inn and coachyardLivingston Village West LothianScotland 
Item 11 of 351966Approved SchoolBeith AyrshireScotlandTwo new housing units, administration building, kitchen block and boiler house.
Item 12 of 351966Carnegie Court  EdinburghScotland 
Item 13 of 35Early 1960s100 person geriatric unit  GlasgowScotland 
Item 14 of 35Early 1960sHotelLivingston West LothianScotland 
Item 15 of 35Mid 1960sHouseKirkton of Slains AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 16 of 35c. 1970Public house work for Drybrough & Co   Scotland 
Item 17 of 351971Edinburgh Academy, Preparatory Department  EdinburghScotlandDining room added
Item 18 of 351973Edinburgh Academy, dining hall block  EdinburghScotlandInterior modified
Item 19 of 351973Peebles High SchoolPeebles PeeblesshireScotlandMajor refurbishment
Item 20 of 3519741-5 Gayfield Place  EdinburghScotlandRestoration - mainly responsible
Item 21 of 351974Primary SchoolWester Pencaitland East LothianScotland 
Item 22 of 35Before 1975Livingston Inn for DryboroughGreenock RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 23 of 35Before 1975Offices for NCR (National Cash Registers)  GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 35Before 1975Power Station  FifeScotlandListed under their work in 1975.
Item 25 of 35Before 1975Telephone Exchange industrial zone at Ashford HospitalAshford KentEngland 
Item 26 of 35Before 1975The Abercorn Public House  EdinburghScotland 
Item 27 of 35Before 1975The Vital Spark public house  GlasgowScotland 
Item 28 of 35Before 1975The Woodcutter public houseCumbernauld LanarkshireScotland 
Item 29 of 35Before 1975Warehouse for Associated BiscuitsBirkenshaw YorkshireEngland 
Item 30 of 35Before 1975Warehouse for HooverAirdrie LanarkshireScotland 
Item 31 of 351980Edzell LodgeInverleith EdinburghScotlandBrick extension
Item 32 of 35198118-22 Annandale Street  EdinburghScotlandStone repairs and replacements
Item 33 of 35Before 1981Block of houses, Drummond Place  EdinburghScotlandConservation
Item 34 of 35Before 1981Edinburgh college of Art, central administration building  EdinburghScotland 
Item 35 of 35Before 1981HouseDunveganSkyeInverness-shireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2Municipal Annual1964Scottish Municipal Annual1964-1965  
Item 2 of 2RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2RIAS Quarterly2010AutumnRoyal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)p.105: obituary
Item 2 of 2Scotsman15 June 2010  Obituary (titled 'Appreciation: Stanley Ross-Smith')

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2RIAS, Rutland SquareRecords of membership  
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no10231 (stored under F6273, combined box 129); F6273 (combined box 129)