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:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|51, Kalliness, Weisdale, Shetland, Scotland||Private|| ||2010|| |
|19, Lockarton Avenue, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||1948 *|| || |
|21, Warriston Crscent, Edinbugh, Scotland||Private||1950 *|| || |
|4, Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private/business(?)||1964 *|| || |
|25, Hope Terrace, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||1968 *|| || |
|25, India Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||Before 1981(?)||After 1985(?)|| |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Municipal Annual||1964||Scottish Municipal Annual||1964-1965|| || |
|RIBA||1950||The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951|| ||London: Royal Institute of British Architects|| |
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|RIAS Quarterly||2010||Autumn||Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)||p.105: obituary|
|Scotsman||15 June 2010|| || ||Obituary (titled 'Appreciation: Stanley Ross-Smith')|
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|RIAS, Rutland Square||Records of membership|| || |
|RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert Museum||RIBA Nomination Papers|| ||A no10231 (stored under F6273, combined box 129); F6273 (combined box 129)|