Larger versions of these images are located at the foot of the page.
Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||Alexander Ritchie Conlon |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||29 July 1913 |
|Died: ||1983 |
|Bio Notes: ||Alexander Ritchie Conlon (‘Alex’) was born in Edinburgh at 6 Legget’s Land, Dean on the 29 July 1913, the son of Peter and Jessie Conlon. He was the second youngest of six children having three brothers and two sisters. He was educated at Holy Cross Academy in Edinburgh which he left in 1927 or 1928 aged about 14 years. The family were not well off but were conscious that education was important in improving the circumstances of the children. Conlon joined the Boys Scouts in the 1930s and it was in the Scouts that he made friends with members of Edinburgh’s Italian community, some friendships lasting many years. From 1929-32 he attended classes at Edinburgh College of Art and Heriot-Watt College and took classes in ‘Technical Architecture’. On 30 March 1937 he became a student member of the RIAS. |
At the outbreak of war he joined the Royal Engineers and was initially sent to a training camp in Elgin. He must have found time to continue his studies during this period as he was admitted ARIAS on 7 February 1940. In June 1941 he was commissioned with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. He served throughout the war with the Royal Engineers in bomb disposal. He recalled going to Normandy on about D-Day + 3 and mentioned being ‘at’ a camp called Belsen. Just after the end of the war he was in Berlin and sent postcards home which are still held by his family.
On 5th July 1943, he had married Ellaline Monk in St Mary’s Church, Eccles Lancashire. In the initial years after the end of the war, he and Ellaline (‘Ella’) lived in rented properties in Edinburgh. Between 1948 and 1961, they had five children, three boys and two girls, though none followed him into architecture. In the early 1950’s, the couple purchased a house at 4, Belford Terrace, Edinburgh and this was to remain the family home till 1978 or 1979.
It is not clear when Conlon joined the practice of Reginald Fairlie. It may have been around the time of becoming a student member of the RIAS. He became a partner in the early 1950s. After Fairlie’s death in 1952 the practice was run by Conlon and another partner, Charles Gray. Gray left in about 1958 and Conlon remained as sole partner working at the Fairlie offices at 7, Raeburn Place, Edinburgh until the late 1960s. During the 1950s the completion of a number of churches, the artist Peter Miller painted representations of them. His son Drew recalls that during the 1960s Conlon was involved with groups opposing the to the proposed Edinburgh Inner Ring Road.
After the Fairlie practice was wound down Conlon moved to the office of Harley Haddow and Partners. He described accepting with cheerful resignation, not designing whole buildings now but receiving frequent requests to do the less glamorous tasks – ‘Alex will you design the drains?’).. He continued to live at 4 Belford Terrace until the house was sold in 1979. He then lived at 7a, Coltbridge Avenue, Roseburn until his death in 1983
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|4, Belford Terrace, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business|| || || |
|7a, Coltbridge Terrace, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private|| ||1983|| |
Employment and Training
|The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Name||Date from||Date to||Position||Notes|
|Reginald Fairlie & Partners||1950|| ||Partner|| |
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Glendinning, Miles||1997||Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75 || ||Tuckwell Press Ltd||p162 National Library of Scotland|
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|Courtesy of Drew Conlon||Information sent to Dictionary|| ||Biography based on information sent by Drew Conlon.|
|Professor David M Walker personal archive||Professor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material|| ||Personal recollections of David M Walker|
© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Drew Conlon