Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||Walter Fairbairn |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||1877 |
|Died: || |
|Bio Notes: ||Walter Fairbairn was born in 1877, educated at George Watson's College, and articled to William Hamilton Beattie in 1892. He left Beattie in 1896 to become an assistant in the offices of Frank Worthington Simon (1896-97), Robert Rowand Anderson (1897-99) and Leadbetter and Fairley (1899-1901) before returning to Simon and Anderson in the merged practice of Anderson, Simon & Crawford in 1901. During that period he had attended Simon's classes at the School of Applied Art and those of Heriot-Watt College, winning the Tite prize in 1901. In 1903, Fairbairn and George Donaldson Macniven were taken into partnership by Alfred Greig, who had also trained with Frank Worthington Simon and Rowand Anderson and was principal teacher of architecture at the School of Applied Art at that time. |
After the School of Applied Art merged as part of Edinburgh College of Art in 1906, Greig's appointment came to an end in 1908, but Fairbairn secured a part-time appointment at Edinburgh College of Art and Lauder Technical School in Dunfermline. The practice was based at 31 York Place and seems to have specialised in small-scale competitions, particularly for public libraries, but they also won that for a model United Free church for the Highlands, which brought a considerable number of commissions for small churches in that area. All three architects were admitted LRIBA in the mass intake of 20 July 1911 with the same proposers - John Wilson, James Bow Dunn and Thomas Duncan Rhind.
The partnership continued until the First World War when Macniven withdrew to enter government service. He married Maud Grace Hendry in 1922 and became in succession Principal Architect and Housing Commissioner for the Scottish Board of Health, Depute Chief Architect at the Department of Health for Scotland and later Chief Architect. He died in 1949.
On Macniven's withdrawal the partnership became Greig & Fairbairn and was fortunate in securing a share of the Scottish National Housing Company's Admiralty Dockyard Garden City at Rosyth in 1915, a development planned and partly designed by Alfred Hugh Mottram from Sir Raymond Unwin's office, which came to an end with the closure of the dockyard in 1925. Thereafter the partnership was dissolved; Fairbairn continued to specialise in housing work, becoming Chief Technical Officer of the Scottish Special Housing Association in 1937-39.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|31, York Place, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1903||c. 1915|| |
|9, Spence Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||c. 1903||c. 1909|| |
|58, Duddingston Park, Portobello, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||c. 1910|| ||From 1910 onwards|
|Glenkevock, Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland||Private/business(?)||1930 or 1931 *||1939 or 40A0s(?)|| |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
|The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Name||Date proposed||Notes|
|James Bow Dunn||20 July 1911||for Licentiateship|
|(Sir) Thomas Duncan Rhind||20 July 1911||for Licentiateship|
|John Watson||20 July 1911||for Licentiateship|
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Laperriere, Charles Baile de (ed.)||1991||The Royal Scottish Academy Exhibitors 1826-1990|| || || |
|Who's Who in Architecture||1914|| || || || |
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert Museum||RIBA Nomination Papers|| ||L v17 no1256|