Basic Biographical Details

Name: Richard Crichton
Designation: Architect
Born: c. 1771
Died: 17 August 1817
Bio Notes: Richard Crichton was born on 25 June 1771 in Edinburgh, the son of James Crichton, an Edinburgh mason who died in 1797 and his wife Mary Henderson who were married on 20 May 1771. James Crichton appears in Dean of Guild records in 1782 where he describes himself as ‘journeyman mason, aged 36 or thereby’. Richard Crichton started his career as a draughtsman for the Adam brothers. In May 1797 he was admitted a burgess of Edinburgh. He appears in Dean of Guild Court records for the first time in 1800 when he was involved in a dispute over the boundaries of a tenement which was being rebuilt in College Street. He may have designed the buildings but it is certain that he drew up a plan of the site as this is signed with his characteristic monogram.

In May 1797 he was admitted a burgess of Edinburgh. Colvin describes him as ‘competent and versatile’. He continued in the vein of the Adams in their extensive Scottish practice. Gask House in Perthshire and the Bank of Scotland on the Mound in Edinburgh were designed in the simple classical style of the later year of the Adams. However elsewhere his designs show that he was adept in using the castle style, and the Gothic, classical and Greek Revival styles.

Crichton married Mary Ritchie on 28 December 1810. Mary Ritchie was the sister of Charles Ritchie an ironmonger. Crichton went on to design a new shop for Ritchie.

From about 1810 Crichton designed a remarkable series of shopfronts in the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh. Typically these used large areas of glass and narrow pilasters between. He also produced a number of designs with a copious use of iron - verandas, balconies etc.

In 1813 Crichton entered the competition for the town planning scheme around Calton Hill. He shared the prize with William Reid of Glasgow and Alexander Nasmyth but none of their schemes were carried out. The commission eventually went to Archibald Elliott and included Calton Bridge.

Crichton was a subscriber to the Astronomical Society.

Crichton’s career was cut short when he died aged 46 on 17 August 1817, perhaps beause of the stress of the St Ann's Terrace disaster. His name was added to the Egyptian style monument that he had erected for his father in St Cuthbert’s Churchyard. His practice was continued by R & R Dickson, his nephews.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 110, James Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1817 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2Richard Dickson 1817Apprentice 
Item 2 of 2Robert Dickson Before 1817Apprentice 

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 31c. 1795Rossie CastleMontrose AngusScotland 
Item 2 of 311796Craig Parish ChurchCraig AngusScotland 
Item 3 of 311800Tenements  EdinburghScotlandDrew site plan and may have designed tenements
Item 4 of 311801Bank of Scotland Headquarters, The Mound  EdinburghScotlandOriginal building - jointly with Robert Reid
Item 5 of 311801Colinton HouseColinton EdinburghScotlandDrew elevation to correspond to plan provided by Thomas Harrison for Sir William Forbes.
Item 6 of 311801Gask HouseGask PerthshireScotland 
Item 7 of 311804Samuel Wordsworth's stables and inn  EdinburghScotland 
Item 8 of 31c. 1805Abercairney  PerthshireScotlandDesigned and commenced building of house (completed by R & R Dickson after Crichton's death)
Item 9 of 31c. 1805Gelston Castle, holiday centreCastle Douglas KirkcudbrightshireScotlandAttribution on stylistic grounds
Item 10 of 311806Nelson's Tower, Cluny HillForres MorayshireScotlandCompetition design
Item 11 of 311806Old Courthouse and JailStirling StirlingshireScotland 
Item 12 of 311807Dunglass  East LothianScotland 
Item 13 of 311807Inverkeithing Parish ChurchInverkeithing FifeScotlandRepairs and alterations
Item 14 of 311810House, Princes Street and St Andrew Street corner  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 15 of 311810Samuel Wordsworth's stables and inn  EdinburghScotlandAddition of covered veranda running the length of the terrace.
Item 16 of 311811Shop for Charles Ritchie, ironmonger  EdinburghScotland 
Item 17 of 311811Shop for Mrs Helen Black, Hanover Street and Rose Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 18 of 311813Blair Drummond CornerBlair Drummond PerthshireScotland 
Item 19 of 311813Shopfront for Andrew Milroy, jeweller, 35 North Bridge  EdinburghScotlandShopfront
Item 20 of 311813Warehouse, South Bridge  EdinburghScotlandAlterations to create warehouse with the insertion of cast iron beams. Working in conjunction with the architect James Thin.
Item 21 of 311814Kincardine-in-Menteith Parish ChurchBlair Drummond PerthshireScotlandOriginal building
Item 22 of 311814Meeting Hall for the Incorporation of Goldsmiths  EdinburghScotlandGoldsmiths' Hall within pre-existing tenement
Item 23 of 311814Parish ChurchKincardine-in-Menteith PerthshireScotland 
Item 24 of 311814The Regent Bridge  EdinburghScotlandSubmitted design - commission went to Elliot
Item 25 of 311815104 Princes Street  EdinburghScotlandIron balcony erected across the width of the building. Dean of Guild drawing not signed by Crichton but style links it to R & R Dickson.
Item 26 of 311815Balbirnie House, including walled garden and stablesMarkinch FifeScotlandEnlargement of House.
Item 27 of 31c. 1815Lawers House  PerthshireScotlandRemodelling of exterior
Item 28 of 311816Carriden ManseCarriden West LothianScotland 
Item 29 of 311816Cockpen Parish ChurchCockpen MidlothianScotlandDesigns drawn up.
Item 30 of 311816George Watson's College  EdinburghScotlandUnexecuted design
Item 31 of 311816St Ann's Terrace, North Bridge  EdinburghScotlandIn conjunction with his nephews, R and R Dickson. Crichton's monogram appears on the site plan. Also Crichton drew designs for individual tenements which are much more elaborate with Regency details.


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 6APSD The Dictionary of Architectureed Wyatt PapworthThe Architectural Publication Society (8v 1852-1892) 
Item 2 of 6Colvin, H M1995A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-18403rd editionNew Haven and London: Yale University Press 
Item 3 of 6Colvin, Howard2008A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 London: YUP. 4th edition 
Item 4 of 6Rock, Joe Designs in Iron by Richard Crichton (1771-1817) Online publication [n.d.] 
Item 5 of 6Scottish Record Society1933Roll of Edinburgh Burgesses   
Item 6 of 6Youngson, A J1966The Making of Classical Edinburgh Edinburgh University Presspp142, 307, n.36

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Scots Magazine1 July 1814