Basic Biographical Details

Name: Kininmonth & Spence
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1932
Ended: 1934
Bio Notes: William Hardie Kininmonth was born in Forfar on 8 November 1904, the son of John Kininmonth and his wife Isabella McLean Hardie. He was educated at Dunfermline High School and George Watson's College. Thereafter he was articled to William N Thomson of Leith, and between 1924 and 1929 he pursued his studies in architecture at Edinburgh College of Art (under John Begg) and at Heriot-Watt College. From 1925 he also worked as an assistant in the office of Rowand Anderson & Balfour Paul.

Basil Spence was three years younger, born in Bombay on 13 August 1907. He was the son of Urwin Spence, an analytical chemist employed by the Indian civil service, and his wife Daisy Crisp. He was initially educated at the John Connon School in Bombay, but in 1919 was sent to Scotland and also attended Watson's. On leaving he enrolled at Edinburgh College of Art, initially to study painting and sculpture in September 1925. He soon transferred to architecture, being taught design practice and town planning by Frank Charles Mears and Harry Hubbard, and architectural history and theory by John Summerson who was only three years his senior. His other tutors at the College were Sydney J Miller, Leslie Grahame Thomson and George Washington Browne. Spence travelled extensively in England in 1927, in France in 1928 and also in Germany. In 1929 he gained the College's certificate and exemption from the RIBA's intermediate examination.

Both Kininmonth and Spence spent the 1929-30 session in Lutyens' office, and while there they took the opportunity of studying at the University of London under Professor Albert Richardson. On their return to Edinburgh, Spence won the Rowand Anderson Silver Medal in session 1930-31 (Kininmonth came second) and gained his diploma from Edinburgh College of Art. He won the RIBA Silver Medal as best architectural student in the UK in 1931, and in 1932 he tied with Robert Matthew as winner of the RIBA Arthur Cates Prize for town planning. In 1933 the RIBA also awarded Spence the Pugin Travelling Studentship and in the same year he was admitted an Associate, his proposers being John Begg, Reginald Fairlie and William James Walker Todd. Both Kininmonth and Spence secured part-time teaching posts at Edinburgh College of Art.

Although Balfour Paul had not been able to offer Kininmonth further work after his return from London, he did provide a room in his office. This had only a drawing-board and a telephone but it enabled Kininmonth to take Spence into partnership in 1932. Their practice was immediately successful, thanks in part to the connections of Kininmonth's radiologist brother, and Kininmonth's own modernist house at 46A Dick Place (1933) which proved an excellent advertisement. As well as design work the partners also specialised in presentations for other much larger practices.

In 1934 Paul offered Kininmonth a partnership which he felt he had to decline unless Spence was offered a partnership as well. Paul accepted this proposal and Kininmonth & Spence was merged into Paul's larger practice as Rowand Anderson, Paul & Partners. Both Kininmonth and Spence continued teaching, although by that date business had significantly recovered. This arrangement continued until June 1938 when Paul died.

From 1939 to 1941 Kininmonth held the post of senior lecturer in design at Edinburgh College of Art. In 1942 he was called up and served with the Royal Engineers in Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily and Italy. Spence, who had joined the Territorial Army in 1934, was commissioned in the Royal Artillery. He was seconded to the Camouflage Training & Development Unit at Farnham in Surrey and thereafter took part in the Normandy landings, during which he served as an intelligence officer and was twice mentioned in dispatches.

Kininmonth and Spence returned to Edinburgh in 1945 to find very little business, and they resumed teaching at Edinburgh College of Art. But in that year Spence was appointed Chief Architect to the' Britain Can Make It' exhibition. Their partnership dissolved, Kininmonth continued to practise in Edinburgh as Rowand Anderson Kininmonth & Paul. In November 1946 Spence set up Basil Spence & Partners with Bruce Robertson, also from the Rowand Anderson office.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness   

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3(Sir) William Hardie Kininmonth October 1931 or 19321934Partner 
Item 2 of 3(Sir) Basil Urwin SpenceOctober 1931 or 19321934PartnerClive Fenton states that the practice was established in 1931.
Item 3 of 3David Maxtone Craig19321934Draughtsman 

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice 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 1419326 Castlelaw RoadColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 2 of 141932Housing estateDuns BerwickshireScotland 
Item 3 of 141932Housing estate for Berwickshire County CouncilBurnmouth BerwickshireScotland 
Item 4 of 141932Lismohr  EdinburghScotland 
Item 5 of 141932Planning scheme for redevelopment of seafront, including fishermen's cottagesDunbar East LothianScotland 
Item 6 of 1419334 Easter Belmont Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 7 of 14193346A Dick Place  EdinburghScotland 
Item 8 of 141933Council housesDunbar East LothianScotlandDesign of original scheme
Item 9 of 141933Glenburn HouseGlenlockhart EdinburghScotlandApppers in Architect & Building News as this
Item 10 of 141933Prestwick Municipal Buildings, pavilion and officesPrestwick AyrshireScotlandCompetition design - placed second
Item 11 of 141933 or 1937Southern Motors Garage  EdinburghScotland 
Item 12 of 14193415 Braid Hills Avenue  EdinburghScotland 
Item 13 of 1419346 Comiston Rise  EdinburghScotland 
Item 14 of 141935Housing, 12-30 Victoria StreetDunbar East LothianScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 1Edwards, Brian1995Basil Spence 1907-1976   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Sent to DSA by emailInformation from AHRC/RCAHMS Spence project per David W Walker and Clive Fenton Additional information from David W Walker.