Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Needham
Designation: Architect
Born: 2 April 1909
Died: 14 January 1990
Bio Notes: John Needham was born in Bradford, Yorkshire on 2 April 1909. From 1924 to 1927 he was articled to W P Peters of Leeds and continued after the completion of his articles for a further year as assistant. During this period he studied part-time at Leeds School of Architecture under Joseph Addison who was Head of the School at this time. In 1928 he became a full-time student, completing the course in 1931 after being exempted from the final exam and being elected ARIBA on 17 September of that year proposed by Norman Cullay, B R Gribbon, and Thomas Butlar Wilson. He spent 6 months in the office of J Stables of Ambleside that same year. He also was also on the teaching staff of Leeds School of Architecture but whether that was before or after the period with Stables is not yet clear. In 1929 while he was a student Needham had spent a two month period in France, Italy, Germany and Holland.

In 1937 he was awarded the Alfred Bossom Silver Medal, in 1938 the Alfred Bossom Gold Medal and the Soane Medal. In 1938 he became head of the School of Architecture at Dundee College of Art. In this post he made ‘that insignificant establishment into one of the most respected schools in the UK within the short space of 10 years’. For a number of years he was a visiting lecturer in environmental subjects in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of St Andrews.

In 1948 he was elected FRIBA proposed by Joseph Addison, Charles Geddes Soutar and John Donald Mills. In 1949 he was an Athens Bursar.
In 1950 he was invited by William Sinclair Gauldie and Arthur Frances Stevenson Wright to join them in partnership as Gauldie Hardie Wright & Needham.

Needham moved to Sheffield in 1957, where he held the post of Professor of Architecture at Sheffield University where he transformed the school from ‘a modest component of the arts faculty into the core of a completely new faculty of architectural studies’ Sheffield was the first in any British university to incorporate architecture, building science, town planning and landscape architecture. As such it embodied Needham’s ideal of architecture as the ‘intersection of all environmental skills’.

Needham was active in professional matters. From 1949 to 1951 he served as President of the Dundee Institute of Architects and Vice President of the RIAS. From 1968-70 he was President of the Sheffield Society of Architects and Surveyors. For several years he sat on the Council of the RIBA and on its Board of Architectural Education. He was often invited to be an external examiner and a competition assessor. For 25 years he was the Secretary of State’s appointee on the amenity committees of both the Scottish Electricity Boards.

He died in Newcastle upon Tyne on 14 January 1990. He was survived by his wife and their three daughters.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 3Dundee, ScotlandBusinessBefore 19501975 
Item 2 of 3Sheffield, Yorkshire, EnglandBusiness1975Before 1990 
Item 3 of 3Newcastle upon Tyne, EnglandPrivate/business(?)1990 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3W P Peters19241927Apprentice 
Item 2 of 3W P Peters19281928Assistant 
Item 3 of 3Gauldie, Hardie, Wright & Needham19501975Partner 

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 1J Stables1931 Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6Joseph Addison19 October 1948For Fellowship
Item 2 of 6Norman Culley17 September 1931For Associateship
Item 3 of 6B R Gribbon17 September 1931For Associateship
Item 4 of 6John Donald Mills19 October 1948For Fellowship
Item 5 of 6Charles Geddes Soutar19 October 1948For Fellowship
Item 6 of 6Thomas Butler Wilson17 September 1931For Associateship

RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 14John Philip Boys2 March 1954For Associateship
Item 2 of 14Richard Houston Dewar3 October 1953for Associateship
Item 3 of 14William Lamond Galloway4 March 1956For Licentiateship
Item 4 of 14William Fowler Howitt5 April 1949For Associateship
Item 5 of 14William Fowler Howitt17 July 1968For Fellowship
Item 6 of 14Kenneth Hall Murta7 June 1967for Fellowship
Item 7 of 14Frank PrideApril 1957For Fellowship
Item 8 of 14(Professor) Charles Calthorpe Robertson5 May 1953For Associateship
Item 9 of 14Lawrence Anderson Rolland10 January 1956For Fellowship
Item 10 of 14(Colonel) Herbert Morgan SmailLate 1952For Fellowship
Item 11 of 14Robert Stewart Smith4 February 1958For Associateship
Item 12 of 14John Robertson Stewart11 December 1951For Associateship
Item 13 of 14James Charles Edwards Tainsh11 December 1951For Assocxateship
Item 14 of 14Thomas Hill Thoms4 April 1950for Fellowship

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 371947County BuildingsCupar FifeScotlandExtension into Station Road - won competition to secure job, a start made to the extensions in March 1950
Item 2 of 371950Dundee Technical Institute  DundeeScotlandExtensions to the textile department
Item 3 of 371952House for W S GauldieInvergowrie PerthshireScotland 
Item 4 of 37Before 1954Bullionfield Paper WorksInvergowrie Perthshire/AngusScotlandNew materials' warehouse and new boiler house - may not be involved
Item 5 of 37Before 1954Premises of Messrs Alex Potter, shoemakers  DundeeScotlandProbably not involved. Alterations and reconstruction of fashion department and children's department
Item 6 of 37Before 1954The George public house  DundeeScotlandReconstruction
Item 7 of 371955Guardian Royal Exchange Building  DundeeScotlandMainly responsinble for the design though still in partnership
Item 8 of 371956General Accident Assurance CoPerth PerthshireScotland 
Item 9 of 37Before 1956Blackness Foundry, drawing office  DundeeScotlandNew drawing office
Item 10 of 37Before 1956HouseBlairgowrie PerthshireScotlandAlterations
Item 11 of 37Before 1956Lawside Dyework  DundeeScotlandExtension
Item 12 of 37Before 1956Private houseCarnoustie AngusScotland 
Item 13 of 37Before 1956Private houseAuchterhouse AngusScotland 
Item 14 of 37Before 1956Private houses  DundeeScotland 
Item 15 of 371957Students Hostel at MayfieldMayfield DundeeScotland 
Item 16 of 371958University HallSt Andrews FifeScotlandnew women's residence on grounds of hall
Item 17 of 371960Cupar County BuildingsCupar FifeScotlandWon competition and secured job
Item 18 of 371960Halls of ResidenceSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 19 of 371960Halls of residence for the College of Technology  DundeeScotland 
Item 20 of 371962Belmont Hall of residence  DundeeScotland 
Item 21 of 371963Engineering Factory for AEI Ltd  DundeeScotland 
Item 22 of 371963Engineering factory for Keith Blackman LtdArbroath AngusScotland 
Item 23 of 371963Psychiatric HospitalPerth PerthshireScotland 
Item 24 of 371963Psychiatric Hospital  DundeeScotland 
Item 25 of 371965Avenue Road HousingKinross Kinross-shireScotland 
Item 26 of 371965Royal Bank of ScotlandAlyth PerthshireScotland 
Item 27 of 371965Royal Bank of Scotland branch  DundeeScotland 
Item 28 of 371966DrumlinGlencarse PerthshireScotlandAlterations
Item 29 of 371966Old people's homes  DundeeScotland 
Item 30 of 371968Greenfield Primary School  DundeeScotland 
Item 31 of 371968Kirkton Neighbourhood Centre and LibraryArdler DundeeScotland 
Item 32 of 371968Williamson Memorial Unitarian Church  DundeeScotland 
Item 33 of 37Before 1970HousingLivingston West LothianScotland 
Item 34 of 37Before 1970Housing  DundeeScotland 
Item 35 of 37Before 1970Private housingCraigie DundeeScotland 
Item 36 of 371972Dundee Institute of Art and Technology, student flats  DundeeScotland 
Item 37 of 371972Regional Police Headquarters  DundeeScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp18 Belmont Hall of Residence
Item 2 of 2RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 6Builder27 January 1950  p150
Item 2 of 6Builder3 March 1950  p309
Item 3 of 6Builder31 March 1950  p438
Item 4 of 6Builder27 September 1957  'Presentation', p564
Item 5 of 6Building9 February 1990v255 p39 - obituary
Item 6 of 6RIBA JournalMarch 1990v97London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp106 - obituary by Sinclair Gauldie