Basic Biographical Details

Name: Gordon Buchanan Biggar
Designation: Architect
Born: 2 June 1915
Died: 12 September 1991
Bio Notes: Gordon Buchanan Biggar was born on 2 June 1915, the son of John Lang Biggar, printer's designer and his wife Mary Reid Smith. He was educated at the High School of Glasgow. He commenced the diploma course at Glasgow School of Architecture in September 1932. For three years he was a full-time student, but for the remaining period he was part-time, working as an apprentice in the office of Wylie Shanks & Wylie from 1934-36 but then in the latter years joining the Architect's Section of the City Engineer's office as an assistant. He sat the professional practice exam in December 1937 and was awarded the diploma with distinction in June 1938. He was admitted ARIBA in 1938, his proposers being Thomas Harold Hughes, William James Smith and H Gilmour.

The following year, 1939, he took a post as second assistant to George A Boswell. However the war intervened and he spent the years of the war with Sir William Arrol as architect and site engineer and was posted to various different locations around the country, in both England and Scotland. In 1946 he was appointed Architect to the Burgh of Dollar where he designed new housing and planned the future development of the town. He transferred to a similar post in Alva in 1952 where again he was responsible for planning future development as well as designing private houses which at the time of his Fellowship application to the RIBA were 'in hand'.

He also was architect to the Stirlingshire Clackmannanshire and Kinross Territorial & Auxiliary Forces Association. In this capacity he designed TA Centres, married quarters, drill halls, shooting ranges, gragages and other buildings over the area. In 1948 he was appointed consulting architect with the master of works to the Governors of Dollar Academy, a permanent appointment.

At some point he became a partner with John Melvin & Son in Alloa. After the death of both of the other partners in the practice within a year of one another, he became sole principal and remained as such until his retirement in 1986. The firm was then wound up.

The practice largely worked in Alloa and Stirling. It was a general practice. An important client was the Decca Navigator Company for which the practice did the gorund installation work both in the UK and abroad.

Biggar was elected FRIBA in 1963, proposed by William James Smith, Frederick Robert Wylie and George Frederick Shanks. He served as Vice President of the RIAS and was President of the Stirling Chapter. His interests ouside work were golf and gardening.

In the RIAS collection at NMRS there is a collection of his student drawings which date from between 1935 and 1938.

He died on 12 September 1991, survived by his wife Janet Dalgleish Hay and at least one son.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 2Mar Street, Alloa, Clackmannanshire, ScotlandBusiness   
Item 2 of 28, Cluny Gardens, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate 1991 

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 6(Sir) William Arrol & Co Ltd  Architect(?) 
Item 2 of 6Wylie, Shanks & Wylie19341936Apprentice 
Item 3 of 6Glasgow Office of Public Works Architectural Department (later Glasgow Corporation City Engineer's Department)19361939Assistant 
Item 4 of 6George Arthur Boswell1939 Second Assistant 
Item 5 of 6(Sir) William Arrol & Co Ltd19391945ArchitectAlso acted as site engineer
Item 6 of 6John Melvin & SonBefore 1953After 1980Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 5Thomas Harold Hughes12 September 1938For Associateship
Item 2 of 5George Ferguson Smellie Shanks31 March 1953For Fellowship
Item 3 of 5(Professor) William James Smith12 September 1938For Associateship
Item 4 of 5(Professor) William James Smith31 March 1953For Fellowship
Item 5 of 5Frederick Robert Wylie31 March 1953For 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 81939Supreme Court  LagosNigeriaCompetition design - conjucntion with Walker Ramsay
Item 2 of 81946Messrs Younger & Son breweryAlloa ClackmannanshireScotlandVarious works
Item 3 of 81948Yeast Factory Menstrie PerthshireScotland 
Item 4 of 81950Forth paper mills, officesKilbagie ClackmannanshireScotlandReconstruction of offices
Item 5 of 81951Grain House probably for Messrs Younger & SonAlloa ClackmannanshireScotlandAlterations
Item 6 of 8Before 1953Clackmannan Drill HallClackmannan ClackmannanshireScotlandAdditions and alterations
Item 7 of 8Before 1953Dollar Academy, staff housesDollar ClackmannanshireScotland 
Item 8 of 81971Royal Bank of ScotlandAlloa ClackmannanshireScotlandRemodelling of ground floor.


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 2 of 2RIBA1970RIBA Directory 1970   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Builder18 August 1961  'Civic Trust Design Awards, 1960 - Results of Competitions in the County Boroughs, The Awards, Scotland' pp304-305 - served as assessor for Greenock projects
Item 2 of 2RIAS NewsletterOctober 1991v3, no2 Obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2H M Register HouseDeath Register  
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no6878, F no94780 (Combined Box 35)