© All rights reserved. Aitken to right.  Courtesy of Steven Robb 

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Basic Biographical Details

Name: James Moffatt Aitken
Designation: Architect
Born: 25 June 1908
Died: February 1970
Bio Notes: James Moffatt Aitken was born on 25 June 1908, perhaps a descendent of James Aitken who was the partner of William Lambie Moffatt in the 1870s. He was articled to Lyle & Constable in 1923 and studied at the School of Architecture, Edinburgh College of Art and Heriot-Watt College from 1924. On completing his apprenticeship in 1927 he remained with Lyle & Constable for a further year as assistant before joining the Edinburgh City Architect's Department as technical assistant to the City Architect, Ebenezer James MacRae. He obtained exemptions from the intermediate RIBA exam in 1929, and from the final exam in 1936. He was admitted ARIBA on 8 March 1937, his proposers being MacRae, John Begg and Arthur Forman Balfour Paul. His declaration accepting his admittance was witnessed by William Gordon Dey, a colleague in the City Architect's Department. Aitken was also a member of the Edinburgh Architectural Association.

In that same year he moved to Dublin, joining the staff of the Office of Public Works. He was appointed principal chief assistant to Denis Winston, chief architect of the Northern Ireland Ministry of Health and Local Government, and succeeded to the latter post in 1947 after Winston moved to Australia to become Chair of Town and Country Planning at the University of Sydney.

Aitken remained in the same post thereafter, with the exception of a few weeks during 1957 when the Ministry released him so that he could act as planning assessor at a public enquiry being held in connection with the St Andrews development plan. In 1963 he became chief planning officer to the Ministry of Development, and he led the design team for the new city of Craigavon.

Aitken died in February 1970.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 219, Perth Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1937 *  
Item 2 of 225, Merrion Square, Dublin, EireBusiness1939 *  

* 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 7Lyle & Constable19231927Apprentice 
Item 2 of 7Lyle & Constable19271928Assistant 
Item 3 of 7Edinburgh City Architect's Department (Edinburgh Corporation)19281937AssistantTechnical assistant under Ebenezer James MacRae, City Architect
Item 4 of 7Ebenezer James MacRae19281937AssistantTechnical assistant in Edinburgh City Architect's Department
Item 5 of 7Office of Public Works, Dublin19371947Chief AssistantWorking under Denis Winston, chief architect
Item 6 of 7Office of Public Works, Dublin19471963Chief Architect 
Item 7 of 7Ministry of Development, Dublin1963  Chief Planning Officer


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3John Begg8 March 1937for Associateship
Item 2 of 3Ebenezer James MacRae8 March 1937for Associateship
Item 3 of 3Arthur Forman Balfour Paul8 March 1937for Associateship


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 3RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 2 of 3Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA)1952RSUA Jubilee Yearbook 1951-52  Group photograph, facing p 37
Item 3 of 3Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA)1971RSUA Yearbook 1970-1971  p 76 - obituary

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Irish Builder26 February 1944No 86 p 84 - biography and portrait photograph

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Irish Architectural ArchiveDictionary of Irish Architects 1720-1940  
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no6291 (combined box 130)


© All rights reserved. Aitken to right.  Courtesy of Steven Robb 

© All rights reserved. Aitken to right. Courtesy of Steven Robb