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Basic Biographical Details

Name: Robert Forsyth
Designation: Architect
Born: 19 December 1921
Bio Notes: Robert Forsyth was born on 19 December 1921. In 1937 he was articled to the cinema specialists McNair & Elder. After completing his articles in 1941 he volunteered with the Royal Air Force Bomber Command serving as Flying Officer, Navigator in the Pathfinder Force. After demobilisation in November 1946, he took a post as assistant with Glasgow Corporation Education Department whilst attending Glasgow School of Architecture on a part-time basis. He was awarded his Diploma in June 1951. The following year he sat the qualifying exam and was admitted ARIBA on 8 January 1952.

In 1951 he had transferred to Glasgow Corporation City Architects Department, working mostly on schools, and was involved with the large programme of school building throughout the 1960s. In 1967 he was appointed Assistant County Architect of Lanarkshire where there were many cases of site subsidence due to mining and as a result became a member of the Consortium of Local Authorities Special Programme (CLASP). He had a major role in designing the CLASP system of building to cope with these site problems: a light steel framework on an extended concrete foundation with outside walls of concrete panels and windows. The buildings were designed on a grid allowing architects to make use of Computer Aided Design. In conjunction with the other members of the Consortium large contracts were entered into for the components which were then simply drawn off as required, a system which resulted in considerable savings.

The consolidation of Glasgow and five other local authorities into the Strathclyde Regional Council resulted in much varied local authority work for Forsyth. In 1970 he was appointed Depute Director of the Department of Architecture and Related Services in the Council. The post involved liaising with the Directors of various departments - Education, Social Work, Police and Fire - and assisting them to streamline their programmes of work and prepare briefs for passing on to staff. In 1981 he was promoted to the post of Senior Depute Director and as such assisted the Director in the management of the entire Strathclyde Regional Council architectural programme, a post which he held until his retirement in October 1986.

Forsyth served as President of the Glasgow Institute of Architects from 1978 to 1980 as well as serving for five years on the Architects Registration Council of the UK, as Vice President of the RIAS and a council member of the RIBA. In his private life he was a member of the Royal Technical College Sailing Club and of the Royal Technical College Amateur Football Team which won the Scottish amateur cup in 1954.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 6Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate/business   
Item 2 of 6607, Duke Street, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1950 *  
Item 3 of 633, Greenholm Avenue, Clarkston, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1960 *After 1965 
Item 4 of 651, Mearns Road, Clarkston, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1970  
Item 5 of 6Dept of Arct'ure and Related Services, Regional O, Cotton Street, Paisley, Renfrewshire, ScotlandBusiness1979 *  
Item 6 of 6Homecroft, Uplawmoor, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate1987 *  

* 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 6McNair & Elder19371941Apprentice 
Item 2 of 6Glasgow Corporation Education Office19471951Assistant 
Item 3 of 6Glasgow Office of Public Works Architectural Department (later Glasgow Corporation City Engineer's Department)1951 Architect 
Item 4 of 6Lanarkshire County Architect's Department1967   
Item 5 of 6Strathclyde Regional Council Department of Architecture and Related Services1970 Depute Director 
Item 6 of 6Strathclyde Regional Council Department of Architecture and Related Services1981 Senior Depute Direct 

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 5 Smithycroft Secondary SchoolRiddrie GlasgowScotlandProject architect for City Architects Department (no date)
Item 2 of 51935Bellgrove Hotel  GlasgowScotlandAs apprentice to McNair & Elder
Item 3 of 51937State CinemaKing's Park GlasgowScotlandAs apprentice to McNair & Elder
Item 4 of 51937State CinemaShettleston GlasgowScotlandAs apprentice to McNair & Elder
Item 5 of 51939Ascot CinemaAnniesland GlasgowScotlandAs apprentice to McNair & Elder


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 8Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp177-8 Smithycroft Road Secondary School
Item 2 of 8Peter, Bruce1996100 Years of Glasgow's Amazing Cinemas Edinburgh: Polygonp 8
Item 3 of 8RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 4 of 8RIBA1961Kalendar 1960-61   
Item 5 of 8RIBA1965The RIBA Kalendar   
Item 6 of 8RIBA1970RIBA Directory 1970   
Item 7 of 8RIBA1979Directory of members   
Item 8 of 8RIBA1987RIBA Directory of Members 1987   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Information kindly supplied by Mr Robert Forsyth


© All rights reserved. Image kindly supplied by Mr Forsyth 

© All rights reserved. Image kindly supplied by Mr Forsyth