Basic Biographical Details

Name: Peter Rice Whiston
Designation: Architect
Born: 19 October 1912
Died: 24 January 1999
Bio Notes: Peter Rice Whiston was born in Leith on 19 October 1912, the son of Thomas Vincent Whiston, electrical engineer, and his Irish wife Maria Barrett. The strict Roman Catholic family lived in a Leith tenement with a shared WC and no bathroom, and Peter and his six siblings were encouraged to work hard in order to ‘get on’ in life, which they all duly did. Peter was articled to Ebenezer James MacRae, Edinburgh City Architect for five years from October 1930, attending morning classes at the School of Architecture, Edinburgh College of Art. On completion of his apprenticeship he studied full-time for a further two years, obtaining his diploma in June 1937. He was awarded the RIBA Recognised Schools Silver Medal in that year. During this period he spent one month in Aberdeen and Norway and three weeks in Sweden in 1936, and one month in Paris in 1937. He was admitted ARIBA on 10 January 1938, his proposers being MacRae, Reginald Fairlie and William James Walker Todd. By that time he had been made a partner in Todd's firm of Dick Peddie, Todd & Jamieson, at an unusually early stage in his career. MacRae wrote of Whiston in his supporting statement: ‘he had a brilliant course at the School of Architecture in the College of Art, and has taken every opportunity of furthering his knowledge by travel and study.' Whiston was also an Associate of the Edinburgh Architectural Association, and in 1939 he was elected ARIAS.

During the Second World War he served with the Royal Engineers in India, where he was involved with the destruction of bridges to prevent invasion from the east, and rose to the rank of Captain. After the cease of hostilities in 1946 he was appointed Chief Architect to the Scottish Special Housing Association, building homes for returning servicemen.

Disapproving of moves towards high-rise construction, he left the SSHA in 1950 to establish a private practice that focused principally on ecclesiastical architecture, both Roman Catholic and Church of Scotland. He balanced post-war modernism with a sense of Scottish restraint, and used traditional materials including local stone, harling, pitch pine and cobbles recycled from Edinburgh streets. His church interiors are white and largely unadorned, save for the occasional sculpture specially commissioned from Whiston’s ECA contemporaries. Perhaps his most significant building is Sancta Maria Abbey at Nunraw, a Cistercian monastery built by the monks and volunteer builders to his designs. It was this building that earned him his appointment as a Knight of St Gregory the Great in 1969. By this time his practice appears to have been called Peter Rice & Partners.

Concurrently with his private practice, he was a Senior Lecturer at the ECA, and directed its first postgraduate course in Environmental Conservation. He also served on many ‘hanging’ committees for the Royal Scottish Academy.

He retired in 1977 and resigned his RIBA membership in July 1980, at which time he was living at Castle Moffat, Garvald, Haddington, East Lothian.

Although self-critical and rather shy, Whiston was a stimulating conversationalist with those close to him. He was married twice, first to Agnes Campbell, a schoolteacher, and second to Kathleen (‘Kaye’) Anne Moran Parker, a state-registered nurse. His second marriage produced one son and four daughters, who were a great source of happiness and pride to the couple.

Whiston died at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh on 24 January 1999 at which time he was a retired FRIAS. His stepdaughter registered his death, his wife having predeceased him in 1983.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 9SSHA/19, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh1, ScotlandBusiness   
Item 2 of 914, Grange Court, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate   
Item 3 of 9The Coach House/9a (or 9c), Napier Road, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate 1995 
Item 4 of 9Leith, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1912 Place of birth
Item 5 of 919, Clark Avenue, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1937After 1939 
Item 6 of 98, Albyn Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1937 or 1938After 1939 
Item 7 of 916, Stirling Road, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate(?)1953 *  
Item 8 of 9Whitehouse, Inveresk, Midlothian, ScotlandPrivate/business1964After 1975 
Item 9 of 9Castle Moffat, Haddington, East Lothian, ScotlandPrivate1980 *  

* 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 5Edinburgh City Architect's Department (Edinburgh Corporation)October 19301935ApprenticeWorking under Ebenezer James MacRae, City Architect
Item 2 of 5Ebenezer James MacRaeOctober 19301935ApprenticeIn Edinburgh City Architect's Department
Item 3 of 5Dick Peddie, Todd & Jamieson19371938Partner 
Item 4 of 5Scottish Special Housing Association (SSHA)19461950Chief Architect 
Item 5 of 5Peter Whiston & Partners1967 * Partner 

* earliest date known from documented sources.


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Reginald Francis Joseph Fairlie10 January 1938for Associateship
Item 2 of 3Ebenezer James MacRae10 January 1938for Associateship
Item 3 of 3William James Walker Todd10 January 1938for Associateship

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 22c. 19416 Western Terrace, Corstorphine Road  EdinburghScotlandAlterations to dining room, bathroom and pantry, plus air-raid shelter
Item 2 of 221950St Margaret's RC ChurchDavidson's Mains EdinburghScotland 
Item 3 of 22c. 1950SSHA Housing, Farm LaneDrongan AyrshireScotlandDesign proposed in 1951 (per Builder), but was presumably designed before Whiston's departure from SSHA
Item 4 of 22c. 1950SSHA Housing, Niddrie Marischal (reported as Muirhall)Niddrie Marischal EdinburghScotlandDesign proposed in 1951 (per Builder), but was presumably designed before Whiston's departure from SSHA
Item 5 of 221951Sancta Maria AbbeyNunraw East LothianScotland 
Item 6 of 221952Town HouseHaddington East LothianScotlandRepairs to court room and new neo-Georgian vestibule
Item 7 of 221955St Ninian Church of Scotland, LevenhallMusselburgh MidlothianScotland 
Item 8 of 221956County BuildingsHaddington East LothianScotlandS extension
Item 9 of 221956St Mark's ChurchFairmilehead EdinburghScotland 
Item 10 of 221956The Volunteer ArmsDalkeith MidlothianScotland 
Item 11 of 221958Elie HouseSt Monans Fife  
Item 12 of 221958Our Lady of Lourdes RC ChurchPerth PerthshireScotland 
Item 13 of 221958St Mary Magdalene RC ChurchPerth PerthshireScotland 
Item 14 of 221959St Mark's RC ChurchOxgangs EdinburghScotland 
Item 15 of 221960sSt Martin's RC ChurchPortobello EdinburghScotland 
Item 16 of 221961St Bernadette's RC ChurchTullibody ClackmannanshireScotland 
Item 17 of 221964St Columba's RC ChurchCupar FifeScotland 
Item 18 of 221965St Joseph's RC ChurchBalerno MidlothianScotlandInterior converted for present use.
Item 19 of 221967St Anthony's ChurchHigh Burnside, Rutherglen LanarkshireScotland 
Item 20 of 221968St Paul RC ChurchMuirhouse EdinburghScotland 
Item 21 of 221969Corpus Christi RC ChurchScotstounhill GlasgowScotland 
Item 22 of 221969St Ninian RC Church  DundeeScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 4Municipal Annual1964Scottish Municipal Annual1964-1965  
Item 2 of 4Pride, Glen L1999The Kingdom of Fife2nd EditionThe Rutland Pressp110, p165
Item 3 of 4RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 4 of 4RIBA1950The 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 3Builder30 March 1951  p469
Item 2 of 3RIAS NewsletterApril 1999v10, no3 Death note
Item 3 of 3The Independent16 February 1999  Obituary by Charles Fraser

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 3H M Register HouseDeath Register  
Item 2 of 3RIAS, Rutland SquareRecords of membership  
Item 3 of 3RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no6640 (combined box 151)