Basic Biographical Details

Name: Stewart Hunter Cruden
Designation: Architect
Born: 22 January 1915
Died: 13 October 2002
Bio Notes: Stewart Hunter Cruden was born on 22 January 1915, the son of Alexander Stewart Cruden, architect, and his wife Mabel Hunter. He was educated at the Royal High School, Edinburgh and studied at Edinburgh College of Art from October 1933. Between his third and fourth years of study he spent a year in H M Office of Works. He was awarded travelling scholarships to Germany in 1936 (three weeks) and to France in 1938 (seven weeks), and obtained his diploma in 1939. He was admitted ARIBA on 12 December 1939, his proposers being Alfred Hugh Mottram, George Patrick Houston Watson and James Alexander Arnott. Mottram's supporting statement indicates that he had 'taken part in various excavations at Ancient Monuments etc. under the office works [sic] in the Orkneys and has recently been in charge of similar work on Traprain Law East Lothian'. He had also attended lectures on archaeology and Scottish history at the University.

War had already broken out by the time he qualified, however, and he joined the Royal Navy and was posted to the Destoryer Electra which was later sunk in the Battle of the Java Sea in 1942. He was one of only five sailors to survive for four days clinging to a life-raft. He was picked up by the Japanese and spent the raminder of the war in a prisoner of war camp. He gave classes on European architecture to his fellow inmates to try to keep up morale. He stayed on after the cease of hostilities to help the Dutch peace-keeping force and was later created a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau.

Cruden returned to his post in the Office of Works in 1946. He was elected ARIAS in 1956. He succeeded Dr James Richardson as Inspector of Ancient Monuments and headed up an increasingly large team until his retirement in 1984.

His greatest interest was in the Middle Ages and published widely on this period. He also wrote papers and guidebopks on monuments in state care and made important contributions to the study of medieval pottery. He taught for many years in the extra-mural department of the University. He thought of himself as a generalist in an increasingly specialist world. This led to a certain isolation which was made more apparent by transfer from the Ministry (which became the Property Services Agency) of functions to the Scottish Office. The Inspectorate, he felt, was increasingly regarded as having an advisory rather than a decision-making role, the decisions being taken by those with no real knowledge of the monuments temselves.

He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1952 and appointed OBA in 1972. His membership of the RIBA was terminated in 1973 presumably at the point at which he had decided his career was to continue with the Office of Works.

He died at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Edinburgh on 13 October 2002. His wife Elizabeth Downie Wright had predeceased him but he was survived by his three sons.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 493, Baronscourt Terrace, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1939 *  
Item 2 of 4Tighbeog, Avon Road, Barnton, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1950 *  
Item 3 of 423, Chester Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1955 *  
Item 4 of 487, Craigleith Road, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivateBefore 19702002 

* 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 1H M Office of Works (later Ministry of Works, Department of the Environment and Property Services Agency)October 1936September 1937AssistantProbably in Edinburgh office


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3James Alexander Arnott12 December 1939for Associateship
Item 2 of 3Alfred Hugh Mottram12 December 1939for Associateship
Item 3 of 3George Patrick Houston Watson12 December 1939for Associateship


Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1The Times26 November 2002  Obituary

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 no7300 (combined box 183)