Basic Biographical Details

Name: Leslie Hugh Wilson (known as Hugh Wilson)
Designation: Architect
Born: 1 May 1913
Died: 22 July 1985
Bio Notes: Leslie Hugh Wilson (later Sir Hugh) was born on 1 May 1913. He studied architecture at the London Polytechnic School of Architecture from January 1930 attending day classes for three years and evening classes for a further three. From May 1933 he was articled to H Shepherd Thomson and from September 1935 he was assistant to Louis Blanc. He sat the qualifying exam in July of that year and was admitted ARIBA on 2 December, proposed by Joseph Addison, H A Douglas and Edwin Roberts.

In 1945 Wilson became City Architect and Planning Officer of Canterbury. He designed a number of public buildings, including the Hanray School, and was responsible for the development plan for the town and the redevelopment plan for the central area.

In 1956 he moved to become chief architect and planning officer for Cumbernauld New Town, a position he held until 1962. There he drew up the master plan and was responsible for a range of buildings including housing, factories and shops. Wilson was admitted FRIAS in early 1957 and FRIBA on 4 October 1960, proposed by Professor Sir William Holford, E Maxwell Fry and Edward D Mills. Wilson was awarded an OBE sometime before 1960 and was later knighted.

He attended the International Union of Architects Congress Havana in 1963.

He was chair of the Commonwealth Board of Architectural Education when it was first established, in 1966.

In 1962 he established an independent practice in Cumbernauld. In 1964 he was joined in partnership by Lewis Womersley, the practice name becoming Hugh Wilson & Lewis Womersley. Further offices were opened in London and Manchester that year as well as an office in Cumbernauld town centre.

In 1970 Bill Armstrong and Eric Browning were assumed into partnership, with Ken Shone and Stuart Mackie joining in 1976 and Geoff Taplin and Malcolm Cundick joining in 1986. From 1976 there were offices in Perth and from 1985 an office in Edinburgh. In 1989 the practice was divided into Wilson Womersley Associates in Scotland and Wilson & Womersley in England but they were immediately sold to D Y Davis plc.

Meanwhile, Wilson had acted as consultant for the setting up of the new Department of the Environment, into which the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works was absorbed in 1970.

Wilson died on 22 July 1985.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 4Cumbernauld House, Cumbernauld, ScotlandBusiness1957 temporary headquarters for CDC architectural staff beginning sometime in 1957 (July?) per Builder 5 July 1957, p44
Item 2 of 4Cumbernauld Development Corporation, Mitchell Street, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness5 July 1957 'located for the past year at Mitchell Street...but with this development, the architectural staff under the Chief Architect, Mr. L. Hugh Wilson, OBE, ARIBA, has been transferred to temporary headquarters at Cumbernauld House.' per Builder p44
Item 3 of 4Bellfield, Dallatur, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivatec. 1960  
Item 4 of 46-24, Centre South, Cumbernauld, Dunbartonshire, ScotlandBusiness1970 *  

* 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 3H Shepherd ThomsonJanuary 19301933Apprentice 
Item 2 of 3Louis David BlancMay 1933August 1935Assistant 
Item 3 of 3Hugh Wilson & Lewis Womersley19641985Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6Joseph Addison1935For Associateship
Item 2 of 6Henry A Douglas1935For Associateship
Item 3 of 6E Maxwell Fry5 July 1960For Fellowship
Item 4 of 6(Professor Sir) William Graham Holford 5 July 1960For Fellowship
Item 5 of 6Edward D Mills5 July 1960For Fellowship
Item 6 of 6Edwin Roberts1935For 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 151957Cumbernauld Civic CentreCumbernauld LanarkshireScotlandAs Chief Architect to Cumbernauld Development Corporation until 1958?
Item 2 of 151958Cumbernauld New Town, preliminary planning proposals (Glasgow Overspill)Cumbernauld LanarkshireScotland 
Item 3 of 151958Park I housingCumbernauld LanarkshireScotland 
Item 4 of 151959Blairlinn advance factories, Blairlinn Industrial SiteCumbernauld New Town LanarkshireScotland 
Item 5 of 151959Cumbernauld Town Centre, Phase ICumbernauld LanarkshireScotlandAs Chief Architect and Planning Officer
Item 6 of 151959Seafar I HousingCumbernauld New Town LanarkshireScotland 
Item 7 of 151961Carbrain 1 and 2 housingCumbernauld New Town LanarkshireScotlandAs Chief Architect and Planning Officer
Item 8 of 151962Seafar 2 HousingCumbernauld New Town LanarkshireScotland 
Item 9 of 151964Muirhead III HousingCumbernauld New Town LanarkshireScotland 
Item 10 of 151966Irvine New TownIrvine AyrshireScotlandPlan drawn up - first scheme for designated area
Item 11 of 151967Ravenswood 1 HousingCumbernauld New Town LanarkshireScotland 
Item 12 of 151969Housing development, Partickhill RoadPartickhill GlasgowScotland 
Item 13 of 151969Irvine New TownIrvine AyrshireScotlandRevised scheme
Item 14 of 151975Nethergate Business Centre  DundeeScotland 
Item 15 of 151982Kirkgate Shopping CentreKirkcaldy FifeScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 5Bailey, Rebecca M1996Scottish architects' papers: a source book Edinburgh: The Rutland Pressp110
Item 2 of 5Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp30-1 Cumbernauld Town Centre
p34 Display panel for Seafar I
p84-5 Aerial of model of Town Centre
p170-1 Cumbernauld Original Housing Areas
p172 Cumbernauld Town Centre Phase I
Item 3 of 5Glendinning, Miles2008Modern architect: the life and times of Robert Matthew RIBA Publishingp370,384
Item 4 of 5Glendinning, Miles and Muthesius, Stefan1994Tower Block: Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland Yale University Press: New Haven and Londonp239 Cumbernauld Town Centre Phase 1
Item 5 of 5Miles Glendinning, Diane Watters, David Whitham Docomomo Scotland Leaflet  p229 image of Seafar 2
p230 Cumbernauld Town Centre

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Builder5 July 1957  p44
Item 2 of 4Builder22 May 1959  mentioned in 'Notes of the Week / Cumbernauld New Town' p912
Item 3 of 4Builder5 August 1960  Wilson to be visiting lecturer in new diploma course, per 'Civic Design: A New Diploma Course at Edinburgh' p.228
Item 4 of 4Builder3 July 1964  p3

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 3Courtesy of Roy HunterInterview of Roy Hunter by Jessica Taylor, 18 November 2009 Information on Wilson's involvement in setting up the Department of the Environment
Item 2 of 3RIAS, Rutland SquareRecords of membership  
Item 3 of 3RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A 5902 F 5467 (Combined Box 81)