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Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||Harold Roland Wedgwood |
|Designation: ||Architectural practice |
|Started: ||8 November 1929 |
|Ended: ||29 October 2011 |
|Bio Notes: ||Harold Roland Wedgwood, generally known as Roland, was born in Sussex on 8 November 1929, the son of a metal and woodwork teacher who was also a skilled cabinetmaker and whose family were descendants of the Wedgwood pottery dynasty. He was educated at Watford Grammar School. He left school at 15 and studied for the diploma in architecture at the Regent Street Polytechnic in London. During the course of his studies he spent a year with a frim of architects in Zurich where he met Garaham Dodd with whom he later formed a partnership. He was admitted ARIBA in 1951 (and ARIAS in 1965). |
For a three-year period after graduation, he worked in Hertfordshire in the BRE (Building Research Establishment) which was based in Watford. At the BRE he worked on modular co-ordination and colour and later lectured on the subject of colour. He also later published articles in the Architects Yearbook on modular co-ordination. His years of National Service were spent as a Second Lieutenant with the Royal Engineers. He was posted in Suez, Cyprus and Greece. He had also spent a period of time working in private offices in London and Zurich, and a year with Constantinos Doxiadis in Athens.
During his school years he had met Claude D Ripley. Wedgwood and Ripley travelled to Greece in 1957 where Wedgwood worked for the Greek architect Constantine Doxiados. Ripley later had a post with the Bank of England in London but left to start a property development business. Wedgwood and Ripley together designed a scout hut. Wedgwood arrived in Edinburgh in 1959 in response to an advertisement for a post in the newly established Edinburgh University Housing Research Unit. During this period he embarked on a doctoral thesis which was supervised by Sir Robert Matthew and Colin Buchanan. Wedgwood became acquainted with Norman Dunhill who was also working at the Unit. He was sponsored by Rowntree with the specific purpose of promoting co-ownership of housing on the Scandinavian model.
In 1963 Wedgwood resigned partly because of friction with the Unit. Frederic Stevenson who was head of the Unit was not a strong enough character to make to the unit work cohesively. Wedgwood opened his own practice around this time with Richard Martin as an employee, though the latter was not as yet fully qualified. Wedgwood was spending much of his time on his thesis. Ripley employed Wedgwood to develop a property which he had bought at 9 Clarendon Crescent in Edinburgh. In 1964 Richard Martin returned to complete his training at the University and Dermot Quinn filled his place.
In the early 1960s the building company Boland had acquired the walled garden at Ravelston. Roland Wedgwood was granted permission to build a house for himself in the lower walled garden there. A commission for a group of houses grew out of this. The initial scheme was designed by Ross Porter with some input from Wedgwood. However this was rejected by Boland. The scheme was resurrected a year later when Quinn redesigned it in a simplified form as the earlier scheme had been ruled out because of costs. In due course a series of houses were constructed on the side of the road in from the west entrance.
The practice moved to Well Court Hall in 1965. In the late 1960s Norman Dunhill from the EUHRU created the Southfield Housing Association which was designed to be the ‘mother’ housing association from which others would spring and was linked to the University. This was specifically set up to finance a scheme of co-ownership housing at Southfield, Barnton. Dunhill successfully raised the money for this scheme. Dermot Quinn had a large share in the responsibility for the design. The Weir Corporation was one of the funding partners their share being subsequently sold off to the Link Housing Association. Dunhill was later poached by the Housing Corporation agency and became its head but later fell out with the Government over money matters and subsequently became the head of Viewpoint Housing Association.
The Southfield scheme was a large truly integrated co-operative scheme. There was one boiler-house providing all the heating. The houses were arranged around the perimeter of the site with private gardens leading to common gardens within the central space.
About the same time as the Barton housing, the practice designed a private house in Auchterarder for the parents of Dorothy Ryle, Sir Robert Matthew’s secretary.
In the mid-1960s a project was considered for flatted dwellings on a site owned by Claude Ripley in Ravelston Terrace adjacent to Dean Cemetery. This project was however abandoned and Scottish Agricultural Industries acquired the lower part of the site to build their head office and a separate computer building.
In 1967 the computer office was built with Ross Porter being the main designer. In 1968 SAI put the head office on hold and with very little work coming in, the consequence was that both Dermott Quinn and Ross Porter left. Porter went to work in London and Quinn to join the Scottish Office.
In 1969 SAI gave the go-ahead for the head office building and Alastair Scott who was with RMJM was brought in to act as job architect. Around this time Scott was the sole architect with Roland Wedgwood and remained so until 1970 when Fred Walker joined. Among other jobs at the practice Walker was responsible for the design of a housing project in High Green, Edinburgh which won a Royal Scottish Academy award. However the project was not taken forward.
During the early 1970s the practice picked up and jobs became more plentiful. Many domestic alterations and extensions were carried out. As more work came in the staff increased and in 1974 Jim Abbot joined together with more short term employees.
In 1974 the firm of Fergus McIlveen architects in Belfast passed to Roland Wedgwood Associates a project for a government centre in East Belfast. Scott carried out the initial design work which was in turn passed to Fergus Lenaghan as job architect when he joined the practice in 1975. This project was illustrated in ‘Domus’ issue 553.
During this period, initial design work was carried out for a sheltered housing project for Viewpoint Housing Association at St Albans Road, Edinburgh. When Walker and Scott left to form their own practice, the project was passed on to them with the approval of both Wedgwood and Viewpoint.
Bob Anderson joined the practice in 1976. He worked on the Lynedoch House sheltered housing project in which Claude Ripley and Norman Dunhill were involved in developing and funding. Lynedoch House was the first metric brick building passed by the city planners in Edinburgh new Town. The building won the RIBA Bronze Award for Scotland in 1970 and a Saltire Award in 1980.
Shortly after the completion of the Lynedoch House project, Roland Wedgwood Associates became Roland Wedgwood & Partners with Fergus Lenaghan and Bob Anderson becoming partners. The period 1979-83 was taken up with a number of sheltered housing projects including Northwood House and Lauder Road sheltered housing again supported by Norman Dunhill for Viewpoint Housing Association. Also during this period the office was working on the Castle terrace development project for a Hilton Hotel. This job was won as a result of a competition. However although various developers took an interest in the project and planning consent was granted the project was cancelled.
At the end of 1983 the partnership was dissolved and Anderson and Lenaghan both left and set up their respective practices.
In 1986 Scott re-joined Roland Wedgwood as a freelance architect to act as job architect for St Raphael’s project and joined Nick Cook who at that time was helping with the initial design of the five storey sheltered block. Cook continued to work on this project until 1988. It was an again a multi-phased project with Viewpoint Association as clients. The project consisted of sheltered housing, retirement flats, accommodation for retired nursing staff and nursing rooms for the elderly. The last phase of this project was the alterations and extensions to the existing house with a new head office for Viewpoint. This phase was carried out with the help of Leslie Burgher.
After the completion of St Raphael’s, Viewpoint requested two further projects. The first in 1992 were the extensions and alterations to their care homes at Ettrick Road, Edinburgh. The design work for this project was carried out and was granted planning consent. The second in 1993 was the design of a swimming pool for the elderly in the grounds of St Raphael’s Care Home. However both projects were axed when Norman Dunhill left Viewpoint and a new director was appointed.
One of the final jobs carried by Roland Wedgwood was the alterations and additions to a top flat in Randolph Cliff, Edinburgh comprising a roof top viewing platform looking towards the Forth. The job architect for this was Michael Gray.
Wedgwood's final building interest was the work on his house in France which lasted into 2005-6 at which point ill-health overtook him. He died peacefully on 29 October 2011 after a long illness.
In the early 1980s Wedgwood was a studio teacher at Edinburgh College of Art. He was elected associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1986 and an Academician in 2005, FRIAS in 1991 and served on the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland. As a person he was generous and had a great joie de vivre. His niece Katherine recalls 'he would dash into our lives with such panache, usually behind the wheel of an exotic autombile, and drive out of it just as stylishly having doled out ten shilling notes to us all...Oh how we admired and loved him. And when he was with us he would bring an energy and life into our routine lives - a breath of sophistication and style, humour and wit, that left us feeling flat and bereft as he drove gaily away until next time'.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|1, Oxford Terrace, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||1965 *|| || |
|Well Court Hall, Dean Village, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1965||After 1975|| |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
Buildings and Designs
|This architectural practice was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Date started||Building name||Town, district or village||Island||City or county||Country||Notes|
|1960s||Well Court||Dean Village|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Altered Well Court Hall for use as an office for his practice|
|1965||110 houses and flats at Southfield||Barnton|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1965||9 Clarendon Crescent|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Conversion of house into 4 flats|
|1965||Flats, Orchard Brae Avenue|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Scheme of housing and offices - not executed.|
|1965||Housing Craigmount Avenue North|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1966||Housing, Ravelston House Road|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1967||69-85 Ravelston Dykes Road|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1967||Scottish Agricultural Industries, computer building|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1968||Scottish Agricultural Industries Head Office|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|Early 1960s||Oxford Terrace|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Altered no.1 for his own use|
|1970||Housing, High Green|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|c. 1970||Office for Croythorn Development Corporation|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Facade design only|
|1972||Rossleigh's car showroom|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|Before 1973||Dean Skinnery||Dean Village|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Development proposal|
|1974||East Belfast GovernmentTraining Centre|| || ||Belfast||Northern Ireland|| |
|1974||Sheltered housing for Viewpoint Housing Association|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Began project|
|1977||Lynedoch House sheltered housing|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1977||Peaton House||Coulport|| ||Argyll and Bute||Scotland||Removal of Victorian Bay. Internal reorganisation. Restoration.|
|1977||Sylvan Cottage||Gullane|| ||East Lothian||Scotland|| |
|1978||Blair Adam|| || ||Kinross-shire||Scotland||Eradication of dry rot and formulation of long-term conservation plan.|
|1978||House, Goose Green||Gullane|| ||East Lothian||Scotland||Alterations|
|1979||Castle Terrace Development || || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Won competition but project abandoned|
|1979||Northwood|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Alterations and reconstruction for Viewpoint Housing Association|
|1979||Rosemount Buildings (workmen's houses)|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Repairs and strengthening|
|1970s or 1980s||St Raphael's Care Home||Grange|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1980||Cromlix House||Dunblane|| ||Perthshire||Scotland||Conversion of house to hotel.|
|1981||Villa in garden of no 18 Lauder Road||Grange|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland|| |
|1986||Kilravock Lodge||Grange|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Multi-phased project which included: 5-storey sheltered housing (32 flats, 2 guest rooms and common room); 2-storey retirement flats (28 units and common room), 2 lodges; quiet room for retired nursing nuns; 8 nursing rooms and 2 common rooms|
|1988||Canal side restaurant, Forth & Clyde Canal||Kirkintilloch|| ||Dunbartonshire||Scotland||Won competition|
|1988||Saltire Court|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Competition entry|
|Mid 1980s||Bruntshiels||Baldinnie|| ||Fife||Scotland||Conversion to house - for himself|
|Late 1990||Les Bruyères aux Mouches|| || ||Burgundy||France||Alterations, for himself|
|1992||Care home, Ettrick Road|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Extensions - Viewpoint commissioned the Wedgwood practice to do this work but the job was passed to Alastair Scott who was freelance. |
|1993||Flat, Randolph Cliff|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Alterations and extensions including roof-top platform|
|1993||Kilravock Lodge||Grange|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Extensions|
|1993||Swimming pool for the elderly||Grange|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Viewpoint commissioned the Wedgwood practice to do this work but the job was passed to Alastair Scott who was freelance. |
|The following books contain references to this architectural practice:|
|Allen, Nic (ed.)|| ||Scottish Architects in Conservation|| || || |
|Glendinning, Miles||1997||Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75 || ||Tuckwell Press Ltd||p35|
|RIBA||1970||RIBA Directory 1970|| || || |
|RIBA||1979||Directory of members|| || || |
|RIBA||1994||A Directory of RIBA Members|| || || |
|Willis, Peter||1977||New architecture in Scotland|| || ||p62-3 Scottish Agricultural Industries, computer building|
|The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Builder||26 February 1960|| || ||'Edinburgh University Housing Research Unit: Appointments to Staff Announced' p411|
|RIAS Quarterly||2011||Winter||Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)||p.97: obituary|
|Scotsman||17 November 2011|| || ||p43|
|The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|Courtesy of Alastair Scott||Information given to Dictionary|| ||August 2015|
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