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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:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 21, Oxford Terrace, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1965 *  
Item 2 of 2Well Court Hall, Dean Village, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1965After 1975 

* earliest date known from documented sources.


Employment and Training

Employers

The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 4Constantinos Doxiadis19581959  
Item 2 of 4Edinburgh University Housing Research Unit (HRU) / Architecture Research Unit (ARU)October 1959  Senior Research Assistant under direction of Robert Matthew per Builder 26 Feb 1960 p411
Item 3 of 4Roland Wedgwood Associates19631980Partner 
Item 4 of 4Roland Wedgwood & Partners19801983Partner 

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 startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 361960sWell CourtDean Village EdinburghScotlandAltered Well Court Hall for use as an office for his practice
Item 2 of 361965110 houses and flats at SouthfieldBarnton EdinburghScotland 
Item 3 of 3619659 Clarendon Crescent  EdinburghScotlandConversion of house into 4 flats
Item 4 of 361965Flats, Orchard Brae Avenue  EdinburghScotlandScheme of housing and offices - not executed.
Item 5 of 361965Housing Craigmount Avenue North  EdinburghScotland 
Item 6 of 361966Housing, Ravelston House Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 7 of 36196769-85 Ravelston Dykes Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 8 of 361967Scottish Agricultural Industries, computer building  EdinburghScotland 
Item 9 of 361968Scottish Agricultural Industries Head Office  EdinburghScotland 
Item 10 of 36Early 1960sOxford Terrace  EdinburghScotlandAltered no.1 for his own use
Item 11 of 361970Housing, High Green  EdinburghScotland 
Item 12 of 36c. 1970Office for Croythorn Development Corporation  EdinburghScotlandFacade design only
Item 13 of 361972Rossleigh's car showroom  EdinburghScotland 
Item 14 of 36Before 1973Dean SkinneryDean Village EdinburghScotlandDevelopment proposal
Item 15 of 361974East Belfast GovernmentTraining Centre  BelfastNorthern Ireland 
Item 16 of 361974Sheltered housing for Viewpoint Housing Association  EdinburghScotlandBegan project
Item 17 of 361977Lynedoch House sheltered housing  EdinburghScotland 
Item 18 of 361977Peaton HouseCoulport Argyll and ButeScotlandRemoval of Victorian Bay. Internal reorganisation. Restoration.
Item 19 of 361977Sylvan CottageGullane East LothianScotland 
Item 20 of 361978Blair Adam  Kinross-shireScotlandEradication of dry rot and formulation of long-term conservation plan.
Item 21 of 361978House, Goose GreenGullane East LothianScotlandAlterations
Item 22 of 361979Castle Terrace Development   EdinburghScotlandWon competition but project abandoned
Item 23 of 361979Northwood  EdinburghScotlandAlterations and reconstruction for Viewpoint Housing Association
Item 24 of 361979Rosemount Buildings (workmen's houses)  EdinburghScotlandRepairs and strengthening
Item 25 of 361970s or 1980sSt Raphael's Care HomeGrange EdinburghScotland 
Item 26 of 361980Cromlix HouseDunblane PerthshireScotlandConversion of house to hotel.
Item 27 of 361981Villa in garden of no 18 Lauder RoadGrange EdinburghScotland 
Item 28 of 361986Kilravock LodgeGrange EdinburghScotlandMulti-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
Item 29 of 361988Canal side restaurant, Forth & Clyde CanalKirkintilloch DunbartonshireScotlandWon competition
Item 30 of 361988Saltire Court  EdinburghScotlandCompetition entry
Item 31 of 36Mid 1980sBruntshielsBaldinnie FifeScotlandConversion to house - for himself
Item 32 of 36Late 1990Les Bruyères aux Mouches  BurgundyFranceAlterations, for himself
Item 33 of 361992Care home, Ettrick Road  EdinburghScotlandExtensions - Viewpoint commissioned the Wedgwood practice to do this work but the job was passed to Alastair Scott who was freelance.
Item 34 of 361993Flat, Randolph Cliff  EdinburghScotlandAlterations and extensions including roof-top platform
Item 35 of 361993Kilravock LodgeGrange EdinburghScotlandExtensions
Item 36 of 361993Swimming pool for the elderlyGrange EdinburghScotlandViewpoint commissioned the Wedgwood practice to do this work but the job was passed to Alastair Scott who was freelance.

References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 6Allen, Nic (ed.) Scottish Architects in Conservation   
Item 2 of 6Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp35
Item 3 of 6RIBA1970RIBA Directory 1970   
Item 4 of 6RIBA1979Directory of members   
Item 5 of 6RIBA1994A Directory of RIBA Members   
Item 6 of 6Willis, Peter1977New architecture in Scotland  p62-3 Scottish Agricultural Industries, computer building

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Builder26 February 1960  'Edinburgh University Housing Research Unit: Appointments to Staff Announced' p411
Item 2 of 3RIAS Quarterly2011WinterRoyal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)p.97: obituary
Item 3 of 3Scotsman17 November 2011  p43

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Courtesy of Alastair ScottInformation given to Dictionary August 2015

Images

© All rights reserved. © courtesy of RCAHMS. Licensor www.rcahms.gov.uk 

© All rights reserved. © courtesy of RCAHMS. Licensor www.rcahms.gov.uk