Basic Biographical Details

Name: Charles Tocher Donaldson
Designation: Architect
Born: 1933
Died: 1985
Bio Notes: Charles Tocher Donaldson RIBA Dip Arch (Aberdeen) RICA FRIAS MSIA MAAK was born in 1933, the only son of Andrew Donaldson, garage proprietor and motor hirer, Newlands Lane, Buckie, and his wife Ann Donaldson. He studied for the diploma in architecture at the Scott Sutherland School iof Architecture in Aberdeen from 1952 to 1958. He was elected ARIBA in 1959 and ARIAS in 1961.

After working in Toronto, London and Manchester, in 1961 Charles Donaldson was sent from Manchester to open an office in Edinburgh in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to secure the commission for the Leith Walk Development at the end of Princes Street. However, within a year he had obtained commissions for a large mixed development in Glasgow and redevelopment of the Glasgow Empire. With a substantial workload in the west of Scotland, a separate office was opened in Glasgow in 1962 with Albert Heasman (qv) in charge.

Charles Donaldson also became involved in a scheme for the redevelopment of the Northern Co-operative premises in George Street, Aberdeen. As a result of this, an office was opened in Aberdeen in the late 1960's. Further small commissions followed including work for the National Trust for Scotland and other clients, while the oil boom of the 1970's eventually led to commissions for several office buildings in Aberdeen, and the development of the Joint Station site.

In 1966 Charles Donaldson and Albert Heasman (qv) were made full partners in the practice which then became known as the Covell Matthews Partnership. In 1976 the practice was split into several separate partnerships, namely Covell Matthews Scotland Covell Matthews International, and Covell Matthews Wheatley Partnership.

With offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, Covell Matthews Scotland was initially run by Charles Donaldson and Albert Heasman. In 1977, Malcolm Pottinger, Bob Olgivie, Alan Scott and Hector Morrison were admitted as new partners.

Charles Donaldson had a great love of music and painting and was also an accomplished pilot. In 1980, he took time off to pursue an interest in politics (he Conservative Parliamentary candidate in Orkney and Shetland and later Regional Council candidate in Lothian) and for a while stayed in Orkney and Shetland. A small office was opened in Lerwick, but it failed to attract a sufficient workload and was closed after about a year, Charles Donaldson returning to Edinburgh in 1982.

Donaldson was active in many fields of contemporary Scottish culture. He was Vice Chairman of the Caledonian Club, a committee member of the St Andrews Society in addition to his interests in the RIAS and EAA.

He died while on holiday in Hong Kong in 1985, aged 52 and was survived by his wife, one son and two daughters. His ashes were buried in Burnside Cemetery, Buckie. His obituarist notes that he will be remembered for his 'vision, boundless energy and his drive' as well as the 'great warmth of hisfriendship'.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 469, Hanover Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1961 * Is this the office address of Covell Matthews?
Item 2 of 417, Well Road, Buckie, Banffshire, ScotlandPrivate/business(?)c. 1964  
Item 3 of 41, Palmerston Place Lane, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate/business(?)1970  
Item 4 of 45, Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1979 * Address of Covell Matthews at this date.

* 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 3Covell Matthews Partnership  Partner 
Item 2 of 3Covell Matthews & Partners1968 Director 
Item 3 of 3Covell Matthews Partnership Scotland1970s Partner 

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 411961University of Glasgow buildings  GlasgowScotland 
Item 2 of 411963University of Strathclyde, library  GlasgowScotlandTeaching accommodation and library
Item 3 of 411965Little Boghead area housing developmentBathgate West LothianScotland 
Item 4 of 411966Petersburn developmentAirdrie LanarkshireScotlandMaster and zoning plans
Item 5 of 411966Whitehill Industrial EstateBathgate West LothianScotland 
Item 6 of 411967Petersburn developmentAirdrie LanarkshireScotlandLarge area of Local Authority housing built. Shops and offices built 1970.
Item 7 of 411967Stepps recreation centreStepps GlasgowScotlandScheme drawn up
Item 8 of 411969Haymarket HouseHaymarket EdinburghScotland 
Item 9 of 411969Shops for the Northern Co-operative Society  AberdeenScotlandIn charge of the Edinburgh office
Item 10 of 411970British Telecom building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 11 of 411970Douglas Telephone Exchange  GlasgowScotlandRebuilding?
Item 12 of 411970Hunterston Planning EnquiryHunterston AyrshireScotlandReport prepared
Item 13 of 411970Linfern Telephone Exchange  GlasgowScotland 
Item 14 of 411970University of Strathclyde, library  GlasgowScotlandExtension to library and exhibition hall
Item 15 of 41c. 1970Offices for the British Match Corporation  EdinburghScotlandIn charge of the Edinburgh office
Item 16 of 411971Our Lady of Good Aid RC ChurchMotherwell LanarkshireScotlandAlterations?
Item 17 of 411971University of Strathclyde, hostels  GlasgowScotland 
Item 18 of 411972Shops and officesPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 19 of 411972Uberior House  EdinburghScotlandIn charge of the Edinburgh office at this date.
Item 20 of 411972Warehouse for Storage & Warehouse Co. Ltd  West LothianScotlandIn charge of Edinburgh office
Item 21 of 411973Hopetoun Telephone Exchange  West LothianScotlandIn charge of edinburgh office therefore presumably in charge of this job.
Item 22 of 411973Housing and hotelNorth Queensferry FifeScotlandIn charge of Edinburgh office
Item 23 of 411973Shopping development, Princes Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 24 of 411973University of Strathclyde, Collins Building  GlasgowScotland 
Item 25 of 411974Blackwood's office, George Street  EdinburghScotlandAlterations including removal of original decoration
Item 26 of 411974Regional office of the Continental Illinois National Banks and Trust Co. of Chicago  EdinburghScotlandIn charge of Edinburgh office
Item 27 of 411975Hanover Street, north section, west side  EdinburghScotland 
Item 28 of 411975Northern Insurance Company offices and Imperial Union Club  GlasgowScotlandInterior reconstructed
Item 29 of 411975Office Development, Hanover Street  Edinburgh Probably partner in charge as he was in charge of the Edinburgh office
Item 30 of 411975University of Strathclyde, University Centre  GlasgowScotland 
Item 31 of 41197621 St Andrew Square  EdinburghScotlandInternal alterations to form offices for IBM.
Item 32 of 411976Colonial Life Assurance Co  EdinburghScotlandInternal alterations to form offices for IBM.
Item 33 of 411976R & R Clark's Printing Office  EdinburghScotlandLarge office block added at rear.
Item 34 of 411978119 George Street  EdinburghScotlandGround floor shop demolished and building restored
Item 35 of 411978Commercial developmentDunfermline FifeScotland 
Item 36 of 411978Office block, Commercial StreetLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 37 of 411979The Mall shopping centre  AberdeenScotland 
Item 38 of 41Late 1970sIndustrial Estate  EdinburghScotland 
Item 39 of 41Late 1970sOffices for the Bank of Scotland  EdinburghScotland 
Item 40 of 41Late 1970sRestaurant and offices for SSEB  EdinburghScotland 
Item 41 of 411980Offices for IBM  EdinburghScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 4Bailey, Rebecca M1996Scottish architects' papers: a source book Edinburgh: The Rutland Pressp143
Item 2 of 4RIBA1964The RIBA Kalendar 1963-64   
Item 3 of 4RIBA1970RIBA Directory 1970   
Item 4 of 4RIBA1979Directory of members   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Banffshire Advertiser7 January 1986   
Item 2 of 3Prospect1986no26 p20 Winter/Spring edition
Item 3 of 3RIBA JournalMarch 1986v93, no3London: Royal Institute of British ArchitectsDeath notice

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 3Courtesy of Neil DarlingtonInformation sent via DSA website Biography (sent January 2010)
Item 2 of 3RIAS, Rutland SquareRecords of membership  
Item 3 of 3School of Architecture, Garthdee, Aberdeen, RGIT: former pupils, 1937-1970Galletly, James