Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||John Holt |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||4 January 1914 |
|Died: ||21 June 1977 |
|Bio Notes: ||John Holt was born on 4 January 1914, the son of Thomas Holt, colliery deputy overman, and his wife Dorothy Ann Lamb. In September 1930 he began studying at the University of Durham, School of Architecture, graduating in 1936. During his course he spent 10 months with E H Lawson in Newcastle and 3 months with Cachett Burns Dick & Mackellar also in Newcastle. |
In 1933 he was the Archibald Dawney Scholar for which he researched aspects of building construction. The following year he spent a month in the area of Paris studying contemporary buildings. He also spent July of that years travelling around England, making measured drawings. He completed the course in Durham in 1935 and spent a post-graduate year studying town planning from which he was awarded a diploma in town planning. At the same time he was employed as a junior lecturer at the School of Architecture. In September 1936 he took a position as junior architectural assistant with South Shields Borough Council and two years later, in September 1938 he moved to a post as senior architectural assistant with Durham County Education Architect’s Department. He was elected ARIBA in 1936. He served in the army during the Second World War.
In May 1946 (or in 1945 according to the RIBA obituary) Holt moved to Bristol as Principal Assistant in the Architect’s Department of the Bristol Aeroplane Company, Filton, Bristol working under David Aberdeen. In late 1949 or early 1950 he spent a brief period of time with Peterlee New Town Development Corporation. He was elected FRIBA on 4 April 1950, proposed by Eric Ross, A B Edwards and David R Henderson. Also in 1950 he was awarded second prize in the competition for the medical school in George Square in Edinburgh.
In 1950 Holt was appointed Regional Architect to the South East Regional Hospital Board (Scotland). When he arrived in this post most if not all the existing members of staff left and he recruited a number of young recently qualified architects to fill their places. Amongst those was Eric Davidson. He was given considerable responsibility by Holt, far beyond his years and experience might merit. In particular Davidson was given the job of masterminding the design and construction of Victoria Hospital Kirkcaldy which was being upgraded to a District General Hospital. Holt gave him very little guidance as Holt believed in leaving his staff to solve their own problems. During his period as Regional Architect Holt gained a reputation as a designer of health service buildings. He built around him an office which produced some fine and varied works over a twenty-year period, highlighted in 1956 by the award of the RIBA Bronze medal for the Radiotherapeutic Institute, Edinburgh. After the Health Service was reorganised in 1974, he was Assistant Director in the Building Division of the Common Services Agency.
Holt always retained a love of good design and fine buildings. He was involved in matters relating to the profession and was president of the Edinburgh Architectural Association and served on the Council of the RIAS (of which he was a Fellow) and the RIBA.
His obituarist records that ‘as an architect his approach to a problem was direct and the solution reached with alacrity. He possessed the particular knack of reducing the most complex situation to a simple statement and a decision made, he seldom looked back’. As a person he was witty and humourous and a pleasant companion.
Outwith work Holt had varied interests. He was an enthusiastic gardener as well as an accomplished musician, playing the piano and organ, clarinet and saxophone. The only diploma which hung on the walls of his office in Drumsheugh Gardens in Edinburgh was one for saxophone playing.
He died after a short illness within 18 months of retirement at the Deaconess Hospital, Edinburgh on 21 June 1977. He was survived by his wife Mable Stothard, and at least one son, John, who lived in Edinburgh.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|5, Winton Loan, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private|| ||1977|| |
|41, Burley Crescent, Downend, Bristol, England||Private||1949 *|| || |
|11, Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1953 *|| ||Address given as 8 Drumsheugh Gardens in the 1855-56 Kalendar. |
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Employment and Training
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 started||Building name||Town, district or village||Island||City or county||Country||Notes|
|After 1946||Brabazon Assembly Hall||Filton|| ||Bristol||England||As Principal Assistant with British Aerospace Company. |
|1949||BOAC North Atlantic base|| || ||Bristol||England||As Principal Assistant with the Bristol Aeroplane Company|
|c. 1949||Brabazon Assembly Hall, canteen and other ancillary buildings||Filton|| ||Bristol||England||As Principal Assistant with the Bristol Aeroplane Company's architectural department|
|1950s||St Cuthbert's Poorhouse||Craigleith|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Overall development of hospital|
|1951||University of Edinburgh, Medical Buildings (Pharmacology Department and Hugh Robson Building)|| || ||Edinburgh, Midlothian||Scotland||Placed second in competition|
|1952||Western General Hospital, Radiotherapeutic Institute|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||As Chief Architect of the South East Regional Hospital Board|
|1953||Cameron House||Windygates|| ||Fife||Scotland||As chief architect, South East Regional Hospital Board of Scotland|
|1953||Hospital for Aged and Senile Patients ||Cupar|| ||Fife||Scotland||Chief architect|
|12 June 1953||New General Hospital, Mortonhall Estate|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Plans in hand|
|1954||Western General Hospital, Neurosurgical Department|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||As Chief Architect to the South East Regional Hospital Board|
|After 1954||Fife and Kinross District Asylum||Springfield, Cupar|| ||Fife||Scotland||Units for patients with mental health problems - for South East Regional Hospital Board|
|1955||Dunfermline Cottage Hospital||Dunfermline|| ||Fife||Scotland||Casualty Block - as Chief Architect of the SE Regional Hospital Board|
|1955||Kirkcaldy Burgh Infectious Diseases Hospital||Kirkcaldy|| ||Fife||Scotland||Major alterations and additions to transform into a District General Hospital - as Chief Architect to the South East Regional Hospital Board|
|1955||Rheumatic Diseases Research Clinic|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Chief Architect for South East Regional Hospital Board|
|22 February 1957||Victoria Hospital, Nurses' Home||Kirkcaldy|| || ||Scotland||'Regional Architect to the South-Eastern Hospital Board' per Builder p 362|
|1958||Western General Hospital, central microbiology laboratory|| || ||Edinburgh, Midlothian||Scotland||As chief architect of SERHB|
|1958||Western General Hospital, College of Nursing|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Additions to N - as Chief Architect of SERHB|
|1959||Randolph Wemyss Memorial Hospital||Denbeath/Methil|| ||Fife||Scotland||S extension|
|1961||Cameron Hospital Geriatric Extension||Windygates|| ||Fife||Scotland||Geriatric block added - as architect of South East Regional Hospital Board|
|1962||Western General Hospital, Nuffield Transplantation Surgery Unit|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Preliminary designs as chief architect to South East Regional Hospital Board|
|1963||Liberton Hospital||Liberton|| ||Edinburgh||Scotland||Annexe to Geriatric Hospital|
|1966||Forth Park House||Kirkcaldy|| ||Fife||Scotland||Extension in brick - as chief architect of SE Regional Hospital Board|
|1966||Royal Edinburgh Hospital, University of Edinburgh, Department of Psychiatry|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||As Chief Architect to the SERHB|
|1966||Western General, Outpatient, Casualty and Diagnostic Block|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||As Chief Architect of SERHB|
|1970||Gogarburn Hospital, children's unit|| || ||Edinburgh||Scotland||As Chief Architect to the SERHB|
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Glendinning, Miles||1997||Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75 || ||Tuckwell Press Ltd||p4 University of Edinburgh Medical School|
p28 Radiotherapeutic Institute, Edinburgh
p36-7, 52, 167, 186 Nuffield Transplantation Unit
|Willis, Peter||1977||New architecture in Scotland|| || ||p88-89 Nuffield Transplant Unit|
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Builder||12 June 1953|| || ||p933|
|Builder||22 February 1957|| || ||p 362|
|RIBA Journal||September 1977|| ||London: Royal Institute of British Architects|| |
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|H M Register House||Death Register|| || |
|RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert Museum||RIBA Nomination Papers|| ||F no4518 (Combined Box 19)|