© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Mr Haswell-Smith, sent December 2014 © All rights reserved. Courtesy of Mr Haswell-Smith, sent December 2014 

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Basic Biographical Details

Name: Hamish Haldane Haswell-Smith
Designation: Architect
Born: 20 September 1928
Bio Notes: Hamish Haswell-Smith was born in Glasgow on 20 September 1928, the son of Ralph Jeanrenaud Haswell-Smith and his wife Marion McNab. His father had served in the First World War and was wounded on the Somme. He studied agriculture at Edinburgh University, joined the Indian Forest Service and, in 1945, became Director of Land Improvement for the Bombay Government.

Hamish Haswell-Smith was educated at Dollar Academy until his father, having retired, was recalled to India for the war effort in 1940 and took his family with him. His schooling was completed at the Lawrence Memorial Royal Military School in the Nilgiri Hills, South India. At the age of fifteen he had achieved sufficient qualifications at school to gain entry to the Royal Technical College (Strathclyde University), Glasgow, where he completed his first year in architecture. His family had by then returned to Edinburgh so he transferred to Edinburgh College of Art.

During the summer vacation In 1946 he worked in the office of Basil Spence & Partners on the ‘Britain Can Make It’ exhibition, and in 1947-48 he served his year of ‘practical’ training in the office of Arnott & Inch Morrison. After qualifying in 1951 he and three other College graduates, Ben Matthew, Peter Melville and Arthur Fairweather formed the ‘Design Group’ and were commissioned by Basil Spence to carry out the detailed design of the Railways & Shipbuilding exhibition at the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow for the Festival of Britain (Jack Coia having suddenly resigned from the project after completing a sketch layout).

He was elected ARIBA in 1951 and late that year he took up a three-year contract with Hedley G Radford & Partners in Kampala, Uganda, and at the end of this he transferred to the practice of Imre Rozsa in Nairobi, Kenya.

In 1955 he married Jean Aline Hilton, granddaughter of one of Kenya’s first ‘white settlers’. In the same year he set up in private practice on his own account in Nairobi but work was partly interrupted by having to serve with the Emergency Forces during the Mau Mau uprising, a Kikuyu tribal ‘civil war’ with violent atrocities. During this time he entered a number of competitions including the one for Liverpool Cathedral. He was prize-winner in the King George VI Memorial competition for Nairobi. In 1959 he was joined by Ian Macfarlane as a partner and the practice was beginning to flourish. The next year, however, although the Kenya Legislature already had a multi-racially agreed programme for universal franchise, the British Government against all local advice insisted on immediate self-government. In the resulting chaos the entire economy virtually collapsed and all building work ceased. After six months of ensuing unemployment Haswell-Smith, with a wife and young son, Iain, aged three, decided to return to the United Kingdom.

At the end of 1960 he joined Bernard Laurie Matthew, whom he had known from his student days and who had just started in private practice in St Colme Street, Edinburgh. The following year the firm, under the title Matthew, Smith & Partners, moved to 15 Queen Street. In 1963 his daughter, Jannine, was born. Haswell-Smith was elected a Fellow of the RIAS in 1964 and served for a time on the Council. In 1966 he was a prize-winner in the Siporex Housing competition adjudicated by Jack Coia and in 1970 won a limited competition for 600 houses at Hallglen for Falkirk Council. The firm had opened branch offices in Dunfermline and Bathgate and Alexander Hall Maclean was taken into partnership in 1968 followed by William Clive Braid Hamilton in 1972.

In early 1972 Haswell-Smith underwent a serious medical operation and was hospitalised during which time the firm was renamed Matthew, Hamilton, Maclean, and moved to Albany Street. Haswell-Smith then set up business on his own account as Haswell-Smith & Partners at 66 Frederick Street in late 1972.

In 1974 Philip Samuel Black became a partner in the Edinburgh office and John Gray became the partner in charge of the new Hamilton (West Coast) branch office. A large part of the firm’s work was for Government and Local Authorities but a number of competitions were entered including the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, the Pahlavi Library in Teheran, offices for the Houses of Parliament in London (placed but never built), and the new Australian Parliament. In the same year (1974) the small one-man practice of E L Williamson (deceased) owned by John Innes at 16 North Silver Street, Aberdeen was taken over and Innes became a consultant to the firm. In 1978 Peter John Allam became a partner for about one year before starting his own practice in Dollar.

In June 1982 Haswell-Smith became a Consultant to the practice and John Gray and Philip Black became partners in charge but in November 1983 on the resignation of Philip Black, John Gray took John Alexander Smith into partnership to run the Edinburgh office. This arrangement, however, only lasted until the existing work was completed in 1985 after which the firm was closed.

Having always had an interest in painting for recreation, and sailing for sport, Haswell-Smith now devoted his time to these pursuits. He and his wife travelled extensively and his sketchbooks were always to hand. Paintings were exhibited in most of the Royal Scottish Academy’s summer exhibitions during the years 1984-91 and he held five one-man shows in Edinburgh, one in Dunkeld and one in Glasgow. His paintings have also been exhibited by the RSW and at exhibitions in London, Paris and Venice. In 1985 he joined the Society of Architect-Artists but this was so essentially London-centric that in 1987 he gathered together a small group of like-minded Scottish architects and founded the Scottish Society of Architect-Artists with the Duke of Gloucester as royal patron. The SSAA has close links with similar organisations on the Continent and exchange participation in the various annual exhibitions.

For sailing, having previously raced on the Forth and gained a Yachtmaster qualification at Leith Nautical College in 1976, he took up cruising, mainly on the West Coast, and this interest eventually led him to write the best-selling ‘The Scottish Islands’ illustrated with his own drawings and paintings and with his own maps created by computer-graphics. This large book which has run to several editions has also an Italian translation. A further book ‘An Island Odyssey’ followed and several commissions for book illustrations including ‘The illustrated Vital Spark’ – a selection of Neil Munro’s famous ‘Para-Handy’ stories.

Haswell-Smith was President of the Scottish Arts Club in 1982-84 and President of the Scottish Society of Architect-Artists from 1987 to 1990.

Biographical notes kindly provided by Mr Haswell-Smith.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 319, Gardiner Road, Blackhall, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1950 *  
Item 2 of 39, Dean Park Crescent, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1961 *  
Item 3 of 31, Oak Lane, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1962  

* 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 4Matthew, Smith & Partners Early 1970sPartner 
Item 2 of 4Haswell-Smith & Partners (Kenya)19541960Partner 
Item 3 of 4Matthew & Haswell-SmithMid 1960s Partner 
Item 4 of 4Haswell-Smith & Partners19721985Senior Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1Ian Macfarlane1950s 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 1351954The Ambassador Club  NairobiKenya 
Item 2 of 1351954United Africa Sports Stadium  NairobiKenya 
Item 3 of 1351955Block of single room flats  NairobiKenya 
Item 4 of 1351956House for Mr and Mrs Haswell-SmithLimuru NairobiKenya 
Item 5 of 1351956Potato crisp factory  NairobiKenya 
Item 6 of 1351956Private residence  NairobiKenya 
Item 7 of 1351957Exhibition pavilionMitchell Park NairobiKenya 
Item 8 of 1351957Fort IleretLake Turkana Northern FrontierKenya 
Item 9 of 1351957Prison CampKiambu  Kenya 
Item 10 of 1351957Private residence  NairobiKenya 
Item 11 of 1351957Private residence  NairobiKenya 
Item 12 of 1351957Private residenceLangata  Kenya 
Item 13 of 1351958Prefabricated Service Stations   Kenya 
Item 14 of 1351958Small block of luxury flats  NairobiKenya 
Item 15 of 1351958Sports Grandstand and Clubhouse  NairobiKenya 
Item 16 of 1351958Varioues buildings in Military CantonmentKahawa NairobiKenya 
Item 17 of 1351959Dexion-framed housing  NairobiKenya 
Item 18 of 1351959Muslim Community Centre  NairobiKenya 
Item 19 of 1351959Primary SchoolThika Nairobi (near)Kenya 
Item 20 of 1351960Department Store for the Dunfermline Co-operative SocietyDunfermline FifeScotland 
Item 21 of 1351960Salvation Army Meeting Halls  EdinburghScotland 
Item 22 of 1351961Commercial premises for Dunfermline Co-operative SocietyRosyth FifeScotland 
Item 23 of 1351961Commercial premises for Dunfermline Co-operative SocietyCrossford FifeScotland 
Item 24 of 1351961Housing, Parkgrove Gardens  Edinburgh, MidlothianScotland 
Item 25 of 1351961Oak Hall Restaurant  EdinburghScotland 
Item 26 of 1351961Offices and laboratory for United GlassPortobello EdinburghScotland 
Item 27 of 1351961Salvation Army HallsGorgie EdinburghScotland 
Item 28 of 1351962House, Oak Lane, Clermiston RoadClermiston EdinburghScotland 
Item 29 of 1351963AshbrookWardie EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 30 of 1351963Pentland Youth & Community Centre  EdinburghScotland 
Item 31 of 1351964152 houses for F Ford LtdLiberton EdinburghScotland 
Item 32 of 1351964Fox Covert HotelClermiston EdinburghScotlandRedevelopment of hotel
Item 33 of 1351964Hostel for the Scottish Epilepsy Association  EdinburghScotland 
Item 34 of 1351964Restaurant, The ShoreLeith Edinburgh Scotland 
Item 35 of 1351964Restaurants for Crawfords  EdinburghScotland 
Item 36 of 1351965Fernie Castle  FifeScotlandRenovation and conservation
Item 37 of 1351965Youth and Community Centre, Oxgangs Brae  EdinburghScotland 
Item 38 of 135196620 custom built Norwegian log houses and hotel, Glen DerbyKirkmichael PerthScotland 
Item 39 of 1351966Dechmont Infant SchoolBroxburn West LothianScotland 
Item 40 of 1351966Department Store for Dunfermline Co-operative SocietyDunfermline FifeScotland 
Item 41 of 1351966Maternity Unit for Salvation Army  EdinbughScotland 
Item 42 of 1351966Redevelopment plan and 196 housesFauldhouse West LothianScotland 
Item 43 of 1351967108 houses for West Lothian County Council  West LothianScotland 
Item 44 of 1351967Factory for Newton Manufacturing CompanyEast Kilbride LanarkshireScotland 
Item 45 of 1351967Log housing for Forestry Commission   Scotland 
Item 46 of 1351967Royal Blind Asylum  EdinburghScotlandAlterations? New build?
Item 47 of 1351967Uniroyal factoryNewbridge West LothianScotlandAddition of computer suite and offices etc
Item 48 of 1351968Advance FactoryWestrigg West LothianScotland 
Item 49 of 1351968Advance FactoryFauldhouse West LothianScotland 
Item 50 of 1351968Torphichen Community CentreTorphichen West LothianScotland 
Item 51 of 1351969Croftmalloch Primary SchoolWhitburn West LothianScotland 
Item 52 of 1351969Housing Development, Mortonhall  EdinburghScotland 
Item 53 of 1351969Salvation Army HallBo'ness / Borrowstouness West LothianScotland 
Item 54 of 1351969Salvation Army HallFalkirk StirlingshireScotland 
Item 55 of 1351969Salvation Army HallStenhousemuir West LothianScotland 
Item 56 of 1351969Salvation Army Meeting HallTranent East LothianScotland 
Item 57 of 1351970Burrell Collection  GlasgowScotlandSubmitted competition design - based on Corbusier's Ronchamp
Item 58 of 1351970Housing for Lochgelly Burgh CouncilLochgelly FifeScotland 
Item 59 of 1351970Mortonhall House and stables  EdinburghScotlandConversion of stables
Item 60 of 1351970Redevelopment of TownhillDunfermline FifeScotlandRedevelopment
Item 61 of 1351970Saltoun Hall  East LothianScotlandConversion of house and stables into flats - job architect
Item 62 of 135197114-16 York Place  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 63 of 1351971HousingPrestonpans East LothianScotland 
Item 64 of 1351971Housing, Tannage BraeKirriemuir AngusScotland 
Item 65 of 1351971Island site building and mercat crossInverkeithing FifeScotlandRestoration - job architect
Item 66 of 1351971Sheltered housingDuns BerwickshireScotland 
Item 67 of 1351971Sheltered housingKirriemuir AngusScotland 
Item 68 of 1351971Sheltered HousingMonifieth AngusScotland 
Item 69 of 1351971The Den Linear ParkKirriemuir AngusScotlandLayout
Item 70 of 1351971Warehouse, Jamaica Street  EdinburghScotlandConversion to offices
Item 71 of 1351972Kinema Ballroom, the Castleton BarDumfermline FifeScotlandRedesign and internal works
Item 72 of 1351972LibraryBlackridge West LothianScotland 
Item 73 of 1351972Murieston Housing Phase IIIMurieston EdinburghScotland 
Item 74 of 1351972Newbyth HouseEast Linton East LothianScotlandConversion and conservation - fire broke out during work and destroyed interiors
Item 75 of 1351972Office block  EdinburghScotland 
Item 76 of 1351972Peel TowerBeattock DumfriesshireScotlandConversion to residential use
Item 77 of 1351972Preston Crescent HallInverkeithing FifeScotland 
Item 78 of 1351972Sheltered housingBlackburn West LothianScotland 
Item 79 of 1351972Standard Sheltered Housing Design Unit   Scotland 
Item 80 of 1351973Community CentreBlackridge West LothianScotland 
Item 81 of 1351973Craiglockhart SchoolCraiglockhart EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 82 of 1351973Culross Park HouseCulross Fife Renovation
Item 83 of 1351973Designs for log houses   Scotland 
Item 84 of 1351973Housing at North StreetLeven FifeScotlandModernisation
Item 85 of 1351973Housing at Railway Station site, Phases I & IILeven FifeScotland 
Item 86 of 1351973Linburn House and other buildings on siteWilkieston MidlothianScotlandHostel extension and entrance lodge
Item 87 of 1351973Old Town HallStrathaven LanarkshireScotlandConservation
Item 88 of 1351973Old Water MillStrathaven LanarkshireScotlandConversion to theatre and clubhouse and restoration
Item 89 of 1351973Premises, Forsyth's Close  EdinburghScotlandRehabilitation
Item 90 of 1351973Royal Blind Asylum  EdinburghScotlandExtensions to Muirburn Lodge
Item 91 of 1351973Sheltered housingInverkeithing FifeScotland 
Item 92 of 1351973Twelve houses, Seawall sitePrestonpans East LothianScotland 
Item 93 of 1351973Whitefoord House  EdinburghScotlandRenovations
Item 94 of 1351974348 housesKirkcaldy FifeScotlandModernisation
Item 95 of 135197456 housesGartcosh GlasgowScotland 
Item 96 of 135197480 Special, Sheltered and General HousesNewmains LanarkshireScotland 
Item 97 of 135197484 houses at Central ParkNew Stevenson LanarkshireScotland 
Item 98 of 1351974Armadale Primary SchoolArmadale West LothianScotland 
Item 99 of 1351974Buildings in High StreetInverkeithing FifeScotlandConservation
Item 100 of 1351974Housing at Railway Station site, Phases I & IILeven FifeScotlandPhase II
Item 101 of 1351974Housing SchemeGartcosh LanarkshireScotland 
Item 102 of 1351974Housing, North Grange RoadPrestonpans East LothianScotland 
Item 103 of 1351974Sheltered housing (twenty-five units)Lesmahagow LanarkshireScotland 
Item 104 of 1351974Stoneyburn Primary schoolStoneyburn West LothianScotland 
Item 105 of 1351975Farm buildings, Oak LaneClermiston Edinburgh Conversion to offices
Item 106 of 1351975Western Isles Council Housing   Scotland 
Item 107 of 135Before 1975600 housing unitsHallglen, Falkirk StirlingshireScotland 
Item 108 of 135Before 1975Cowdenknowes SchoolGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandAlterations
Item 109 of 135Before 1975Health CentreKirriemuir AngusScotland 
Item 110 of 135Before 1975Redevelopment of Dunfermline Centre for Ravenstone SecuritiesDunfermline FifeScotland 
Item 111 of 135Before 1975Sheltered housing for Help the Aged HA  EdinburghScotland 
Item 112 of 135Before 1975Shopping CentreGalashiels SelkirkshireScotland 
Item 113 of 135Before 1975Shopping Centre for Owenmore  EdinburghScotland 
Item 114 of 135Before 1975Tynecastle Lane School  EdinburghScotland 
Item 115 of 135Before 1975Wolfson House, buildings for the disabled  EdinburghScotland 
Item 116 of 1351976Housing scheme, Wester Cornton (SSHA)Stirling StirlingshireScotland 
Item 117 of 1351977HousesAboyne AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 118 of 1351977HousesStrachan AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 119 of 1351977HousesBanchory KincardineshireScotland 
Item 120 of 1351977Pahlavi Library  TeheranIranArchitectural competition
Item 121 of 1351978100 houses, ViewparkBellshill LanarkshireScotland 
Item 122 of 1351978Fifteen housesFordoun KincardineshireScotland 
Item 123 of 1351978Fifty housesCowdenbeath FifeScotland 
Item 124 of 1351978Sheltered housingBiggar LanarkshireScotland 
Item 125 of 1351978Thomas Burns home for blind women  EdinburghScotlandExtensions
Item 126 of 1351979403 houses, East CookstonPortlethen AberdeenshireScotland 
Item 127 of 1351979Fifty-five housesKilwinning AyrshireScotland 
Item 128 of 1351979Hamilton CollegeHamilton LanarkshireScotlandRedevelopment of College for flats
Item 129 of 1351979Houses of Parliament  CanberraAustraliaCompetition design
Item 130 of 1351979Newbyth HouseEast Linton East LothianScotlandRebuild and conservation following 1973 fire
Item 131 of 135198060 Candlemaker Row  EdinburghScotlandConservation and alterations
Item 132 of 1351980Carfin Industrial EstateCarfin LanarkshireScotlandCarfin Industrial Estate and Range Road development
Item 133 of 1351982Erskine HouseDunfermline FifeScotlandConservation and conversion to flats
Item 134 of 1351982James Street Hostel for YWCADunfermline FifeScotland 
Item 135 of 1351982Premises, 16 North Silver Street  AberdeenScotlandConservation


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 1Allen, Nic (ed.) Scottish Architects in Conservation  p47

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Builder19 February 1965  p440

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Interview with Eric Davidson, 20 October 2010Information to Yvonne Hillyard   
Item 2 of 2RIAS, Rutland SquareRecords of membership  


© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Mr Haswell-Smith, sent December 2014 

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Mr Haswell-Smith, sent December 2014

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Mr Haswell-Smith, sent December 2014 

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Mr Haswell-Smith, sent December 2014