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Basic Biographical Details

Name: Richard Ross Forbes Cassidy
Designation: Architect
Born: 2 January 1920
Died: 23 December 2017
Bio Notes: Richard Ross Forbes Cassidy was born in Hong Kong on 2 January 1920, the son of Philip Stanley Cassidy CBE, managing director of John D Hutchison & Son, importers and exporters, and his wife Margaret Johnston Rodger. He was educated in Hong Kong initially and then at Charterhouse School in Godalming, Surrey. Although he planned to study architecture at the Architectural Association in London, he missed the deadline for entry. Instead he began studying architecture at Edinburgh College of Art in 1938 but his studies were interrupted by the Second World War, during which he served in the Territorial Army in 1939 and subsequently in 86 (HAC) HAA Regiment RA, being demobbed as captain/adjutant in 1946. The officers in his unit were three architects: Joseph Gleave, head of the School of Architecture and Basil Spence who taught at the College of Art, and Ian Carnegie.

Cassidy resumed his ECA course in 1946 and received his diploma in 1949, taking a studentship tour to Holland, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland and France in the latter year, meeting Le Corbusier on 17 October but was guardedly prevented from seeing any of his 'Habitation' drawings. On 29 August 1947 he married Allison Gillespie Lowson Todd, eldest daughter of the architect William James Walker Todd, partner in the practice J M Dick Peddie & Walker Todd from 1920-1936. Cassidy had become acquainted with the Todd family through Walker Todd’s eldest son Lyon, also a student of architecture at Edinburgh College of Art. The Todd family was large, 5 sons and 5 daughters. The second son, Ruthven, also started at Edinburgh College of Art but dropped out and in due course became a poet and author and moved in artistic and literary circles in London, becoming acquainted with Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth and, amongst others, the poets W H Auden and Robert Graves. The third son, Paul, also trained as an architect but moved to work as a quantity surveyor in South Africa.

Having onbtained experience with Thomas Waller Marwick during his summer vacations, in December 1949 Cassidy entered the office as an assistant. The following year on 23 January he left to join Basil Spence & Partners, working on the Festival of Britain exhibition, Kelvin Hall, Glasgow. He was elected ARIBA in 1951 and ARIAS in 1957 (or 1962 according to RIAS membership records). He was made an associate with Spence in 1962, and was the administrator in the firm from 1978 until his retirement in 1980.

Cassidy and his wife who died in 2001, had two daughters: Hester Anne who in 1969 married the architect John Keddie who was to become the Chief Architect in East Lothian, and Gillian Patricia Margaret. In his retirement Cassidy enjoyed genealogy and crosswords.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 5Mayfield/119, The Peak, Hong KongPrivate1920 Place of birth
Item 2 of 530/The Peak, Lugard Road, Hong KongPrivate1922 As a child
Item 3 of 5113, Marchmont Road, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1947 *1950 
Item 4 of 59, Saxe Coburg place, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate19501987 
Item 5 of 5173/502, Comely Bank Road, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1987  

* 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 4Thomas Waller Marwick19491950Assistant(?) 
Item 2 of 4Basil Spence & Partners19501962Assistant 
Item 3 of 4Basil Spence & Partners19621964Associate 
Item 4 of 4Sir Basil Spence, Glover & Ferguson19641980Associate 

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 301950Bannerfield EstateSelkirk SelkirkshireScotlandAs assistant with Spence and job architect
Item 2 of 301950John Smith (Wools)  EdinburghScotland 
Item 3 of 301950Premises for R S Robertson & Scott   Scotland 
Item 4 of 301950SAI (Scottish Agricultural Industries) offices  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction?
Item 5 of 301950Scottish Agricultural IndustriesAyr AyrshireScotlandAs assistant - amenities block and other work
Item 6 of 301951Festival of Britain Scotland, Exhibition of Industrial Power, Kelvin Hall  GlasgowScotlandAs assistant with Spence and job architect
Item 7 of 301953Housing, Buncles Court and Lamer StreetDunbar East LothianScotlandWorked on project
Item 8 of 301953Plewlands HouseSouth Queensferry West LothianScotlandAs assistant
Item 9 of 301954Inch Hall ChurchInch EdinburghScotland 
Item 10 of 301954St Andrew's ChurchClermiston EdinburghScotland 
Item 11 of 301955Community HallBroughton PeeblesshireScotlandAs assistant
Item 12 of 301956Housing, Laverockbank Avenue and Laverockbank CrescentNewhaven EdinburghScotlandJob architect
Item 13 of 301956Tenement blocks, New LaneNewhaven EdinburghScotland 
Item 14 of 301956Tenements, New LaneNewhaven EdinburghScotland 
Item 15 of 301957Flats, Great Michael Rise and AnnfieldNewhaven EdinburghScotlandJob architect
Item 16 of 301957George Watson's School, head masters house  EdinburghScotlandAs assistant
Item 17 of 301958Scottish Widows Head Office  EdinburghScotlandComputer building
Item 18 of 301959Claremont Court housing  EdinburghScotlandJob architect
Item 19 of 301960sKing's College, University of Durham, Physics Department  Newcastle-upon-TyneEngland 
Item 20 of 301960RHS Ingliston showground, Yorkshire Insurance StandIngliston EdinburghScotlandAs assistant
Item 21 of 301960Royal Showground Stoneleigh, Yorkshire Insurance StandStoneleigh WarwickshireEngland 
Item 22 of 301960Trinity College Glenalmond, Reid's HouseGlenalmond PerthshireScotland 
Item 23 of 30After 1960King's College, University of Durham, Research Block  Newcastle-upon-TyneEngland 
Item 24 of 30Before 1960University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Animal Breeding Research Organisation Headquarters  EdinburghScotlandAs assistant
Item 25 of 30196165-71 and 97-103 Canongate and 1-3 Brown's Close  EdinburghScotland 
Item 26 of 301963Trinity College, Glenalmond, Music SchoolGlenalmond PerthshireScotlandJob architect
Item 27 of 301970sEdinburgh Centre for Rural Economy, Bush Estate  EdinburghScotland 
Item 28 of 301970sGlasgow Royal Infirmary  GlasgowScotlandWorked on fire precautions
Item 29 of 301970sHarry Younger Hall  EdinburghScotland 
Item 30 of 301970sWestern General Hospital, Sisters' Quarters  EdinburghScotlandWork on Paderewski Building and stores building?


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 5Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp14 Harbour Court Housing, Dunbar
Lamer Street Housing, Dunbar
Item 2 of 5RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 3 of 5RIBA1954RIBA Kalendar 1953-54   
Item 4 of 5RIBA1961Kalendar 1960-61   
Item 5 of 5RIBA1970RIBA Directory 1970   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2RIAS, Rutland SquareRecords of membership  
Item 2 of 2Sent to DSA by emailInformation from AHRC/RCAHMS Spence project per David W Walker and Clive Fenton Clive Fenton's research notes (sent July 2010)


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© All rights reserved.