Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Wingate Davidson
Designation: Architect
Born: 23 July 1923
Died: 11 December 2015
Bio Notes: John Wingate Davidson was born on 23 July 1923, the son of Walter Henderson Davidson, school teacher and his wife Isabella Drysdale Wingate who was also a teacher. They had married in Edinburgh in 1912. John Davidson was educated at George Heriots School in Edinburgh and Hawick High School.

He studied for the diploma in architecture at Edinburgh College of Art. He was an RIBA probationer from 1940 and elected ARIBA in 1950. From 1950-1952 he worked in the Architects Department of Somerset County Council where he worked on the design of schools, moving in the latter year to Plymouth City Architects Department. He was the design architect for Plymouth Civic Centre and was awarded the Grand Prix d'Honeur (Paris) in 1956 for this design. In that same year, 1956, he moved to a post with the Schools Division of Coventry City Architects Department. He was job architect on Binley Comprehensive School, Coventry which was designed using the CLASP system.

In 1959 he was appointed Group Archiect in the Housing Division of the LCC ( later GLC) under the Principal Housing Architect, Kenneth J. Campbell. He designed the first multi-storey Housing Block in the world to utilise a steel frame and GRP external panels, the SF1 System. Four tower blocks were erected.This led to extensive lecturing engagements while still working at GLC. In 1965 he left the GLC to open business on his own account in Westminster which continued until he retired in 1992. For some time during this period his firm was associated with Alison Hutchison under the style 'Wingate Davidson, Alison Hutchison Partnership'.

During the 1960s Davidson lectured widely on the use of steel in multi-storey housing and reinforced plastics in building - at MIT Boston, Pratt University NY, and Penn State University in the USA, Edinburgh College of Art and Birmingham School of Architecture. He also lectured for the European Iron & Steel Federation and for the Construction Specifications Istitute in Washington DC in 1969.. Between 1975 and 1988 as their Professor of Architecture he devised the Course and supervised groups of students on the Foreign Studies Programme of Penn State University. The students were resident at North House, Petworth, the Davidsons' home.

Davidson married twice, first to Marian, by whom he had one son and then to Janet who was an architectural technician with the LCC/GLC and a lecturer in art and architecture. They have one daughter who is an artist and teacher and a son who is in architect in practice in Edinburgh and in 2013 is working with Halliday, Fraser, Monroe.

Outwith his professional life Davidson maintains his interest in the RAF Bomber Command having served as a Pilot from 1942-46, attaining the rank of Flt/Lt. He is also interested in Scottish Rugby Football stemming from his schooldays in Hawick where he was at school with Bill McLaren.

Publications: SFI (Steel-Frame I) which was reviewed in BCSA Conference of Steel in Architecture 1969.

Davidson died on 11 December 2015.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 121, Craigcrook Road, Blackhall, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1940 *1942 
Item 2 of 121, Craigcrook Road, Blackhall, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate19461950 
Item 3 of 12Upcott Hall, Bishops Hall , Taunton, Somerset, EnglandPrivate19501952 
Item 4 of 124, Woodside, Lipson, Devon, EnglandPrivate1952 *1956 
Item 5 of 1214, Manor Road, Coventry, EnglandPrivate19561959 
Item 6 of 1225, Tregunter Road, South Kensington, London, EnglandPrivate19591965 
Item 7 of 1281, Charlotte Street, London, EnglandPrivate19651967 
Item 8 of 123 Catherine House/25, Catherine Place, London, EnglandBusiness19651992 
Item 9 of 12Ivy Lodge Farm, Shepherd's Hill, Harold Wood, Essex, EnglandPrivate1967 *1969 
Item 10 of 12North House, North Street, Petworth, Susesex, EnglandPrivate19711989 
Item 11 of 12377, Byworth, Petworth, Sussex, EnglandPrivate19891999 
Item 12 of 12Rock Cottage, Byworth, Petworth, Sussex, EnglandPrivate1999  

* 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 5Somerset County Council Architects Department19501952Architect 
Item 2 of 5Plymouth City Architect's Department19521956Architect 
Item 3 of 5Coventry Corporation City Architect's Department19561959Architect 
Item 4 of 5London County Council Architects' Department (LCC Architects' Department)19591965Architect 
Item 5 of 5Wingate Davidson & Associates19651992Partner 


Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Courtesy of John Wingate DavidsonInformation sent to the Dictionary Sent June 2013.
Item 2 of 2National Archives (via Scotlands People)Statutory births