Basic Biographical Details

Name: Thomas ('Tom') Ridley
Designation: Engineer
Born: 15 August 1927
Died: 11 February 2012
Bio Notes: Thomas Ridley (known as Tom) was born on 15 August 1927 in Gateshead and spent part of his early childhood in Africa, where his father was involved in railway construction. He was educated at Gateshead Grammar School and Teeside College, Middlesbrough, and attended King’s College London where he was awarded a first-class honours degree in civil engineering.

Immediately after graduating in 1954, he joined the Arup engineering firm, with which he would remain for the rest of his career. He spent most of the second half of the 1950s running civil engineering projects in Lagos, Nigeria, including construction of the Iddo Overbridge, and carried out important research into the manufacturing of high-strength concrete in a tropical climate. From 1959 onwards, however, he was based in Scotland, establishing a Scottish for Arups, at George Street, Edinburgh in that year, and going on to direct further offices for the company in Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen. He was a key figure in the development of the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh and Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, as well as working on a number of other major buildings across the country. He also helped develop deep-water platforms for North Sea oil.

His friend and fellow consulting engineer Sandy Fraser described him as ‘highly motivated, energetic and focused; he always led from the front and was not easily distracted from his objectives.’ He was a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, and a Fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineers and the Institute of Structural Engineers. Always interested in interprofessional collaboration, he was the first chairman of the Joint Building Group in Scotland in the 1960s.

He retired in 1991 and settled at West Linton in the Borders. There he and his wife Carol (née Leighton, of Broughty Ferry), whom he had married in 1954, designed their own home. During his retirement he returned to university part-time to study for a degree in architecture, so that he could teach young professionals how to combine architecture and engineering. In his spare time he played squash and golf, being a member of West Linton Golf Club; he particularly appreciated the view of Mendick Hill from Slipperfield Moor. He also played the guitar, and enjoyed fly-fishing with his wife. He took an active interest in environmental issues, supporting the Quarries Action Group’s successful efforts to fight off proposals for quarries that threatened to mar the landscape in the West Linton area.

He died at Hay Lodge Hospital, Peebles on 11 February 2012. He was survived by his wife, their daughters Jane, Jacquie and Sally and several grandchildren.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this engineer:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 4Gateshead, Northumberland, EnglandPrivate19271940sBirth and childhood.
Item 2 of 4Lagos, NigeriaPrivate/business19541959 
Item 3 of 4George Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1959Before 1991 
Item 4 of 4West Linton, Peeblesshire, ScotlandPrivate1991  

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this engineer (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1Ove Arup & Partners19541991  

Buildings and Designs

This engineer 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 81955Ninewells Hospital and Medical School  DundeeScotlandled the Arup team
Item 2 of 81960sEdinburgh University Library  EdinburghScotlandconsultant, for Arup
Item 3 of 81960sGlasgow Royal Infirmary  GlasgowScotlandconsultant, for Arup
Item 4 of 81965Royal Commonwealth Pool  EdinburghScotlandfor Arup
Item 5 of 81968Gartnavel General Hospital  GlasgowScotlandconsultant, for Arup
Item 6 of 81968Western Infirmary Redevelopment Phases I and II  GlasgowScotlandconsultant, for Arup
Item 7 of 81981St Enoch Centre  GlasgowScotlandconsultant, for Arup
Item 8 of 8Before 1991Scottish Widows Headquarters  EdinburghScotlandconsultant, for Arup


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this engineer:
Item 1 of 4Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp28 Ninewells Hospital
p29,39,86,116,125-9,164,185 Royal Commonwealth Pool
p141-2, p165-7 Edinburgh University Library
Item 2 of 4  Edinburgh University Library
Accessed 21.04.12
Item 3 of 4Miles Glendinning, Diane Watters, David Whitham Docomomo Scotland Leaflet  Cover, p231 Royal Commonwealth Pool
Item 4 of 4Willis, Peter1977New architecture in Scotland  p76-9 Royal Commonwealth Pool
p92-5 Ninewells Hospital

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this engineer:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Scotsman25 February 2012  p47: obituary by Phil Davison