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:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|Gateshead, Northumberland, England||Private||1927||1940s||Birth and childhood.|
|Lagos, Nigeria||Private/business||1954||1959|| |
|George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1959||Before 1991|| |
|West Linton, Peeblesshire, Scotland||Private||1991|| || |
Employment and Training
|The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this engineer (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Name||Date from||Date to||Position||Notes|
|Ove Arup & Partners||1954||1991|| || |
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this engineer:|
|Glendinning, Miles||1997||Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75 || ||Tuckwell Press Ltd||p28 Ninewells Hospital|
p29,39,86,116,125-9,164,185 Royal Commonwealth Pool
p141-2, p165-7 Edinburgh University Library
|http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/122525/details/edinburgh+george+square+univ|| ||http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/122525/details/edinburgh+george+square+university+of+edinburgh+library/|| || ||Edinburgh University Library|
|Miles Glendinning, Diane Watters, David Whitham|| ||Docomomo Scotland Leaflet|| || ||Cover, p231 Royal Commonwealth Pool|
|Willis, Peter||1977||New architecture in Scotland|| || ||p76-9 Royal Commonwealth Pool|
p92-5 Ninewells Hospital
|The following periodicals contain references to this engineer:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Scotsman||25 February 2012|| || ||p47: obituary by Phil Davison|