Basic Biographical Details

Name: John Daniel Swanston
Born: 1868
Died: 25 January 1956
Bio Notes: John Daniel Swanston was born in Dundee in 1868 and educated at Dollar Academy. He was articled to William Simpson of Stirling c. 1884, thereafter being progressively assistant to Thomas Greenshields Leadbetter of Edinburgh (c. 1889-90), Alexander Cullen of Glasgow and Hamilton (probably c. 1891-92) and James Graham Fairley of Edinburgh (c. 1893-94), before commencing practice on his own account at 196 High Street, Kirkcaldy in 1895.

From at least 1896, Swanston practised in partnership with George Lindsay Legge as Swanston & Legge, but Legge died some time between 1900 and 1903. A second partnership was formed with William Syme in 1904, the office being located in Redburn Wynd. From his earliest years in Kirkcaldy Swanston was prominent in public life, becoming town councillor for the Second Ward and a burgess in November 1900. He was convener of the Street Committee from November 1904 to November 1908.

Like many other architects, Swanston was an enthusiastic volunteer and was commissioned in the 1st Forth Royal Garrison Artillery. After the First World War broke out, he was commissioned as a captain in the Black Watch and was for a time commandant of Lewes prisoner-of-war camp in Sussex.

Swanston was admitted FRIBA in February 1925. Syme predeceased Swanston, who thereafter practised alone. He specialised in theatre, cinema and public house work, mostly in a bold neo-baroque or half-timbered neo-Tudor idiom.

Swanston retired in 1951 and made a last public appearance in November 1954 with a talk on the design of the King's Theatre in Kirkcaldy and the changes made since he originally designed it in 1904. He died on 25 January 1956 at 182 Ayr Road, Newton Mearns, the home of his daughter Dr Muriel Swanston, who had taken him into her care. His normal address was Addinstone, Townsend Crescent, Kirkcaldy. His estate amounted to 28,214. 1. 9. He was cremated at Paisley, his ashes being interred in Kirkcaldy Cemetery.

Swanston was survived by his wife Jane Elizabeth Kelly, his daughter and two sons, Dr John L Swanston of Kirkcaldy and Dr James K Swanston of Thirsk, Yorkshire. Like their sister, they were physicians.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 4Addinstone/8, Townsend Crescent, Kirkcaldy, Fife, ScotlandPrivate 1956 
Item 2 of 4196, High Street, Kirkcaldy, Fife, ScotlandBusiness1895After 1901 
Item 3 of 4Redburn Wynd, Kirkcaldy, Fife, ScotlandBusiness1904After 1950With William Syme
Item 4 of 4Redholm, Milton Road, Kirkcaldy, Fife, ScotlandPrivate/business(?)1914 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 6William Simpsonc. 1884c. 1889Apprentice 
Item 2 of 6Thomas Greenshields Leadbetterc. 1889c. 1890Assistant(Given as 'Leadbetter & Fairley' on Swanston's RIBA nomination papers)
Item 3 of 6Alexander Cullenc. 1891c. 1892Assistant 
Item 4 of 6James Graham Fairleyc. 1893c. 1894Assistant 
Item 5 of 6Swanston & Leggec. 1896c. 1902Partner 
Item 6 of 6Swanston & Syme1904 Partner 


RIBA Proposals

This proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 2Robert Blyth1931for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 2George Thomson12 November 1940for Associateship

Buildings and Designs

This 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 54 Beveridge Park, including lodges and gardener's houseKirkcaldy FifeScotlandLodges - date unknown
Item 2 of 54 Feuar's ArmsKirkcaldy FifeScotlandDate unknown. May have been responsible for the 1890 rebuilding though this would make this one of his earliest jobs.
Item 3 of 541893Auchterderran, CemeteryAuchterderran FifeScotland'Cemetery with sexton's lodge, mortuary and offices'
Item 4 of 541897Bain HallLeven FifeScotlandWon competition and appointed as architects for job
Item 5 of 541897HotelLeven FifeScotland 
Item 6 of 541897Property for Provost BlackKirkcaldy FifeScotland 
Item 7 of 541897Proposed Manse  FifeScotland 
Item 8 of 541897Villa, Dalhousie StreetCarnoustie AngusScotland 
Item 9 of 54189830 High StreetDunbar East LothianScotland 
Item 10 of 54189869 (Redholm) - 81 Milton Road and Munro StreetKirkcaldy FifeScotland 
Item 11 of 541898New Street buildingKirkcaldy FifeScotland 
Item 12 of 541898Tenements and double villa in Norman Road for Dysart Building CompanyDysart FifeScotland 
Item 13 of 54189931-35 High StreetDunbar East LothianScotland 
Item 14 of 541899Empire Theatre of VarietiesCowdenbeath FifeScotland 
Item 15 of 541899Meffan InstituteForfar AngusScotlandUnsuccessful competition design exhibited
Item 16 of 541899New Port BuildingsBurntisland FifeScotland 
Item 17 of 541899Tenements, High StreetKinghorn FifeScotland 
Item 18 of 541900House for Dr RobertsonNew Scone PerthshireScotland 
Item 19 of 541900RockviewElie FifeScotlandAlterations
Item 20 of 541902Dalwhinnie ManseDalwhinnie Inverness-shireScotland 
Item 21 of 54190369 (Redholm) - 81 Milton Road and Munro StreetKirkcaldy FifeScotlandAlterations to no 69
Item 22 of 541903Building, High StreetKirkcaldy FifeScotland 
Item 23 of 541903King's Theatre (and tenement)Kirkcaldy FifeScotlandIn collaboration with William Williamson
Item 24 of 541903New Street BuildingsKirkcaldy FifeScotland 
Item 25 of 541903Public conveniencesLochgelly FifeScotland 
Item 26 of 541903Public Swimming BathsKirkcaldy FifeScotland 
Item 27 of 541904Kelso Town HallKelso RoxburghshireScotlandReconstruction and replacement of original 1816 building
Item 28 of 541904Shops and dwelling houses, High StreetKirkcaldy FifeScotland 
Item 29 of 541905King's Theatre  EdinburghScotlandWith James Davidson
Item 30 of 541905Pair of villas, Balwearie Road and Balwearie CrescentKirkcaldy FifeScotland 
Item 31 of 541905Tenement (and Malcolm's House at rear), High StreetKirkcaldy FifeScotlandAlterations
Item 32 of 541905Villa, Balwearie RoadKirkcaldy FifeScotland 
Item 33 of 541905Villa, Balwearie RoadKirkcaldy FifeScotland 
Item 34 of 541906St Columba's Episcopal Church, LinktownKirkcaldy FifeScotland 
Item 35 of 541907Fife Linoleum Company FactoryPathhead, Kirkcaldy FifeScotland 
Item 36 of 541907Gaiety TheatreMethil FifeScotland 
Item 37 of 541907Hippodrome Theatre  DundeeScotlandDesigns
Item 38 of 541908Hall for Bowhill Public House Society LtdBowhill, Auchterderran FifeScotland 
Item 39 of 541908Reid's HallLochgelly FifeScotland 
Item 40 of 541909Alexandra Theatre  BelfastNorthern Ireland 
Item 41 of 541909King's Theatre (and tenement)Kirkcaldy FifeScotlandAlterations
Item 42 of 541912Pavilion TheatreCarnoustie AngusScotland 
Item 43 of 541912Picture PalaceMethil FifeScotland 
Item 44 of 541913Dunfermline Opera House and HippodromeDunfermline FifeScotlandNew interior within existing shell
Item 45 of 541913Palace TheatreKirkcaldy FifeScotlandOriginal building
Item 46 of 541913Port Brae CinemaKirkcaldy FifeScotland 
Item 47 of 54Before 1914Cemetery Gate Lodge and MortuaryLochgelly FifeScotland 
Item 48 of 54Before 1914Palace TheatreAlloa ClackmannanshireScotland 
Item 49 of 54Before 1914Terraces of model working class housesDysart FifeScotland 
Item 50 of 541923Palace TheatreKirkcaldy FifeScotlandAlterations
Item 51 of 541928Raith ManseKirkcaldy FifeScotlandAlterations
Item 52 of 541935Open-Air Swimming PoolKirkcaldy FifeScotland 
Item 53 of 541935Western TheatreMethil FifeScotlandAlterations
Item 54 of 54Early 1900sPair of villasKirkcaldy FifeScotland'Possibly' (HS)


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 3Pride, Glen L1999The Kingdom of Fife2nd EditionThe Rutland Pressp55
Item 2 of 3Who's Who in Architecture1914    
Item 3 of 3Who's Who in Architecture1923    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Fife Free Press28 January 1956  Obituary
Item 2 of 2Fife Free Press2 February 1990  Feature article

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Personal information from Dr John Swanston, 11 July 1990
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F no2099 (microfilm reel 16) (declaration only - other papers missing)