Basic Biographical Details

Name: George Fairweather
Born: 14 July 1906
Died: 13 July 1985
Bio Notes: George Fairweather was born on 14 July 1906, the son of George Fairweather, a furnituremaker who lived and worked at The Vyne, Dundee. He spent part of his childhood in South Africa but had returned to Dundee by 1922 when he commenced his studies at Dundee School of Art. In July the following year he entered the office of Maclaren Soutar & Salmond as an apprentice, leaving them in August 1927 to spend the final year of his apprenticeship with Mills & Shepherd.

In 1928 or 1929 he came to London to seek further opportunities, and secured a position in the office of Joseph Emberton by sitting at the bottom of the entrance steps every day until Emberton took him on 'if only so that he didn't have to keep walking past me', as he once said. He was one of only two salaried assistants in the office, and when the economic depression hit Emberton's workload, Fairweather volunteered to leave because he was unmarried and therefore without dependents. He was homeless for a time, sleeping on the Embankment, but found employment as a draughtsman with Constantine & Vernon in 1930. The following year he moved to the office of W A Lewis & Partners, and in 1931 returned to Dundee to join the City Architect's Department there. He was admitted ARIBA in early 1932, his proposers being Charles Geddes Soutar, William Salmond and John Donald Mills. His travels for study purposes prior to that time had been limited to two weeks in Southern Germany.

After only eight months in Dundee City Architect's Department, Fairweather left to commence practice on his own account at 49 High Street, Montrose. His practice was almost entirely limited to extensions, alterations and renovations of domestic and farm buildings, his only more substantial works at that time being two houses in St Andrews and a small concert hall for Montrose Town Council. He abandoned his practice in 1935 to join the staff of Sir Walter Tapper as prospective junior partner, but left in 1936 having decided to concentrate on teaching. In that year he ran the Architecture Department of the Bromley School of Art, carried out research into heating of low-cost housing for the Housing Centre, and secured a teaching position in the Architectural Association School, where he later became Senior Master in Construction and Lecturer of Building Construction. He continued to pursue a limited private practice, winning the Industrial Housing Competition in partnership with Miss J Ledeboer and carrying out a certain amount of work in collaboration with Robert Furneaux Jordan and Cecil Handisyde. He also assisted his friend, the sculptor William Lamb, in the design of his studio in Market Street, Montrose.

He contributed articles to a number of journals including the 'Architects' Journal', and a series on Structural Economy for the 'Architect & Building News', which was later published as a book. He was admitted FRIBA on 15 December 1942, his proposers being G A Jellicoe, Charles Lovett Gill and John Grey.

Fairweather's post-war practice played a significant part in the development of modern school design. Fairweather himself was courageous in his opinions, quietly persuasive, and often ran against the grain, buying and refurbishing the vicarage in St Anne's Close, North London in 1949 when such moves were unfashionable, and speaking out against the proposed merger between the Architectural Association Schools and Imperial College in the early 1960s, as well as voicing early concerns about the potential risks of high-rise system building ('One day, one of those blocks will collapse').

He was elected FRIAS in 1965.

He died in Montrose on 13 July 1985.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 632, Shepherds' Loan, Dundee, ScotlandPrivate1931 *  
Item 2 of 649, High Street, Montrose, Angus, ScotlandBusiness1932After 1939(?)This was his address in 1939-40 RIBA Kalendar.
Item 3 of 6Mount House, Hadley Common, Barnet, Hertfordshire, EnglandBusiness1942 *  
Item 4 of 678, Parkway, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, EnglandPrivate1942 *  
Item 5 of 638, The Mall, Montrose, Angus, ScotlandPrivate1964 *  
Item 6 of 645, High Stret, Montrose, Angus, ScotlandBusiness1975 *  

* 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 7Maclaren Soutar Salmond28 July 1923August 1927Apprentice 
Item 2 of 7Mills & ShepherdAugust 19271928 or 1929Apprentice 
Item 3 of 7Joseph Emberton1928 or 19291930Draughtsman 
Item 4 of 7Constantine & Vernon19301931Draughtsman 
Item 5 of 7W A Lewis & Partners19311931Draughtsman 
Item 6 of 7Dundee City Architect's Department19311932Draughtsman 
Item 7 of 7(Sir) Walter John Tapper19351936Assistant(?)Prospective junior partner


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6Charles Lovett Gill15 December 1942for Fellowship
Item 2 of 6John Grey15 December 1942for Fellowship
Item 3 of 6G A Jellicoe15 December 1942for Fellowship
Item 4 of 6John Donald MillsEarly 1932for Associateship
Item 5 of 6William SalmondEarly 1932for Associateship
Item 6 of 6Charles Geddes SoutarEarly 1932for Associateship

RIBA Proposals

This proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 2Norman Fotheringham McCall6 April 1948For Licentiateship
Item 2 of 2William Mollison9 December 1947for Fellowship

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 5After 1932Concert HallMontrose AngusScotland 
Item 2 of 5After 1932Two housesSt Andrews FifeScotland 
Item 3 of 51934Studio for William LambMontrose AngusScotlandDesigned for his friend William Lamb, sculptor
Item 4 of 51940House for air raid precaution   ScotlandRIBA Competition entry - won first prize
Item 5 of 51940St Mary's Episcopal Church and rectoryNewport FifeScotlandRood screen


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 1RIBA1930The RIBA Kalendar 1930-1931 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1ArchitectOctober 1986   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2RIAS, Rutland SquareRecords of membership  
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no4857 (combined box 40); F no3928 (box 30)