Basic Biographical Details

Name: Alistair Robertson Whitelaw (or Alexander Robertson Whitelaw)
Born: 7 November 1913
Died: 2 September 1994
Bio Notes: Alistair (or Alexander) Robertson Whitelaw was born on 7 November 1913 in Neilston, Renfrewshire, the son of Alexander Robertson Ferguson Whitelaw, water superintendent, and his wife Ellen Jane Winder. He was articled to John Baird and James Thomson in Glasgow from 1929, at the same time taking classes at Glasgow High School in preparation for admission to the certificate course at the School of Art. He embarked on the certificate course in 1931. In 1933 he completed his articles and became a junior assistant with Baird & Thomson in which post he remained until 1936. In that same year he was awarded the certificate at the School of Art.

Whitelaw spent a number of months as a junior assistant in the Glasgow Housing Department but moved to a post as assistant with the practice of Keppie & Henderson later in 1936 where he remained until the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1939-40 he worked as clerk of works with the War Office Valuer, no2, working in the Glasgow area. In 1940 he enlisted and served in the army in South Africa, Egypt, Italy and Germany but spent a period of time in a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp. After demobilisation in 1946, he re-joined Keppie & Henderson. He sat the qualifying exams in 1945 and 1946 and was elected ARIBA in 1947, his proposers being Andrew Graham Henderson, William James Smith and Thomas Johnston Beveridge.

From 1947-49 he was senior assistant in the practice of Keppie & Henderson but at the latter date moved to the Corporation of Glasgow as senior assistant architect in the new schools' section. In 1954, in collaboration with Archibald McIntosh Doak won the competition for the Children's Church at Sighthill, Edinburgh, and as neither had any track record in independent practice they formed the partnership of Ross, Doak & Whitelaw with David Ross of Aberdeen. He took no very active part in it, all the design work being carried out by Doak and Whitelaw. Initially the firm of Ross, Doak & Whitelaw was based in Glasgow, while Ross continued to run his own practice in Aberdeen, passing some commissions to the Glasgow office. Other church commissions quickly followed, and in 1959 Whitelaw too moved to Aberdeen to open a branch office in premises shared with J A O Allan, Ross & Allan at 13 Bon Accord Square. The practice's one major building was Anniesland College of Further Education, built in 1962-64.

Whitelaw died in Aberdeen on 2 September 1994, aged eighty. He was survived by his wife May Kennan Brown, who died c.2004, and his only child, Moira. In his death certificate there is a note to say that he was originally Alexander but changed to Alistair.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 4Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness   
Item 2 of 42, Westholme Crescent North, Aberdeen, ScotlandPrivate 1994 
Item 3 of 415, Cross Lees Drive, Thornliebank, Renfrewshire, ScotlandPrivate(?)1950 *After 1954Or 18 acc to RIAS records
Item 4 of 439, Mansefield Road, Clarkston, Renfrewshire, Scotland 1954 *  

* 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 7Baird & Thomson19291933Apprentice 
Item 2 of 7Baird & Thomson19331936Junior Assistant 
Item 3 of 7Glasgow Corporation Housing Department (later Architectural & Planning Department, Glasgow Corporation)1936 Junior Assistant 
Item 4 of 7Keppie & Henderson19361939(?)Assistant 
Item 5 of 7Keppie & Henderson19461949Assistant 
Item 6 of 7Glasgow Corporation Education Office19491954Senior Assistant 
Item 7 of 7Ross, Doak & Whitelaw1954 Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6Thomas Johnston Beveridge8 July 1947For Associateship
Item 2 of 6Alexander Buchanan Campbell17 August 1968For Fellowship
Item 3 of 6Jack Antonio Coia17 August 1968For Fellowship
Item 4 of 6Andrew Graham Henderson8 July 1947For Associateship
Item 5 of 6Ninian Rutherford Jamieson Johnston17 August 1968For Fellowship
Item 6 of 6(Professor) William James Smith8 July 1947For 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 221955Drumry St Mary's Church of ScotlandDrumchapel GlasgowScotland 
Item 2 of 221955Garthamlock and Craigend Church of Scotland  GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 221955St Nicholas Church of ScotlandWester Hailes EdinburghScotlandFinal design as built
Item 4 of 22c. 1956Primary SchoolDrumchapel GlasgowScotland 
Item 5 of 221960sAmochrie Primary School  RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 6 of 221960sCooked meats factory for McKellar Watt  GlasgowScotland 
Item 7 of 221960sPrinting works and paper store for D C Thomson  GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 221960sScreen printing factoryKirkintilloch DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 9 of 221961St George's and St Peter's Church of Scotland and church hallEasterhouse GlasgowScotland 
Item 10 of 221962Anniesland College of Further Education  GlasgowScotland 
Item 11 of 221962Colston and Milton Church of ScotlandMilton GlasgowScotland 
Item 12 of 221962Moncrieffe Church of Scotland, CalderwoodEast Kilbride LanarkshireScotland 
Item 13 of 221963Camphill High SchoolPaisley RenfrwshireScotland 
Item 14 of 221963Grange Senior Secondary SchoolCastlemilk GlasgowScotland 
Item 15 of 221964Foxbar Primary SchoolPaisley RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 16 of 221966St Clare's RC ChurchEasterhouse GlasgowScotland 
Item 17 of 22Before 1970Residential SchoolAlyth PerthshireScotland 
Item 18 of 221971College of Education  AberdeenScotland 
Item 19 of 221975Aberdeen Technical College  AberdeenScotland 
Item 20 of 22Before 1975Ayrshire Central HospitalIrvine AyrshireScotlandArea Laundry
Item 21 of 22Before 1975Greenock and District Combination Hospital, GatesideGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandArea Laundry
Item 22 of 221979Rankin Memorial Maternity and Children's HospitalGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandSpecial Baby Care Unit


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 1RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Builder2 April 1954  p585
Item 2 of 3RIAS NewsletterFebruary 1993  Obituary of Archibald M Doak
Item 3 of 3RIAS NewsletterMay 1995v6, no4 Death notice

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 3H M Register HouseDeath Register  
Item 2 of 3Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Information from Chris Doak, son of Archibald McIntosh Doak
Item 3 of 3RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A no9095 (Combined Box 222); F no6305 (Combined Box 131)