Basic Biographical Details

Name: Walter Neil Wilson Ramsay
Born: 1 November 1910
Died: 15 March 1999
Bio Notes: Walter Neil Wilson Ramsay was born on 1 November 1910, the son of Archibald Ramsay, railway office manager, and his wife Euphemia Craigie Mackenzie. In 1925 he began the diploma course at the School of Architecture, Glasgow College of Art where he spent three years as a day student and four years as a part-time student. He was employed by James Taylor Thomson & McCrea for four years during this period. He was awarded his Diploma in Architecture in 1933 and the Alexander Thomson Travelling scholarship in 1935, enabling him to carry out research in the British Schools in Rome and Athens for short periods of time the following two years. From 1936 to 1940 he was an assistant architect with Glasgow Corporation.

During World War II Ramsay saw active service, latterly in Syria. He spent three of the war years as garrison engineer. After demobilisation Ramsay returned to his post with Glasgow Corporation. He was admitted ARIBA on 6 May 1947, his proposers being William McCrea, William James Smith and Joseph Weekes and FRIAS in 1954. His obituary in the RIAS Newsletter indicates that he was also employed by Keppie & Henderson but his Nomination Papers make no mention of this. His address in 1950 was given as 42 Randolph Road, Jordanhill. It seems that he joined C J McNair & Elder briefly as partner (the name changing to C H McNair Elder & Ramsay)before setting up business on his own account.

One of Ramsay's first competition successes was the design submitted in conjunction with Gordon Biggar, then President of the Stirling Chapter of the RIAS for the Nigerian Government buildings. Their design was placed second.

In the 1950s Ramsay became a full-time lecturer at Glasgow School of Art. He subsequently had success in the competitions for the University of Edinburgh Medical Buildings and Glasgow Faculty of Arts Buildings. Ramsay then formed his own practice. He was elected FRIBA on 2 October 1968, proposed by William McCrea, William A P Jack and William John Fairweather.

Rmsay's work for the University of Glasgow was extensive and by 1975 he had designed buildings work 750,000; similarly for the University of Edinburgh his work totalled 6m.

In 'recent years' he gifted old GIA minute books which he had rescued after the closure of the Institute Rooms at the Art School to the RIAS archive.

Ramsay was married to fellow-architect Elizabeth Bell McLaren. He died on 15 March 1999 at Gartnavel General Hospital. He was survived by his wife and his son, Neil.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 620, Wood Street, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, ScotlandPrivate1947 *  
Item 2 of 642, Randolph Road, Jordanhill, Glasgow, ScotlandPrivate/business(?)1950 *1999 
Item 3 of 6529, Sauchiehall Street, Charing Cross, Glasgow, ScotlandBusiness1951  
Item 4 of 611, Park Circus, WC3 25 January 1957After 1981Builder p209 etc
Item 5 of 66 (or 5?), Magdala Mews, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1970After 1981Edinburgh branch office.
Item 6 of 628, Walker Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1981 Branch office. HQ in Glasgow

* 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 6Keppie & Henderson  AssistantDates for this not clear, but probably in late 1940s.
Item 2 of 6James Taylor Thomson & McCrea (or Thomson & Partner)1925c. 1930Apprentice 
Item 3 of 6Glasgow Office of Public Works Architectural Department (later Glasgow Corporation City Engineer's Department)19361940Assistant 
Item 4 of 6(Professor) William James SmithLate 1930s AssistantDates uncertain
Item 5 of 6C J McNair Elder & Ridley1951 Architect 
Item 6 of 6C J McNair Elder & Ramsay1952 Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6William John Fairweather2 October 1968For Fellowship
Item 2 of 6William Archibald Park Jack2 October 1968For Fellowship
Item 3 of 6William McCrea6 May 1947For Associateship
Item 4 of 6William McCrea2 October 1968For Fellowship
Item 5 of 6(Professor) William James Smith6 May 1947For Associateship
Item 6 of 6Joseph Weekes6 May 1947For Associateship

RIBA Proposals

This proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 1Thomas Gibson7 October 1970For 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 441939Supreme Court  LagosNigeriaWorking in conjunction with Gordon Biggar Buchanan.
Item 2 of 441951University of Edinburgh, Medical Buildings (Pharmacology Department and Hugh Robson Building)  Edinburgh, MidlothianScotlandWon competition
Item 3 of 441953Glasgow University, Faculty of Arts Block  GlasgowScotlandWins competition for design of new Faculty of Arts building. Construction completed about 1959.
Item 4 of 441953University of Edinburgh, Medical School and McEwan Hall  EdinburghScotlandWon competition and Phases 1-4 carried out.
Item 5 of 441955Killermont Parish ChurchBearsden GlasgowScotlandChurch
Item 6 of 441956Castlemilk East ChurchCastlemilk GlasgowScotland 
Item 7 of 441957St Modan's RC Primary School  GlasgowScotland 
Item 8 of 4425 January 1957Parish Church  GlasgowScotlandBuilder p209
Item 9 of 441958University of Edinburgh, Medical School and McEwan Hall  EdinburghScotlandS extension. Perhaps at this time also added the central medical library.
Item 10 of 441959University of Glasgow, Garscube Site, Veterinary Hospital & SchoolGarscube, Bearsden GlasgowScotlandWellcome Laboratories.
Item 11 of 441960sHousing for J Turner & Co.Dalgety Bay FifeScotland 
Item 12 of 441960s(?)University of Glasgow, hostels  GlasgowScotland 
Item 13 of 441960s(?)University of Glasgow, lecture theatres  GlasgowScotland 
Item 14 of 441962Queen Margaret HallKirklee GlasgowScotland 
Item 15 of 441962Royal Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons  GlasgowScotlandLecture theatre and library, including remodelling of the landing.
Item 16 of 441963Lochwood Church of Scotland and hallsEasterhouse GlasgowScotland 
Item 17 of 441963Western Highway Motel  GlasgowScotland 
Item 18 of 441964Maclay Hall of Residence  GlasgowScotlandConservation and reconstruction
Item 19 of 441964Private Housing for Miltonhill Estates LtdMilton DunbartonshireScotland 
Item 20 of 441965Cleveden Secondary SchoolKelvinside Glasgow With Wright Construction.
Item 21 of 441965Dalrymple Hall of residence  GlasgowScotlandReconstruction of 5 houses to form hall of residence
Item 22 of 441966Ladyland Estate 'village' developmentBeith AyrshireScotland 
Item 23 of 441966Restaurant, Esquire HouseAnniesland GlasgowScotland 
Item 24 of 441966University of Glasgow, principal's lodging and reception suite  GlasgowScotland 
Item 25 of 441967Mearnstower Church of ScotlandMearns RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 26 of 441967Northern CDO   Scotland 
Item 27 of 441967Telephone ExchangeLanark LanarkshireScotland 
Item 28 of 441967Telephone ExchangeKilmarnock AyrshireScotland 
Item 29 of 441967Telephone exchangeBearsden GlasgowScotland 
Item 30 of 441967Telephone ExchangeUddingston LanarkshireScotland 
Item 31 of 441968University of Edinburgh, Medical Buildings (Pharmacology Department and Hugh Robson Building)  Edinburgh, MidlothianScotlandPharmacology Department
Item 32 of 44c. 1970Burrell Collection  GlasgowScotlandCompetition design- has elements of F L Wright's Guggenheim Museum in NY.
Item 33 of 441974Lister Hall  GlasgowScotland 
Item 34 of 44Before 1975House for Mrs CampbellBlairgowrie PerthshireScotland 
Item 35 of 44Before 1975Housing layoutCampbeltown ArgyleScotland 
Item 36 of 44Before 1975Mearns Castle  GlasgowScotlandRestoration
Item 37 of 44Before 1975Men's hostel  EdinburghScotland 
Item 38 of 44Before 1975Rosslyn InnRoslin MidlothianScotlandRestoration
Item 39 of 44Before 1975Telephone exchangeRenfrew RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 40 of 44Before 1975University of Edinburgh, animal houses  EdinburghScotland 
Item 41 of 44Before 1975University of Edinburgh, biochemistry department  EdinburghScotland 
Item 42 of 44Before 1975University of Edinburgh, central boiler house  EdinburghScotland 
Item 43 of 441978University of Edinburgh, Medical Buildings (Pharmacology Department and Hugh Robson Building)  Edinburgh, MidlothianScotlandHugh Robson Building
Item 44 of 441979Provands Lordship  GlasgowScotlandRestoration


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 3Glendinning, Miles1997Rebuilding Scotland: The Postwar Vision, 1945-75  Tuckwell Press Ltdp4 University of Edinburgh Medical School
p16 Plan for redevelopment of the north side of George Square
Item 2 of 3RIBA1950The RIBA Kalendar 1950-1951 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 3 of 3RIBA1981Directory of Practices 1981   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 7Builder26 January 1951  p155
Item 2 of 7Builder9 February 1951  p196-9
Item 3 of 7Builder9 January 1953  p107
Item 4 of 7Builder30 January 1953  p188-191, 200
Item 5 of 7Builder25 January 1957  p209
Item 6 of 7RIAS NewsletterApril 1999v10, no3 Death note
Item 7 of 7RIAS NewsletterJune 1999v10, no5 Obituary

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 3RIAS, Rutland SquareRecords of membership  
Item 3 of 3RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F no6398 (Combined Box 137)