Basic Biographical Details

Name: John George MacGruer
Born: 14 September 1914
Died: 22 March 1987
Bio Notes: John George MacGruer was born on 14 September 1914, the son of Farquhar MacGruer, joiner, and his wife Barbara Malcolm. From 1930-35 he studied at Edinburgh College of Art and Heriot Watt Technical College whilst at the same time serving his articles with James McLachlan. During his apprenticeship he was involved with '1st class' domestic work, shops, offices, churches and general architectural works. In 1935 he was awarded an Intermediate Certificate.

In February 1936 MacGruer moved to Surrey to a post as 3rd assistant in the office of Crouch & Coupland. He worked in a supervisory capacity on flats, commercial buildings, offices, recreational and domestic buildings. In April 1938 he returned to the office of McLachlan as chief assistant working on offices, a warehouse, commercial and domestic buildings. After a brief spell during 1938 with Wilson & Wilson of Falkirk working on flats, domestic and industrial buildings, shops, offices, an ice rink, a community centre and a cinema. He entered the City Engineer's Department in Edinburgh as a building inspector in November 1939 and supervised the erection of ARPs, both underground and surface types.

During the Second World War MacGruer worked for the Ministry of Supply in various different locations and in different posts. From May to August 1940 he was a temporary civil draughtsman with the Ministry of Supply at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich. He transferred in the latter month to the Outstation Duty RCF Southall still as a temporary civil draughtsman but with the added responsibility of being the acting assistant residential engineer. In June 1941 he moved to RCF Hirwein, Glamorgan in a similar position. Finally from November 1942 to September 1943 he was back in Scotland, still with the Ministry, in Portpatrick, Wigtownshire as assistant surveyor and acting residential supervising officer. During his time with the Ministry of Supply he worked on the layouts and working drawings of Royal Ordnance factories, as well as general site administration. When he was in Wigtownshire he also supervised a highly secret government contract.

From December 1943 to May 1944 he had a post as architectural assistant with the Department of Health in Scotland and worked on the general planning in relation to post war housing. However in June 1944 he enlisted with HM Forces and served in India. In May 1946 he returned the Department of Health as an architect working on housing and hospitals but left the following May to a post with the Scottish Special Housing Association where he remained until at least the late 1960s.

He was elected ARIAS in 1947 and LRIBA in 1951 his proposers being Alexander Allan Foote, James McLachlan and Alfred Hugh Mottram.

MacGruer died in Chalmers Hospital, Edinburgh, on 22 March 1987. His wife Winsome Grant Walker, had predeceased him but he was survived by his son.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 221, Calder Drive, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivateBefore 1948After 1954 
Item 2 of 221, Dovecote Grove, Kingsknowe, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate19601987 

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 10James McLachlan19301935Apprentice 
Item 2 of 10Couch & CouplandFebruary 1936April 1938Assistant 
Item 3 of 10James McLachlanApril 1938February 1939Chief Assistant 
Item 4 of 10Wilson & WilsonFebruary 1939October 1939Chief Assistant 
Item 5 of 10Edinburgh Burgh Engineers Office/Edinburgh City Engineer's DepartmentNovember 1939May 1940Inspector of Works 
Item 6 of 10Ministry of Supply, Engineers DepartmentMay 1940November 1942Draughtsman 
Item 7 of 10Ministry of Supply, Engineers DepartmentNovember 1942September 1943Surveyor 
Item 8 of 10Department of Health for Scotland (Scottish Board of Health; later Scottish Development Department)December 1943May 1944Assistant 
Item 9 of 10Department of Health for Scotland (Scottish Board of Health; later Scottish Development Department)May 1946March 1947Architect 
Item 10 of 10Scottish Special Housing Association (SSHA)April 1947Late 1960sArchitect 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Alexander Allan Foote6 February 1951For Licentiateship
Item 2 of 3James McLachlan6 February 1951For Licentiateship
Item 3 of 3Alfred Hugh Mottram6 February 1951For Licentiateship

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 11938Falkirk Ice RinkFalkirk StirlingshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 4RIBA1948The RIBA Kalendar 1948-1949 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 2 of 4RIBA1954RIBA Kalendar 1953-54   
Item 3 of 4RIBA1961Kalendar 1960-61   
Item 4 of 4RIBA1970RIBA Directory 1970   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2H M Register HouseDeath Register  
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination PapersL6463 (Box 140)