Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||Norman Alexander Gordon Neil |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||15 January 1899 |
|Died: ||12 April 1972 |
|Bio Notes: ||Norman Alexander Gordon Neil was born on 15 January 1899, the son of Alexander Neil, Church of Scotland minister, and his wife Cecilia Morrison. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1919 to 1927, attending day classes for the first two years and morning classes for the rest of his certificate course whilst working as an assistant in the office of Frank Charles Mears. In 1926 he spent time travelling in France and Italy. He remained with Mears after the formation of the latter's partnership with Charles Denny Carus-Wilson, and by 1931 had been promoted to chief assistant. In July that year he passed the qualifying exam in Edinburgh and he was admitted ARIBA at the end of the year, his proposers being Mears, Carus-Wilson and John Begg. |
In 1932 he formed a partnership with a younger colleague in Mears's office, Robert Hurd (born 1905), who had recently arrived in Scotland to 'write about architecture and investigate national traditions'. Neil was the modernist in practice (whilst at the same time being a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland), designing Ravelston flats in 1935 while Hurd undertook three restoration commissions for the Marquess of Bute.
Neil's first wife was German and he took a keen interest in German architecture. He was also a keen photographer and took many official pictures of the early years of the Edinburgh International Festival.
The partnership with Hurd was suspended when Neil left for India, his engagement to the practice's secretary having caused some embarrassment. It is said that he was friendly with a maharaja and a large scheme of high-density housing was prepared for him when he returned to the practice after the war. The practice title remained unchanged as Neil & Hurd until 1950 when Neil left altogether, marrying his secretary at around that time; the name was then changed to Robert Hurd Architect.
Neil died on 12 April 1972 at his home in Edinburgh. He had been married twice, first to Hedy Deasson and second to Elizabeth Beatrice Helen Bentinck.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|Renton Hall, Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland||Business|| || || |
|7, North West Circus Place, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private|| ||1972|| |
|7, Glenorchy Terrace, Edinburgh, Scotland||Private||c. 1931||After 1939|| |
|3, Forres Street, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1932||1944||Neil & Hurd from 1934|
|12, Randolph Place, Edinburgh, Scotland||Business||1944||c. 1950|| |
Employment and Training
* earliest date known from documented sources.
Buildings and Designs
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|Post Office Directories|| || || || || |
|RIBA||1930||The RIBA Kalendar 1930-1931|| ||London: Royal Institute of British Architects|| |
|RIBA||1939||The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940|| ||London: Royal Institute of British Architects|| |
|The following archives hold material relating to this architect:|
| ||Source||Archive Name||Source Catalogue No.||Notes|
|H M Register House||Death Register|| || |
|Professor David M Walker personal archive||Professor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material|| ||Personal information from Ian Begg (letter, 20 January 2005)|
|RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert Museum||RIBA Nomination Papers|| ||A no4782 (combined box 35)|