Basic Biographical Details

Name: Morton J H Cowie & Seaton
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: 1961
Ended: 1997
Bio Notes: Morton John Heddell Cowie was born on 14 October 1905, the son of Isaac john Cowie, company director, and his wife, Annie Ness Chapman. He was articled to Sir Robert Lorimer in November 1921, studying under John Begg at the School of Architecture, Edinburgh College of Art from the following year. On completion of his apprenticeship in November 1925 he became a junior draughtsman in Lorimer's office, leaving the following year to complete his diploma with four years of full-time study whilst working with Leslie Grahame-Thomson during vacations. He was awarded the diploma in 1930 and in the same year passed the RIBA qualifying exam in Edinburgh. He became ARIBA early the following year, his proposers being Begg, Charles Denny Carus-Wilson and William Davidson; at that time he was still employed in Grahame-Thomson's office, and was living in his parents' home, 'Durrisdeer', 30 St John's Road, Corstorphine, from where he began a small business shortly afterwards. He joined the practice of Leadbetter, Fairley & Reid in the early 1930s and from 1935 to 1940 was involved in a part-time partnership with David Gardiner Hardie (born 1896) based at 11 Melville Street, Leith. From 1939 Cowie and Hardie carried out the design and construction of air raid shelters across Edinburgh, Hardie patenting his own shelter design in the following year. Cowie's involvement in this sphere lead to Leadbetter, Fairley and Reid also providing plans, section and elevations for air raid shelters across the capital such.

Fairley retired in 1938 and died on 18 May 1942 at Mount Pleasant, Inverugie, Peterhead; Reid in 1947. Cowie, who had returned to the practice after service in the war, moved office in the summer of 1948 to 53 Manor Place where he continued a successful independent practice under his own name. In 1950 Cowie is recorded as being a Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

In 1961 Cowie took into partnership Edinburgh College of Art-trained Douglas William Seaton into partnership in 1961, the firm becoming Morton J H Cowie and Seaton.

Cowie retired in 1970 and died at the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh on 14 October 1971, survived by his wife Kathleen Nicholls. His home was in Northamptonshire.

Seaton continued the practice under the same name until his own retirement following a stroke in 1997, remaining in Edinburgh thereafter. He died in July or August 2007, survived by his wife Christine.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 153, Manor Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1964 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 2Morton John Heddell Cowie19611970Partner 
Item 2 of 2Douglas William Seaton19611997Partner 


Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSCowie and Seaton Collection Many plans and drawings.