Renaissance man kept standards high

Bill Campbell took on planning cases all over Scotland. Picture: contributed
Bill Campbell took on planning cases all over Scotland. Picture: contributed
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AN architect who went on to become one of Scotland’s foremost authorities on planning has died aged 84.

Bill Campbell was born in India in 1929 and came to Scotland at four to be raised by his grandmother in Stenton, East Lothian, where he attended primary school.

He went on to Dollar Academy, an independent school in Clackmannanshire, where he completed his education as dux of the school.

After graduating from the School of Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art, and following a brief spell in Northern Rhodesia, he completed two years of national service before returning to Edinburgh in 1957 to work in Regent Terrace in the fledgling practice of Robert Matthew.

Bill bought and restored the 17th-century Kinloch House in Haddington, living on the top floors above the office.

In the early 1970s, he went to Edinburgh University to study planning. After graduating, he worked in Leicester and Hampshire before returning to Scotland to join the Scottish Office Inquiry Reporters Unit, then expanding to cope with oil-related development pressures around Aberdeen.

Bill took on a lot of this work as well as listed buildings and architectural cases.

Among the major cases he undertook were a large retail complex at Newhouse and a proposal to carry out investigative drilling in the Galloway Hills to ascertain their suitability for storing spent ­nuclear fuel. The standard of his work led to his eventual promotion to deputy chief reporter.

Following his retirement he became involved with many public bodies, among them the Royal Fine Art Commission, the Cockburn Association and the Saltire Society.

A keen genealogist, Bill was also enormously well-read and a keen traveller, enjoying serious walking tours all over Europe, indulging 
his love of flowers and plants and small group trips to unlikely destinations.

Bill’s friend and former colleague Ian Arnott said: “He was a wonderful host and an accomplished cook. His love of food and wine made it a pleasure to return his hospitality, provided always that the standards were kept high.

“These were the standards he set for himself and when he failed he was the first to admit it.

“Indeed, some of the keenest of his dry wit was reserved for stories against himself – the raciest and funniest of which must remain on restricted circulation.

“Bill Campbell was a polymath, the nearest thing to a Renaissance man the 20th century would allow. He enriched those he touched, was an entertaining companion and a loyal friend.

“To have known him is a privilege, to have worked together is an honour but there has been no greater enjoyment than sharing his close friendship for so many years.”