Person NameGeddes; Sir; Patrick (1854-1932); Pioneer of sociology and town planner
EpithetPioneer of sociology and town planner
ActivityPatrick Geddes was born in Ballater, Aberdeenshire, in 1854, but was brought up in Perth. From an early age he was interested in natural history and briefly attended Edinburgh University. After leaving he studied under T.F. Huxley at the Royal School of Mines, and then at the Sorbonne marine research station in Brittany. He made several important discoveries before seriously damaging his eyesight. He turned to social sciences, and though he was appointed Professor of Botany in Dundee in 1888 he devoted much of his time to town improvement in Edinburgh. He worked on student accommodation and the integration of student and town life in the city, and expanded his interests to town and rural planning, with his influence felt as far afield as America, Inda and Palestine. He was interested in the Celtic Revival and pioneered the magazine 'Evergreen', whose literary adviser was William Sharp ('Fiona Macleod'); with Victor Branford he studied the Sociological Society in 1903; and he formed the Eastern Colonial Association in October 1897 to aid Armenian refugees in Cyprus. He is remembered for two key projects to which he devoted many years: the Outlook Tower, his ‘sociological laboratory’, on Castlehill in Edinburgh, and the Scots College at Montpelier. He was knighted in 1931, but after suffering ill health, linked to overwork, from 1924, he died in 1932. He married Anna Morton in 1886, and after her death he married Lilian Brown. His daughter Norah married Sir Frank Mears, architect, who worked on many of Geddes’ schemes.
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