Scott Wilson Scotland: A History

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Scott Wilson Scotland: A History

by J P McCafferty

My first thought when embarking on this History of Scott Wilson Scotland was that I might write a few pages for inclusion in an overall history of the Scott Wilson Group. Later, I come to the conclusion that a more comprehensive, 'stand alone', history of Scott Wilson in Scotland was required to do justice to the subject matter and to record more fully the distinctive character of the Firm in Scotland and the people who worked there and made it such a success.

London based Scott & Wilson, Kirkpatrick & Partners (the firms had merged in 1954 but took years to make the leap to Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick & Partners and later to Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick and finally to Scott Wilson) opened a Branch Office at 252 High St Glasgow in 1960 to give 'advice on traffic studies for a new ring road for Glasgow'. This led to major design commissions for the Glasgow Motorways and the establishment of the main office at 6 Park Circus. By 1971, Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick & Co (Scotland) had been established and by 1979, Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick & Partners (Scotland). Additional Offices were established in Inverness, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Belfast and Dublin as Scott Wilson Scotland (as it became known) extended its influence.

In 2006, Scott Wilson had a successful flotation on the UK Stock market and in 2007, the Glasgow Office moved to Citypoint. A process of sectorisation and more central control ensued bringing an end to the era of geographically autonomous businesses. By 2010, Scott Wilson was gone, acquired by US giant, URS; by 2014, URS had itself been swallowed up by another US giant AECOM!

Scott Wilson Scotland was a very successful business, it 'punched above its weight' and its staff 'travelled well' achieving success in other parts of the Scott Wilson Group. At one stage, when I was a Director of Scott Wilson Holdings, fully one third of my fellow Directors had roots in the Glasgow office; one of those became Senior Partner and another CEO, of the Group.

Most of the content is from my own archive, some from former colleagues who responded to my call for contributions.

There is a significant Scott Wilson Scotland archive including personal material that I and others lodge there over our working lives. However, some of the archive material appears to have been 'lost', is not easily available and may be under threat of disposal as a consequence of the recent changes in ownership. It is hoped that the most significant parts of the Scott Wilson Scotland archive will be preserved and that some of it might find its way into this history/archive in the fullness of time.

I have, therefore, decided to publish this version of the History in website format to keep it 'live' and to encourage contributions from those 'who were there'. As you will discover, it is as much a working Archive as a straight forward History: I hope you enjoy the content.

Furthermore, if you have photographs, anecdotes, technical papers or any other information, comments or contributions, please make contact or send them to me at

Jim McCafferty October 2015.
(Revised July 2018).