William “Bill” Gillespie, founding partner of Gillespies and former President of the LI, sadly passed away on 3 May 2011
Bill worked tirelessly and enthusiastically to promote landscape architecture and to establish his Practice – firstly as William Gillespie Associates, then William Gillespie & Partners, then Gillespies (after he retired) and now Gillespies LLP. His exceptional contribution to the profession lives on in the many projects and schemes that he worked on.
Bill was from Yorkshire originally and studied under Frank Clark at Reading. His early career culminated in the position of Chief Landscape Architect for Cumbernauld New Town. Although the central megastructure of this town has been much vilified, Bill’s residential, forest and recreational landscapes have stood the test of time and have matured into high-quality settings enjoyed by thousands today.
In the early days of his practice, Bill worked on sensitive and historic places including Park Circus in Glasgow and Charlotte Square in Edinburgh.
In the mid-1970s, Bill played a leading role in the UNDP regional plan for the Suez Canal.
In the mid-1980s, Bill acted as strategic landscape adviser to the Scottish Development Agency for the highly successful Glasgow Garden Festival, and to the London Docklands Development Corporation in east London preparing a development strategy for the royal docks for Reg Ward and his team. This significant project led on to the founding of Gillespies’ London office for which Bill was responsible in its early years.
Bill was responsible for the design and management of extensive regeneration projects in central Scotland including Strathclyde Park – one of the most popular and best-loved public spaces hosting international rowing and sailing events.
He pioneered Environmental Assessment work for the power and water industries, notably South of Scotland Electricity Board and the Northwest Water Authority in the English Lake District.
Bill completed numerous new designs for high-profile projects in both the public and private sectors for clients including the National Savings Bank, Kodak, Glaxo, Distillers Co. Ltd and also for the National Trust of Scotland.
Bill considered his tenure as President of the Landscape Institute as one of the pinnacles of his career, and always encouraged others to become actively involved in the profession.
Bill is remembered fondly by all of the Partners at Gillespies and, especially, those who had the good fortune to work with him. He is survived by his wife, Linda, five children and six grandchildren.