The Garden Guide

Gillespie, William

Born - Died : 1926 - 2011

Bill Gillespie was the founding partner of Gillespies, a leading British landscape architecture practice. Bill Gillespie was born at Moorcroft, in Grasscroft, which is now part of Greater Manchester. He was the son of a wealthy cotton mill owner whose business failed, due to a flood of cheap imports just before the Second World War. Bill  studied landscape architecture under Frank Clark at Reading. He became Chief landscape architect to Cumbernauld New town and left the job to start a landscape architecture practice in Glasgow. It became William Gillespie and Partners when he took Rodney Beaument and Wendy Powell into partnership. The firm took over some work from Sylvia Crowe, with whom Wendy Powell had been an associate. In 1975-6 Bill Gillespie spent much time in Egypt working on the Suez Canal Regional Plan for the United Nations Development Programme. In the mid-1980s, Bill was strategic landscape adviser to the Scottish Development Agency for the Glasgow Garden Festival, and to the London Docklands Development Corporation on the Royal Docks for Reg Ward and his team. Gillespies designed Strathclyde Park under his leadership, with Rodney Beaumont the partner in charge. The form also worked South of Scotland Electricity Board, on Torness Power Station and advised  the Northwest Water Authority, the National Savings Bank, Kodak, Glaxo, Distillers Co. Ltd and the National Trust of Scotland. Gillespies were master planners for the Liverpool International Garden Festival (1984) and the Glasgow Garden Festival (1988). He worked with Richard Rogers on a master plan for The Royal Docks in London and proposed a framework of wind turbines to substitute for visual impact of the giant cranes which used to dominate the area. Gillespie gave time and energy to the Institute of Landscape Architects and managed its expansion in 1974-5 to include landscape scientists and landscape managers. The Institute of Landscape Architects (ILA) obtained a Royal Charter and became the Landscape Institute. He was an examiner for the Design Set Piece, Chairman of the Scottish Chapter and President of the Institute.