Harriet Richardson Blakeman profile picture


Architectural History - PhD/MPhil

Start date:


Mode of study:

Full time

Research title:

Medicine and Modernity: Fifty Years of NHS Hospital Building in Scotland, 1948-1998


Harriet Blakeman is a PhD student funded by the AHRC’s Doctoral Training Partnership awarded by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities.

She holds degrees from the University of Nottingham in Art History and English Literature (B.A.hons) and the University of St Andrews in architectural history (M.Litt by dissertation, on the restoration of Kellie Castle, Fife).

After University she worked at the National Monuments Record of Scotland in 1988-9, before embarking on a survey of Scottish Hospitals on a two-year project funded by the Scottish Research Council. This led to her appointment to work on a similar survey in England undertaken by the Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England. These projects resulted in the publication of English Hospitals 1660-1948 (RCHME, 1998), edited by Harriet, and Building up our Health: the architecture of Scotland’s historic hospitals, (Historic Scotland, 2010).

From 1991 to 2018 Harriet was part of the Survey of London team, researching and writing on London's urban history. She contributed to the volumes on Knightsbridge, Clerkenwell, Battersea, South West Marylebone and Oxford Street. Since 2013 the Survey of London has been a part of the Bartlett School of Architecture, and Harriet participated in teaching at the school, on research methods and on the Architecture and Historic Urban Environments MA programme.

Harriet has maintained an interest in hospital architecture and design, and established a WordPress site in 2016, https://historic-hospitals.com an architectural gazetteer. This was initially set up to make the findings of the Scottish hospitals survey more widely available to the public, but has expanded to include regular blog posts on varied aspects of hospital history, as well as further gazetteers of hospitals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Throughout her career Harriet retained her maiden name of Richardson


Harriet is researching post-war Scottish hospital architecture, concentrating on the first fifty years of the National Health Service.

This is a little-studied aspect of architectural history, and with no overview of hospital architecture in Scotland in this period, Harriet’s first priority is to establish what was built, or planned to be built, from complete new hospitals to significant additions to existing sites. Initial research questions will seek to establish plan types, and identify architects, engineers, construction companies, medical staff and administrators involved in planning and design. Selected sites will be researched in greater depth as case studies, looking at continuity with pre-war design, National differences, pre-fabrication and standardization, the effects of economic recession, the impact of the Private Finance Initiative and the importance of process and collaboration.