Rory Lamb profile picture


Architecture - PhD/MPhil/MSc by Research

Start date:


Mode of study:

Full time

Research title:

Scots in London: Townhouses, Identity and the Metropolis, 1660-1800


I grew up in St Andrews and first came to the University of Edinburgh for my MA(Hons) in Architectural History from 2012-2016. After graduating I went on to the University of Bath, gaining a distinction in their IHBC-accredited MSc programme in the Conservation of History Buildings before taking up a position as Built Heritage Assistant at Alastair Coey Architects, a specialist conservation practice in Belfast.

I worked for two years on some fascinating projects spanning Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland which included writing conservation management plans for local councils and community groups and undertaking designation surveys for the Northern Irish Department of Communities and the Irish Department for Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht. During my time in Belfast I gained full membership of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC).

Returning to Edinburgh in 2019, I began my PhD research into Scottish residences in London in the long eighteenth century. Alongside my studies, I am an experience choral singer and currently a member of the Schola Cantorum of St Mary’s Metropolitan Cathedral in Edinburgh.


In 2021-22 I will be teaching as a postgraduate tutor on Architectural History 1A and 1B.


My research interests centre on British architecture in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, particularly in Scotland, and on the cultural exchange between Scotland and England. These interests grew out of a research project on the Scottish politician Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, an amateur architect who sought advice from leading English architects in the early eighteenth century. I was fortunate to have my essay on Fletcher published in The Architecture of Scotland, 1660-1750 in 2020.

Exploring these ideas of architectural exchange further, my PhD topic looks at the Scots living in London between 1660 and 1800 to think about how London impacted their architecture, lifestyles and ideas of Scottish, British and imperial identity. This work focusses on urban architecture, primarily the processes of leasing, improving and occupying London townhouses, but offers connections to the country house and the townhouse in Scotland. One aspect of my work concentrates on the careers of Scottish Neoclassical architects working in London, in particular James Playfair (1755-1794), the lesser-known father of the Edinburgh architect, William Henry Playfair, and his attempts to bring London architectural ideas to Scotland.

Beyond my doctoral work, I have a deep love of church architecture especially in its theological connections to Roman Catholic liturgy, and have published a study of the medieval parish church at St Monans in Fife.