great achievement in life
has been the making of a bridge between
Biology and Social Science"
SIR PATRICK GEDDES
Partrick Geddes was born in Ballater, Royal Deeside, Scotland. His father
was a regular soldier in the army and he grew up without the privileges
of a wealthly background.
He had akeen interest in Biology, the study of life flora and fauna and
by the age of 24 he showed great promise as a biologist and many of his
research papers were already published by the Royal Society.
He flourished in a time of enlightenment in Victorian Edinburgh. In 1879
he was employed by The British Association for the Advancement of Science
to establish a zoological station for Aberdeen University in , at nearby
Stonehaven and he was then sent to Mexico on a research mission.
Whilst there he contracted an illness there which temporarily blinded
him, and when he recovered eye strain prevented him from using a microscope
and he was unable to continue research which required him to use one.
He then applied his biological knowledge to the needs of mankind and developed
theories of the appropriate living conditions. Working and teaching from
the Camera Obscura Outlook Tower, he developed and played a large part
in much of the renovation of the Royal Mile including the building of
Ramsay Garden. Building beautiful new homes which were a huge contrast
to the cramped and squalid conditions that existed previously on the Royal
Mile. There are many spots on the Royal Mile with a plaque dedicated to
Pattrick Geddes including, Ramsay Lane, Castle Wynd Steps South ( Also
called Patrick Geddes Steps) and Dunbar Close Gardens.
Furthermore he developed new theories on education and organised Summer
Schools to spread his ideas about how the arts and sciences could be applied
to town planning and
improved living conditions.
was instrumental in the design of Edinburgh Zoo and created more natural
environments for the animals, separating them from the public by moats
rather than the usual cages typical of Victorian minageries. Geddes was
a pioneer in what we now call an ecology.
1896 Geddes spent the winter in Cyprus helping refugees from the war between
Turkey and Armenia to resettle and establish small units for agriculture
and industry. Afterwards he organised a series of exhibitions to teach
that good planning always leads to the physical and mental wellbeing of
His achievements and teachings brought him worldwide fame and he toured
The USA, France and India where he worked extensively. There he met and
exchanged ideas on phylosophy with Gandhi and Tagore. In 1919 he was invited
to design the new Jerusalem Univerity in Isreal.
He was knighted Sir Patrick Geddes shortly before his death in 1932 in
Montpellier France where he had founded an international teaching establishment
- The College Des Ecossais - The Colege of The Scot.