Charles McKean




Charles McKean, Emeritus Professor of Scottish Architectural History at the University, died in September 2013.

The University of Dundee is maintaining Professor McKean’s web profile in order to recognise and publicise work he has already completed that will be published posthumously. We anticipate closing public access to his profile in December 2014. After that date his work will be held in our digital archive.

Charles was a passionate advocate of preserving Dundee's architectural history and led hundreds of walking tours of the city over the past two decades. He was awarded an Honorary Stephen Fry Award by the University in 2012 for his life time achievements in engaging the public with his research in Scottish architectural history.

Charles was a major voice in architecture and history and someone who made a tremendous impact in everything he did. He played a critical role in establishing History at Dundee as a leading UK centre in the discipline.

Before coming to Dundee, Professor McKean was Chief Executive of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. He was appointed Head of the School of Architecture at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in 1995, before taking up his position as Professor of Scottish Architectural History in the History department in 1997.

He edited the journal London Architect from 1970-75, was architecture correspondent for The Times newspaper from 1977-83, and held a similar position for Scotland On Sunday from 1988-90. His distinguished career also included being Chair of UNESCO Edinburgh World Heritage Trust.

He held fellowships of the Royal Society of Arts, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Historical Society, and was an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

From 2003-09 he was a member of the Scottish committee of the Heritage Lottery Fund, one of many prominent committee positions he occupied. In 2005 he was appointed Honorary President of the St Andrews Preservation Trust. He was also a prolific author of architecture and history books.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications


'The Architecture of Three Religions - Scottish Church Architecture following the Council of Trent' in Châtenet et Mignot (eds) (2008) L'Architecture Religieuse après la Reforme (forthoming Paris).

'The evolving role and function of the Scottish tolbooth 1500- 1740' in Ottenheym (ed.) (2008), Rencontre d'architecture europeènne: Bâtiments Publiques I (forthcoming, Paris).

'Everyday building in Enlightenment Scotland' in Foyster and Whatley (eds.) (2008), Everyday life in Scotland

'What kind of Renaissance port was Dundee ?' in McKean, Harris & Whatley (eds.) (2008), Dundee - the Making of the City 1500 - 1800.

'Understanding pilgrimage towns - decoding Tain and Whithorn' in Architectural Heritage (2008)

'Some Later Jacobean Villas in Scotland' in M. Airs and G. Tyack, (eds.) (2007), The Renaissance Villa

'A Cult of Mary Queen of Scots?' in Architectural Heritage XVIII (2007)

'A Scottish problem with Castles' Historical Research Vol 79, no. 204 (2006)

'Quelques villas de l'époque du roi Jacques V1', in Châtenet M. (eds.) (2006), Maisons de Champs dans l' Europe de la renaissance Picard (Paris).

'From Castles to Calvinists - Scottish Architectural Publishing in the last 50 years' in Architectural Heritage XV11 (2006)

'The Architectural Evolution of Innes House', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (2004)

'Twinning Cities - Modernisation and Improvement in the old and new towns of Edinburgh', in B. Edwards (ed.), Edinburgh - the Shaping of a City (Edinburgh, 2004).

'Galleries, Girnals and the Woman House', in Review of Scottish Culture (2004)

'The Scottish Renaissance Country Seat in its Setting' in Garden History 31.2 (London, 2004).

'Comfort and the Customising of cities', in B. Czarniawska and R. Solli (eds.), Organising Metropolitan Space and Discourse (Malmo, 2001).

'Timothy Pont's Building Illustrations', in I. Cuninghame (ed.), The Nation Survey'd - the maps of Timothy Pont (East Linton, 2001).

'The influence of nationalism upon the Museum of Scotland', in J. Fladmark (ed.), Heritage lV (Donhead) (2000)


The Scottish Thirties - an Architectural Introduction (Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh, 1987).

For a Wee Country: architectural contributions to Scotland since 1840 (RIAS, Edinburgh, 1990).

Edinburgh Portrait of a City (Century, London, 1993).

The Making of the Museum of Scotland (NMS, Edinburgh, 2000).

The Scottish Chateau (Sutton Press, Stroud, 2002).

Battle for the North - Scottish Railway Wars and the Forth and Tay Bridges (Granta, London, 2006).