James Keith Hamilton Architect at DB3

A tribute to James Keith Hamilton

Alex Lawler DarntonB3, Heritage

It is with great sadness that we have to report that on Thursday 16th April our colleague Keith Hamilton was involved in a tragic accident whilst on his bike, colliding with a lorry.

His former business partner, colleague and friend David Gibson (Retired Architect) has put together some heartfelt reflections, that includes Keith’s impressive contribution to architecture and conservation over his career.

Keith, a former pupil of Altrincham Grammar School, qualified as an Architect from Bristol University from where he progressed to work with a number of architectural practices such as Whitfield Partners London, George Grey Partners Derby and Building Design Partnership Manchester. In 1984, together with David Gibson, Keith launched the Gibson Hamilton Partnership (GHP) in Loughborough. GHP was bought out by B3 Architects 23 years later and since their merging with Darnton EGS Architects in 2015, Keith has been part of our DarntonB3 Architecture team.

Conservation was a particular specialisation of Keith. Having completed the course at the then Leicester Polytechnic he received a Diploma in Conservation of Historic Buildings before becoming a Grade ‘A’ Accredited Architect In the Conservation of Historic Buildings.  Due to his expertise and experience Keith quickly gathered a reputation for being able to offer sound and knowledgeable advice across a broad range of conservation projects.  

Keith was the architect responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of in excess of 50 historic churches, many of which were examples of prominent Grade 1 and Grade 2* Listed buildings, located in the Dioceses of Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Peterborough and Southwell. He was also the former Architect to the Churches Conservation Trust in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Non ecclesiastical projects undertaken by Keith included work at:

  • Nottingham Castle – new visitor attraction
  • Lincoln Crown Court, Lincoln Castle – repairs to roofs and interior
  • Britannia Panoptican, Trongate, Glasgow – restoration of 1850’s Music Hall on behalf of Historic Scotland and Glasgow City Council
  • Newarke House, Leicester – measures to ensure DDA compliance
  • Mackintosh Gallery, Glasgow – drawings to aid restoration of wall paper, fabrics and interiors
  • Warwick Court House and Yeomanry Museum – new TIC and part HLF funded project
  • Papplewick Pumping Station, Nottinghamshire – part HLF funded to develop potential tourist attraction
  • Staunton Harold Hall, Leicestershire – repairs to external fabric, lead statues and stonework
  • Worcester Shire Hall – restoration of roof, stonework and steps on behalf of the Combined Court Service
  • Leicester University Engineering Building – Preparation of Conservation Management Plan for this iconic Grade 2 Listed Building.

Other organisations that benefitted from Keith’s active involvement during his career in his capacity either simply as a member and or as an officer, included, Derby Civic Society, SPAB, the Victorian Society, the Men of Stones and the Twentieth Century Society.

On a more personal note, David Gibson said:“In the above circumstances it is perhaps ironical that cycling played such a significant role in Keith’s life, spanning from his teenage days when he aspired to being a champion of national significance for his age group, to having great satisfaction in still being sufficiently fit and able in his maturing years to enable him to accompany his son, Robert at last year’s Ride London”.

Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends from everyone here at DarntonB3. We very much share David’s concluding words: “Thank you Keith for all your kindness and support over many years and for always being prepared to share your enthusiasm and vitality for what you considered to be worthwhile causes, both as an architect and most importantly, as a human being… you will be sorely missed!”

Keith’s cremation will be held on 12th May and his family have invited you “to pause for a short time at 14:30 to pay your respect, raise a glass or mend a puncture with Keith in your thought”.