John Poulson

Urban Developer | Number 4

John Garlick Llewellyn Poulson (1910-1993) had an office at 4 Heriot Row in the 1960s.

He never fully qualified as an architect, but applied a sharp business brain to developing largescale postwar urban development schemes in the UK. He cut through the traditionally separate processes of architectural design and building delivery. His combined architectural and engineering company - one the biggest in Europe - employed 750 people. 

His career was halted when it was discovered how much he had bribed local councillors and even national politicians to get planning and funding for his projects. He was convicted and jailed, though he claimed that he was a man more sinned against than sinning. His connections had reached high - the Home Secretary Reginald Maudling was forced out when the scandal broke.

Poulson had opened offices in London, Middlesborough, Newcastle, Beirut and Lagos as well as Edinburgh.  Through his Heriot Row base he established a corrupt relationship with senior Scottish Office civil servant George Pottinger, which helped bring him the £3million redevelopment of Aviemore in Speyside. Pottinger too went to jail.


His career was halted when it was discovered how much he had bribed local councillors and even national politicians to ensure planning and funding for his projects.