George Geddes was born in the village of Oldhamstocks, East Lothian on 29th July 1913 and was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1975. His schooling was at Dunbar Grammar School where he was Dux in 1931. His parents died in his infancy, his father, an architect being killed in the First World War. He was brought up by his grandfather and two aunts and he often expressed how fortunate and indebted he was to them for the guidance, care and affection he received from them.
He entered the University of Edinburgh in 1931 and graduated in 1934 with a degree of BSc in Civil Engineering with First Class Honours. He played an active part in University life as a distinguished member of the University football team being awarded ‘Blues’ in 1933 and 1934.
When he first matriculated at the University, the Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald had just opened the new King’s Buildings accommodating the Engineering Department. The Regius Professor of Civil Engineering, Sir Thomas Hudson-Beare, when addressing the first year students painted a gloomy picture of the prospects of employment for graduates, a situation not unlike the present day, when employment opportunities for civil engineering graduates are limited.