Basic Biographical Details

Name: Cousin, Ormiston & Taylor
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: c. 1905
Ended: c. 1922
Bio Notes: George Cousin was David Cousin's brother and was in his office at Royal Exchange by at least 1864 along with William Ormiston who was, according to his apprentice John Hinton Gall, Cousin's partner though perhaps not necessarily at that date. When David Cousin was spending much of his time abroad trying to recover his health George Cousin and William Ormiston appear to have been responsible for his private practice, although Ormiston also entered into short-term arrangements with John Lessels during that period, submitting a joint design for the Medical School. Either when David Cousin died in the USA in August 1878, or perhaps earlier, they formed the partnership of Cousin & Ormiston to continue it, but they did not retain the business of the British Linen Bank, David Cousin's main client.

Ormiston became Lord Dean of Guild but despite this the Cousin & Ormiston practice's known works were few and unimportant until 1900 when the commission for the Hotel Paris was received. By that date George Cousin appears to have died, and for this project a very able free-style assistant was recruited but his identity has not been traced through the nomination papers.

In 1904 the commission for James Gray & Sons' equally stylish building was received, but in the following year Ormiston merged the practice with that of Lessels & Taylor, bringing to a final conclusion the long-standing links between the Cousin and Lessels practices. James Lessels had recently retired or died, leaving Harry Ramsay Taylor as the sole remaining partner of the Lessels & Taylor firm. Taylor had been born in Stranraer in 1863 or 1864, the son of Samuel H Taylor, an architect in practice there and had been in his father's office from 1878 until March 1880 when he transferred to the Lessels practice in Edinburgh. He had completed his apprenticeship under John Lessels & Son and remained as assistant to James Lessels thereafter, being taken into partnership in 1890. He had attended the School of Art, Heriot-Watt College and the University of Edinburgh and had travelled in Belgium, England and Scotland, and later in Italy to make a study of Venetian architecture.

The practice of Cousin, Ormiston & Taylor continued to be based in William Ormiston's office at 140 Princes Street. 'Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh' has assumed a connection between the two practices prior to 1905, but there is no obvious stylistic link between them and Taylor's consistent use of neo-Jacobean at those dates. The Taynuilt house was markedly influenced by Lorimer's simpler houses.

Taylor was elected FRIBA on 3 December 1906, his proposers being Harold Ogle Tarbolton, Hippolyte Jean Blanc and Alexander Hunter Crawford.

Ormiston died c.1919, Harry Ramsay Taylor on 14 November 1922. The practice continued to appear in Post Office directories until 1928: it is probable that the work in hand was completed by that date by an as yet unidentified chief assistant.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1140, Princes Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1905c. 1922Practice continued on at this address after death of Taylot

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 4William Salmondc. 19051910Assistant 
Item 2 of 4William Ormistonc. 1905c. 1919Partner 
Item 3 of 4Henry ('Harry') Ramsay Taylorc. 19051922Partner 
Item 4 of 4William Shaw Cruickshankc. May 1910c. September 1910Apprentice(?)During summer holiday

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 18c. 1905Bookshop for John Grant, Chambers Street and George IV Bridge  EdinburghScotlandInternal alterations and new building - Taylor responsible (begun 1903)
Item 2 of 18c. 1905Chambers Street  EdinburghScotlandCompletion (begun 1903 - Taylor responsible), still conforming to original Cousin-Lessels design
Item 3 of 18After 1906Edinburgh Royal Infirmary  EdinburghScotlandNurses' quarters (possibly a conversion of terraced houses on Archibald Place?) and additions - Taylor responsible
Item 4 of 18After 1906(?)Elibank  SelkirkshireScotlandTaylor responsible
Item 5 of 18After 1906(?)Glen Etive Lodge  ArgyllScotlandTaylor responsible
Item 6 of 18After 1906Kemback House  FifeScotlandRemodelling - Taylor responsible
Item 7 of 18After 1906(?)Sheuchan Parish Church, monument to Rev W M JohnstonStranraer WigtownshireScotlandTaylor responsible
Item 8 of 18c. 1906Cowden CastleMuckart PerthshireScotlandAlterations and additions (including picture gallery)
Item 9 of 181907Achara  ArgyllScotlandTaylor responsible - remodelling of 19th century farmhouse
Item 10 of 181910Geographical Institute  EdinburghScotlandIncorporating portico of Falcon Hall
Item 11 of 18c. 1910Dungavel HouseStrathaven LanarkshireScotlandEnlargement to form permanent ducal seat
Item 12 of 181912College of Domestic Science  EdinburghScotlandConversion of terrace to College.
Item 13 of 181912Large house near Connell FerryConnell Ferry (near) ArgyllScotlandTaylor responsible
Item 14 of 18c. 1912Hamilton Palace Mausoleum and keeper's lodge  LanarkshireScotlandStone repairs, probably arising from mining subsidence (Taylor responsible)
Item 15 of 181913Squash Court, Dean Village  EdinburghScotland 
Item 16 of 18c. 1913(?)Kames House, also Kames Cottages and estate buildings  BerwickshireScotlandReconstruction and additions by Harry Ramsay Taylor - perhaps also responsible for cottages etc
Item 17 of 181914House near Taynuilt  ArgyllScotland 
Item 18 of 181914Nicolson Square Methodist Church , Epworth Halls  EdinburghScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
Item 1 of 1Post Office Directories     

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architectural practice:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers John Hinton Gall: L v17 no1275 (mentions 'G Cousin' as Ormiston's partner)