Basic Biographical Details

Name: Frederick Thomas Pilkington
Designation: Architect
Born: 1832
Died: 18 September 1898
Bio Notes: Frederick Thomas Pilkington was born in 1832, probably in Stamford. He was born into a family with long-standing building connections. His grandfather, Jonathan Pilkington, a Stamford parson (d.1844) came of building and carpenter stock. His father Thomas, born c.1799, married Jane Butterworth in 1830. She belonged to an ardent Methodist family. Thomas set up architectural practice in Stamford but was burnt out in 1838 and moved elsewhere in the town by 1842; by 1849 he was in Bourne with his own brickworks. Frederick Thomas first trained with his father and was then articled in London for one year and returned to his father's firm thereafter.

The family moved to Edinburgh in 1854, apparently because of a lawsuit. Thomas opened an office at 10 Dundas Street and set up house at 9 South-East Circus Place. The firm exhibited designs at the RSA in that year under the name of T Pilkington & Son but Frederick's younger brother, James, returned to Stamford c.1857 after two years at the University of Edinburgh. Frederick studied mathematics under Professor Kelland, passed his exams in 1858 and was Hamilton prizewinner in Logic, but did not bother to graduate. He signed the University Matriculation Register 1856/7 as of Stamford. In 1858 he married with a house at Mary Cottage, Trinity and in 1859 he built Inchglas, Broich Terrace, Crieff (as a weekend house?). He never lived there but his father was living there in 1860. About 1859-60 the practice was based at 6 North Charlotte Street which was his father's house and office, but in the latter year house and office were moved to 24 George Street. In or about the same year, Frederick became friendly with John Cowan, the paper-maker of Penicuik, whose diary records a continental tour undertaken with Pilkington in the early 1860s.

On 10 March 1861 Pilkington's first wife died in childbirth, and he married Elizabeth Cropley from Ely five months later, first with a house at 27 St Bernard Crescent and then at 14 Cumin Place later in the same year.

By that date Pilkington had progressed from exhibiting at the RSA to actually building a series of ambitious geometrically planned churches, mostly with tall lucarned spires, boldly scaled naturalistic sculpture, and sometimes polychrome masonry, all of Ruskinian inspiration; in Venetian Romanesque form the style extended into his domestic practice in a series of large houses in Edinburgh, Port Glasgow, Penicuik and Walkerburn.

In 1863 Pilkington's parents moved to Kelso, Frederick transferring his office to 2 Hill Street. Frederick and his family moved to 6 Eton Terrace at the turn of 1864/5, but by that date they were already building Egremont in Dick Place for their own occupation, remaining there until 1873 when they moved to 17 Carlton Terrace. Frederick's partner John Murray Bell (1839-77) began practice as a surveyor in the same office building at 2 Hill Street in 1863, their practice being merged as Pilkington & Bell in 1867; Bell had previously acted as surveyor for the Pilkingtons at the Kelso Church in 1864. Thomas gave up the Kelso practice in 1874, moving first to 2 Abercorn Villas, Joppa and then in 1878 to Bourne, Lincolnshire. By that date the younger son James was postmaster in Assam.

In the earlier 1870s Pilkington began to experiment with a remarkably bold Second Empire style, but after Bell died on 31 May 1877, Frederick's interest in the Scottish business declined and with the commission for the Army and Navy Hotel, London (completed 1882), the family and the practice were moved to Russell Square, London, his sons already being educated at Westminster. He died at Orchardleigh, Pinner, on 18 September 1898, leaving 6609 (Probate November 1899).

Pilkington is said to have worked as inspiration came to him, often getting up in the middle of the night to sketch ideas. He had a taste for music and fine furniture. His family comprised Ernest born 1864, architect, died during the First World War, Maud Elizabeth; Ethel Mary; Mabel Jane; and Frederick Percy, born 1874. Maud Elizabeth was a miniaturist. A granddaughter, Miss Doris Fraser, lived at Ash Tree, Leiston, Suffolk until the 1970s.

Edward Calvert was a pupil. There is a reference to a Calvert in the Cowan diaries 23 June 1861.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 129, South-East Circus Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1854 *  
Item 2 of 1210, Dundas Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusinessc. 1855  
Item 3 of 12Mary Cottage, Trinity, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate18581861 
Item 4 of 126, North Charlotte Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1860 *  
Item 5 of 1224, George Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness18601864 
Item 6 of 1227, St Bernard Crescent, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate18611861 
Item 7 of 1214, Cumin Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1861Late 1864 or early 1865Later in the year
Item 8 of 122, Hill Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1864After 1882 
Item 9 of 126, Eton Terrace, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivateLate 1864 or early 18651869(?) 
Item 10 of 12Egremont/38, Dick Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1869(?)1873 
Item 11 of 1217, Carlton Terrace, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1873  
Item 12 of 1224, Russell Square, London, EnglandPrivate/businessAfter 1877  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3Thomas Pilkington  Apprentice 
Item 2 of 3T Pilkington & Son18541863(?)Partner 
Item 3 of 3Pilkington & Bell18671877Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 7Edward Calvert  Apprentice 
Item 2 of 7(Sir) Andrew Thomas Taylor18641867Apprentice 
Item 3 of 7Henry Francis Kerr18771878Draughtsman 
Item 4 of 7David Alexander Crombiec. 1877c. 1878Apprentice 
Item 5 of 7David Alexander Crombiec. 1878(?)1885(?)Assistant(?) 
Item 6 of 7Ernest Cropley Pilkingtonc. 1880(?) Apprentice 
Item 7 of 7Antoine William Roques18881891Assistant 

Buildings and Designs

This architect 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 91 Hunter's Quay HotelDunoon ArgyllScotlandTentative attribution
Item 2 of 911854Cemetery ChapelsSpalding LincolnshireEnglandWon competition to secure job
Item 3 of 911854Church design     
Item 4 of 911854Houses for the working classes     
Item 5 of 911854Mansion for Charles HannahSpalding LincolnshireEngland 
Item 6 of 911856Crieff SchoolCrieff PerthshireScotlandWest end of front block
Item 7 of 911858Four houses, Broomhill RoadBurntisland FifeScotland 
Item 8 of 911859InchglasCrieff PerthshireScotland 
Item 9 of 911859Kirkhill SchoolPenicuik MidlothianScotland 
Item 10 of 911860Halls FarmhouseSpott East LothianScotlandReconstruction
Item 11 of 911860ParkendPenicuik MidlothianScotland 
Item 12 of 91c. 1860Valleyfield Mill School and schoolhousePenicuik MidlothianScotlandAlterations including fireplace
Item 13 of 911861Monumental shrine for BeithBeith AyrshireScotland 
Item 14 of 911861Scottish National Institution for the Training of Imbecile ChildrenLarbert StirlingshireScotlandOriginal building (Skye Building and principal block)
Item 15 of 911861Trinity ChurchIrvine AyrshireScotland 
Item 16 of 911862Barclay ChurchBruntsfield EdinburghScotlandWon commission and secured job.
Item 17 of 911862Free ChurchPenicuik MidlothianScotland 
Item 18 of 911862Free Church, Canongate  EdinburghScotland 
Item 19 of 911862WoodsleePenicuik MidlothianScotland 
Item 20 of 911863 or 1864Free ChurchKelso RoxburghshireScotlandWith John Murray Bell as surveyor, prior to partnership
Item 21 of 91186436-46 Grove Street and 2-4 Upper Grove Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 22 of 911864Block of houses and shopsFountainbridge EdinburghScotland 
Item 23 of 911864Craigmount  EdinburghScotland 
Item 24 of 911864GlassingalDunblane PerthshireScotland 
Item 25 of 911864Office and tenement for James Gowans  EdinburghScotland 
Item 26 of 911864Office and tenement, Grove Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 27 of 91c. 1864Semi-detached villas, Dick Place  EdinburghScotland 
Item 28 of 911865Dr Simson Monument     
Item 29 of 911865Egremont  EdinburghScotland 
Item 30 of 911865Innerleithen Parish ChurchInnerleithen PeeblesshireScotlandOriginal church
Item 31 of 911865Mansion House, Grange Loan  EdinburghScotland 
Item 32 of 911865Morebattle UP ChurchMorebattle RoxburghshireScotlandAssisted his father, whilst in independent practice
Item 33 of 91c. 1865Auchengray ChurchCarnwath LanarkshireScotlandWest end enlarged
Item 34 of 91c. 1865West Kilbride Cemetery, Monument to Robert SimsonWest Kilbride AyrshireScotland 
Item 35 of 911866Memorial Church     
Item 36 of 911866WoodhallPort Glasgow RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 37 of 91c. 1866 or c. 1867Tenements, Grove Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 38 of 911867Houses, Peddie Street  DundeeScotland 
Item 39 of 911867KirnaWalkerburn PeeblesshireScotland 
Item 40 of 91c. 1867Free ChurchInnerleithen PeeblesshireScotland 
Item 41 of 91c. 1867New English Presbyterian Church  CardiffWales 
Item 42 of 911868Coltbridge TerraceMurrayfield EdinburghScotland 
Item 43 of 911868Eastern Club  DundeeScotlandMay have done earlier scheme in 1861
Item 44 of 911868McCheyne Memorial Church  DundeeScotland 
Item 45 of 911868St Mark's Greenfield Church  DundeeScotlandWon competition and secured job
Item 46 of 911868Stoneyhill, including lodge and stablesWalkerburn PeeblesshireScotland 
Item 47 of 911868Sunnybrae House and LodgeWalkerburn PeeblesshireScotlandLodge
Item 48 of 91c. 1868Tweedvale House and lodgeWalkerburn PeeblesshireScotlandInternal alterations and lodge
Item 49 of 911869Craigend Park with stables and lodgeLiberton EdinburghScotland 
Item 50 of 911869UP ChurchDudhope DundeeScotland 
Item 51 of 91c. 1870ViewforthInverkeithing FifeScotland 
Item 52 of 911871Castle Garden villaCrail FifeScotland 
Item 53 of 911871Clock TowerGatehouse KirkcudbrightshireScotland 
Item 54 of 911871Viewforth Free Church  EdinburghScotland 
Item 55 of 91c. 1871Lamlash and Kilbride Parish ChurchLamlashArranButeScotlandDesigns - not executed
Item 56 of 911872Chapelshade Free Manse  DundeeScotland 
Item 57 of 911872Tenement and officesHilltown DundeeScotland 
Item 58 of 911872Tyne Lodge and Hill Bank  EdinburghScotland 
Item 59 of 911873Lady Flora's SchoolNewmilns AyrshireScotland 
Item 60 of 911874Dean Park House  EdinburghScotland 
Item 61 of 911874Johnstone SchoolJohnstone RenfrewshireScotland 
Item 62 of 911874Mount Park Free ChurchGreenock Renfrewshire  
Item 63 of 911874Terraced houses, Morningside ParkMorningside EdinburghScotlandNos 8-14
Item 64 of 91c. 1874Wellington ReformatoryPenicuik MidlothianScotlandDate not known
Item 65 of 9118752, 2A Ravelston Park  EdinburghScotland 
Item 66 of 911875New Edinburgh Theatre  EdinburghScotlandInterior work for Gowans
Item 67 of 91c. 18758 Spylaw Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 68 of 911876Millknowe SchoolCampbeltown ArgyllScotlandOriginal part of school
Item 69 of 911876Moffat HydropathicMoffat DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 70 of 91c. 187761-79 Morningside Park  EdinburghScotland 
Item 71 of 911880Barclay ChurchBruntsfield EdinburghScotlandReseating etc.
Item 72 of 911880Denham Green HouseTrinity EdinburghScotland 
Item 73 of 911880TenementStockbridge EdinburghScotlandDesigned and begun as a hotel - simplified as tenement after disagreement with Dean of Guild
Item 74 of 91c. 1881Hydropathic InstitutionNorth Berwick East LothianScotlandAdditions
Item 75 of 911882Army and Navy Hotel  LondonEngland 
Item 76 of 911882Moffat Parish Church and hallMoffat DumfriesshireScotlandDesign not executed
Item 77 of 911885Winchester House  LondonEngland 
Item 78 of 911886Brighton Palace HotelBrighton SussexEngland 
Item 79 of 911887Auld Kirk, Moument to John SpiersBeith AyrshireScotland 
Item 80 of 9118881-5 Mount Street, 3-7 Davies Street and Carpenter Street buildings  LondonEngland 
Item 81 of 911888 or before 1888Glencorse BarracksPenicuik MidlothianScotlandMay be architect of part of barracks.
Item 82 of 911888 or before 1888Royal Clyde Yacht Club and HotelDunoon ArgyllScotlandCompetition design (presumably mistaken by Builder for executed design)
Item 83 of 911889Ridgemount GardensBloomsbury LondonEngland 
Item 84 of 911889Shaftesbury Park ChambersBattersea LondonEnglandAdditional floors and mansard attic added for conversion to flatted housing
Item 85 of 911890Guiness Trust EstateTower Hamlets LondonEngland 
Item 86 of 91189228-36 Rosebery Avenue  LondonEngland 
Item 87 of 911892Cedar VillasKensington LondonEngland 
Item 88 of 91189620-22 Lees Place  LondonEngland 
Item 89 of 911896Campden Hill CourtNotting Hill LondonEngland 
Item 90 of 911896Houses in Mount Row  LondonEngland 
Item 91 of 911896York MansionsBattersea LondonEngland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 6Dixon, Hugh1969The Architecture of Frederick Thomas Pilkington in Scotland Unpublished thesis for the Diploma in the History of Art, Edinburgh University, May 1969 
Item 2 of 6Grove Dictionary of Art Grove Dictionary of Art   
Item 3 of 6Jeffery, T M The Life and Works of F T Pilkington Unpublished thesis, Newcastle School of Architecture 
Item 4 of 6Johnston, Colin1976Article on Pilkington (title to be Checked) 1976, no 3 
Item 5 of 6Pilkington, R A1944The Pilkington Family Tree Privately Published 
Item 6 of 6Pride, Glen L1999The Kingdom of Fife2nd EditionThe Rutland Pressp46

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Builder15 October 1898   
Item 2 of 3Prospect1989Autumn, Vol 9 'Frederick Thomas Pilkington, 1832-1898: a wild romance'
Item 3 of 3Scotsman4 March 1961   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Information from Tom Davies, formerly of Bristol University
Item 2 of 2Sir Lancelot ErringtonDiary of John Cowan