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Basic Biographical Details

Name: (Sir) William Tite
Designation: Architect
Born: 7 February 1798
Died: 20 April 1873
Bio Notes: William Tite was born in London on 7 February 1798, the son of Arthur Tite, a wealthy merchant. He was articled to David Laing in 1812, admitted to the Royal Academy Schools in 1818 and was largely responsible for Laing's St Dunstan-in-the-East Church as early as 1817-20. His independent career took off with the commission to design Mill Hill School in 1825, and in 1832 he married an heiress, Emily Curtis. He was President of the Architectural Society in 1838 until it merged with the RIBA in 1842. For some years he was in partnership with Edward Norton Clifton after 1839 but the dates have not been clearly established.

Tite's Scottish practice arose mainly from his pioneering work as a railway architect. In July 1846 he offered his services to the Caledonian Railway, and his offer was accepted. He visited Glasgow on 14 October and produced a detailed report on what was required on 27 May 1847. Work proceeded on a number of stations, but of the two main termini, Dunlop Street, Glasgow was never built and at Lothian Road, Edinburgh only the train-shed was built in shortened form. As Tite's health failed, much of the work was carried out by his chief assistant Ebeneezer Trotman. Relations between the Caledonian Railway and Tite began to break down from January 1850 when Tite's fees amounted to 6,181 8s 3d of which 2,024 18s 6d had been paid and the Company was unable to meet the balance. Tite succeeded in obtaining his fees as a result of a Court of Session decision on 5 February 1851, but his Scottish practice was at an end.

Tite visited Italy in 1851-52 to recover his health. He gradually withdrew from practice and entered politics as Liberal MP for Bath from 1855. He was RIBA Gold Medallist in 1856 and President of the RIBA 1861-63 and again in 1867-69, his presidency ending with a knighthood. He died at Torquay 20 April 1873 leaving moveable estate of just under 400,000 ('I inherited a fortune, I married a fortune and I have made a fortune').

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 27, East India Avenue, London, EnglandBusiness(?)1868 *  
Item 2 of 242, Lowndes Square, London, EnglandPrivate(?)1868 *  

* 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 2David Laing18121820Apprentice 
Item 2 of 2Tite & CliftonAfter 1839 Partner 

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 1Thomas Worthington18471848Assistant 


RIBA Proposals

This architect proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 1Sydney Smirke29 April 1844for Fellowship

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 101840Dollar Parish ChurchDollar ClackmannanshireScotland 
Item 2 of 101840Southside StationGushetfaulds GlasgowScotland 
Item 3 of 101846Caledonian Railway Station  EdinburghScotlandScheme drawn up - not executed except trainshed in shortened form
Item 4 of 101846Dunlop Street Station  GlasgowScotland 
Item 5 of 101847Beattock stationBeattock DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 6 of 101847Lockerbie StationLockerbie DumfriesshireScotland 
Item 7 of 101848Dunblane StationDunblane PerthshireScotland 
Item 8 of 101848Kirknewton StationKirknewton MidlothianScotland 
Item 9 of 101848Perth Joint StationPerth PerthshireScotlandDesign and beginning of construction
Item 10 of 101849Ground at Leonard's Hall belonging to the Glovers' Corporation Perth PerthshireScotland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 5APSD The Dictionary of Architectureed Wyatt PapworthThe Architectural Publication Society (8v 1852-1892) 
Item 2 of 5Briggs, M S1950Sir William Tite MP, his life and work The Builder (2 part serial) 
Item 3 of 5British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 4 of 5Colvin, Howard2008A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 London: YUP. 4th edition 
Item 5 of 5New DNB New Dictionary of National Biography   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Builder3 May 1873  Obituary
Item 2 of 3Builder13 January 1950  Issue for 13-20 January 1950. Article by M S Briggs.
Item 3 of 3RIBA Proceedings1874  p209-212


© All rights reserved.  National Portrait Gallery, London 

© All rights reserved. National Portrait Gallery, London