|Bio Notes: ||Andrew Thomas Taylor was born in Edinburgh on 13 October 1850, the son of publisher James Taylor and Agnes Drummond, and was articled to Pilkington & Bell in Edinburgh from 1864 to 1869. Thereafter he was in the architectural department of the Duke of Roxburgh's estate office for a year, followed by a further year as assistant to William Smith in Aberdeen. In 1872 he moved to London as assistant to Joseph Clarke, and he remained there until 1878, during which period he appears to have studied at the RA Schools and at University College. He won the RIBA Silver Medal in 1874 for an essay on architecture in London in the sixteenth century, and spent two months in France and Italy in 1877, visiting, among other places, Rouen, Paris, Milan and Florence. He was admitted ARIBA on 4 March 1878, his proposers being Clarke, Richard Phené Spiers and Professor T Hayter Lewis, and in the following year he passed the District Surveyor's exam. He was to be an RIBA medallist for a second time in 1881, this time for an essay on the towers and steeples of Sir Christopher Wren. |
Taylor commenced independent practice in 1879 at 29 Finsbury Road, London and was immediately successful his first commission being the Memorial Hall and Schools at Dover, built 1880-81. By early 1880 he had formed a association with an earlier Pilkington pupil, Henry Hall, in order to enter the Glasgow Municipal Buildings competition as Joint Architects. Henry Hall was born at Wansford, Lincolnshire in 1826 and was subsequently assistant first to Edward Blore and then William Allen Boulnois. In 1882 they came second in the second stage of the second competition with a design by Taylor, the winner William Young being instructed to adopt certain features of the plan. The cost of entering this final tier seems to have been a problem. Taylor then wrote appealing for an uplift in the £150 second premium as it had not covered the staff costs of entering the competition and appears to have had some success.
In 1881 Taylor wrote and illustrated an important book: 'The Towers and Steeples
designed by Sir Christopher Wren, a descriptive, historical and critical essay' published by Batsford. It may have been based on his RIBA prize essay.
Although Taylor's obituary of Hall shows that their relationship remained a happy one, Taylor then entered into partnership with George William Hamilton Gordon. Born in 1854, Gordon was extremely well connected, educated at Eton and apprenticed to Alfred Waterhouse 1874-78, remaining as assistant until he joined Taylor in 1882. In the following year Taylor set up an office in Montreal where he had the influential support of his maternal uncle, the industrialist and financier George Drummond, Gordon remaining in charge of the London office. In 1886 Gordon passed the qualifying exam and was admitted ARIBA on 21 June his proposers being Waterhouse, Arthur Blomfield and Arthur Cates. Shortly thereafter, in 1888, the partnership was dissolved. The reasons are not known, but the Montreal practice was much more successful than the London one.
Thereafter Taylor concentrated solely on his practice at 43 St Francis Xavier Street in Montreal where he worked in a Richardsonian Romanesque manner and was active in public life and education. He was advanced to FRIBA on 3 June 1889, his proposers being Octavius Hansard, Alexander Graham, Henry Hall and John Macvicar Anderson, all of London. He retired from architecture in 1904 and returned to London where he pursued a second career in politics. He represented Hampstead on London County Council from 1908 to 1926 and was its mayor in 1923. He was also active in education and served on the managing committee of University College from 1911 until 1937. He was knighted for political rather than architectural services in 1926. He died in London on 5 December 1937.