Basic Biographical Details

Name: Francis Drummond Greville Stanley
Designation: Architect
Born: 1839
Died: 26 May 1897
Bio Notes: Francis Drummond Greville Stanley was born at Ascog in 1839, the third son of Montague Talbot Stanley and his wife Mary Susan Eyre, a person of some standing in Edinburgh society living in North Castle Street and later in Hill Street. Her husband Montague, born in Dundee in January 1809, came of an English naval family and, after being taken to New York as an infant, was brought up in the USA, Nova Scotia and Jamaica by a stepfather. He took to the stage and became a successful actor at Edinburgh Theatre Royal between 1828 and 1838; religious considerations caused him to become a landscape painter, elected HRSA in 1835 and ARSA in 1838. He died of consumption at Ascog in May 1844, leaving his widow to bring up seven children who were educated in Edinburgh perhaps by a tutor, as their school has not been traced. Francis was articled to Brown & Wardrop in 1855 and attended the Trustees' Academy between 5 February and 18 March 1856. He proved an excellent draughtsman, winning two Architectural Institute of Scotland medals and obtaining several certificates from the Government School of Design. He remained with Brown & Wardrop as a draughtsman in 1860 and 1861. During that period he designed the stables at Ladyland, Ayrshire, and travelled England and Scotland drawing and measuring mediaeval architecture, the results of which were prepared for publication as the 120-plate 'Volume of Drawings from Abbeys, Churches and Castles of England and Scotland' which was never printed but was exhibited at the Brisbane Exhibition of 1876 and the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879.

Late in 1861 or early in 1862 Stanley emigrated to Queensland to join the Lands Department. By November 1862 he had set up in private practice in Brisbane, but on 1 February 1863 he was appointed chief clerk of works in the office of the Colonial Architect, Charles Tiffin, apparently through the influence of the Minister for Land and Works, the Hon Arthur Macalister who was described as 'a close friend and countryman'. Stanley was then joined by his younger engineer brother Charles Henry Stanley, two sisters and their mother.

Stanley was initially stationed at Toowoomba but returned to Brisbane to marry Margaret Bennet on 27 April 1865, and by 1869 was undertaking design work as well as supervision, having come second in the competition for Queensland's new Parliament Building, and won several others outright including the Post Office in Brisbane.

On 9 February 1871 Tiffin was suspended from his post which had become Superintendent of Roads and Buildings, and when he retired on 1 January 1872, Stanley replaced him. Stanley was re-designated Colonial Architect in the following year and instructed to limit his private practice to competitive designs. The demand for his services from private and public clients proved difficult to resist, however, and in October 1877 he resigned but was bought off with an increase in salary. In October 1880 he again resigned to undertake the Queensland National Bank in Brisbane, but was persuaded to remain in post until July 1881, commencing independent practice in his own Temple Buildings in August. In 1882 he opened a branch office at Maryborough under the supervision of his civil engineer cousin Walter Morris Eyre, born in Madras in 1858, who had been a draughtsman in the Brisbane Survey Office. This was moved to Toowoomba in 1885 but in 1887 the now hugely successful practice was concentrated at AMP Chambers, Edward Street, Brisbane.

Stanley was admitted FRIBA on 18 January 1886, his proposers being William Wilkinson Wardell, George Allen Mansfield and Thomas Rowe, all of Sydney, and became foundation president of the Queensland Institute of Architects in 1888. In 1890 Stanley was joined by his eldest son, Montague Talbot Stanley (born 1867), who had been sent to the office of a former colleague of his father's at Brown & Wardrop's, Frank Usher Holme in Liverpool, to complete his articles in 1888. He returned via America and in September 1891 married Mary, daughter of the railway engineer, shipowner and investor Sir Thomas McIlwraith who became premier of Queensland in 1893. This briefly brought the Stanleys still greater financial security and standing in Queensland society. Both families were, however, hard hit by the recession of the 1890s, and in particular by the failure of their Borehill Colliery, in which the elder Stanley was a partner. He was forced into liquidation in 1895 and the contents of his house, Arden Craig, were auctioned on 30 April 1896. He managed to retain both his house and his practice, but lack of business induced him to rejoin the Queensland Public Works as a temporary inspector, leaving his son in charge of the practice. While engaged on official duties the elder Stanley caught a chill which brought about his death from pneumonia at Arden Craig on 26 May 1897. He was survived by his widow and eight children, of whom the second son, Edmund Walter Stanley (born 1870), also became an architect. He joined the Queensland Public Works Department when his father went into liquidation in 1896 and remained with it as an inspector of works until 1930 when he transferred to the Workers' Dwelling Board.

Despite the tragedy of his last years Francis Stanley was much the most successful of the earlier Scottish colonial architects. His churches and Italianate and Gothic buildings strongly reflected the architecture of Brown & Wardrop, adapted to the Australian climate with verandahs and colonnades.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 43, North Charlotte Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1856 *  
Item 2 of 4Brisbane, AustraliaBusiness1862  
Item 3 of 4Toowoomba, AustraliaBusinessAfter 1862  
Item 4 of 4George Street, Brisbane, AustraliaBusiness1884 *  

* 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 5Brown & Wardrop18551859Apprentice 
Item 2 of 5Brown & Wardrop1860Late 1861 or early 1862Draughtsman 
Item 3 of 5Queensland Colonial Architects Office1 February 18631 January 1872Chief DraughtsmanChief Draughtsman and Clerk of Works
Item 4 of 5Queensland Colonial Architects Office1 January 18721873 Superintendent of Roads and Buildings
Item 5 of 5Queensland Colonial Architects Office1873July 1881Chief ArchitectQueensland Colonial Architect

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 1Alexander Brown WilsonMarch 18821883Chief Assistant 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Mansfield Brothers18 January 1886for Fellowship
Item 2 of 3Thomas Rowe18 January 1886for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3William Wilkinson Wardell18 January 1886for 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 11861LadylandKilbirnie AyrshireScotlandStables


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2DNB Dictionary of National Biography  Entry for Montague Talbot Stanley
Item 2 of 2Watson, Donald and McKay, Judith1994Queensland Architects of the 19th Century Brisbane: Queensland Museum 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Brisbane Courier28 May 1897  Obituary
Item 2 of 2Brisbane Telegraph27 May 1897  Obituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2CHECKTrustees Academy records  
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v7 p141 (microfiche 99/G2)