Basic Biographical Details

Name: Henry ('Harry') Ramsay Taylor
Born: 1863 or 1864
Died: 14 November 1922
Bio Notes: Harry (although actually Henry he was always known as Harry) Ramsay Taylor was born in Stranraer in 1863 or 1864, the son of Samuel Henry Taylor, an architect in practice there. He was educated at Stranraer but completed his schooling at Glasgow Academy and was in his father's office from 1878 until March 1880 when he transferred to the Lessels practice in Edinburgh. He completed his apprenticeship under John Lessels & Son and remained as assistant to James Lessels thereafter, quickly rising to be 'head of the office'. During that period he attended the School of Art, Heriot-Watt College and the University of Edinburgh and travelled in Belgium, England and Scotland.

In 1890 James Lessels took Taylor into partnership, the firm of Lessels & Taylor continuing to occupy the existing Lessels office at 50 George Street. Shortly thereafter Taylor visited Italy to make a study of Venetian architecture.

After James Lessels died, Taylor carried on the business retaining the practice of Lessels & Taylor but about 1905 Taylor merged his practice with that of William Ormiston of Cousin & Ormiston as Cousin, Ormiston & Taylor, moving into Ormiston's office at 140 Princes Street: this event marked a final conclusion to the long-standing links between the Cousin and Lessels practices. Taylor was elected FRIBA on 3 December 1906, his proposers being Harold Ogle Tarbolton, Hippolyte Jean Blanc and Alexander Hunter Crawford.

Taylor had an inventive cast of mind. In 1890-91 he invented and patented a system of locomotive electric bell signalling in fog or darkness which attracted a good deal of interest but was not adopted. In 1913 he introduced a cheap-to-produce patent roof-light and during the First World War he devised a neat folding periscope which was sold commercially for parents to send to sons in front-line trenches.

Taylor died on 14 November 1922. Dr A R B Haldane remembered him as a big man, very good with the Haldane children to whom he was known as 'Woolly Bear' because of his liking for big leather coats with fur collars. Portrait sketches in his news cuttings book show him bearded and rather academic-looking with spectacles. His wife Beatrice Rowina Marriner survived him and appears to have continued his practice for a few years with the aid of his staff to complete work in hand. The practice then closed.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 550, George Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1880c. 1905 
Item 2 of 51, Torphichen Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivatec. 18931895 
Item 3 of 59, Upper Gilmore Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivatec. 18971915 
Item 4 of 5140, Princes Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness19051922 
Item 5 of 521, Blacket Place, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness19191922His widow continued to live there until late 1920s

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 5Samuel Henry Taylor18791880Apprentice 
Item 2 of 5John Lessels & SonMarch 18801883Apprentice 
Item 3 of 5James Lessels18841890Assistant 
Item 4 of 5James Lessels and Harry Ramsay Taylor1890c. 1905Partner 
Item 5 of 5Cousin, Ormiston & Taylorc. 19051922Partner 

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 1Thomas Sinclairc. 1899(?)Before 1905(?)AssistantProbably assisted in this office


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Hippolyte Jean Blanc3 December 1906for Fellowship
Item 2 of 3Alexander Hunter Crawford3 December 1906for Fellowship
Item 3 of 3Harold Ogle Tarbolton3 December 1906for Fellowship

RIBA Proposals

This proposed the following individuals for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3John Ramsay ArmstrongLate 1916for Associateship
Item 2 of 3Robert Macfarlane Cameron20 July 1911for Licentiateship
Item 3 of 3Thomas Sinclair20 July 1911for Licentiateship

Buildings and Designs

This 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 4718883-37 Jeffrey Street  EdinburghScotlandInitially as assistant to Lessels, latterly as partner
Item 2 of 471890Grassmarket Mission HallOld Town EdinburghScotland 
Item 3 of 47After 1890CraigparkRatho MidlothianScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 4 of 47After 1890FosswellAuchterarder PerthshireScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 5 of 47After 1890Hawkshaw  PeeblesshireScotland 
Item 6 of 47After 1890ParsonageHaddington East LothianScotland 
Item 7 of 47After 1890Printing Works for Ballantyne, Hanson & Co    Additions
Item 8 of 47After 1890St Leonard's WorksParkside EdinburghScotlandAdditions
Item 9 of 47After 1890Stonefield House and estate  ArgyllScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 10 of 47After 1890The LodgeRatho MidlothianScotlandAlterations and additions
Item 11 of 471891Design for Free Library  EdinburghScotlandDesign exhibited - perhaps 1887 competition design for Edinburgh Central Library
Item 12 of 471891Tenement, 4-18 Jeffrey Street and 3-9 Cranston Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 13 of 471893Nelson Hall and West Branch Library  EdinburghScotland 
Item 14 of 471897Boroughloch Brewery  EdinburghScotland 
Item 15 of 471897Warehouse for John Crabbie & CoLeith EdinburghScotlandFront warehouse
Item 16 of 471898Nelson HallStockbridge EdinburghScotland 
Item 17 of 471900Biscuit Factory, Slateford Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 18 of 471900Falkirk Public LibraryFalkirk StirlingshireScotlandSecond premiated competition design (25 premium)
Item 19 of 471900Penicuik House stablesPenicuik MidlothianScotlandConversion of stables to new house
Item 20 of 471901Nelson Hall and Library  EdinburghScotland 
Item 21 of 471901Stirling Public LibraryStirling StirlingshireScotlandWon in competition
Item 22 of 471902Carnegie Public LibraryRutherglen LanarkshireScotlandSecond premiated competition design
Item 23 of 471902Tenement, south corner of Nicolson Square and Nicolson Street  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction with half-timbered upperworks
Item 24 of 471903Bookshop for John Grant, Chambers Street and George IV Bridge  EdinburghScotlandInternal alterations and new building
Item 25 of 471903Chambers Street  EdinburghScotlandCompletion, still conforming to original Cousin-Lessels design
Item 26 of 471903Maryhill Public LibraryMaryhill GlasgowScotlandCompetition design by Lessels and Taylor
Item 27 of 471904Cloan HouseAuchterarder PerthshireScotlandReconstruction
Item 28 of 47After 1906Edinburgh Royal Infirmary  EdinburghScotlandNurses' quarters (possibly a conversion of terraced houses on Archibald Place?) and additions
Item 29 of 47After 1906(?)Elibank  SelkirkshireScotland 
Item 30 of 47After 1906(?)Glen Etive Lodge  ArgyllScotland 
Item 31 of 47After 1906(?)Kemback House  FifeScotlandRemodelling
Item 32 of 47After 1906(?)Sheuchan Parish Church, monument to Rev W M JohnstonStranraer WigtownshireScotland 
Item 33 of 47Before 1906Ferro-concrete factory  EdinburghScotland 
Item 34 of 47Before 1906MurdostounNewmains LanarkshireScotlandAdditions
Item 35 of 47c. 1906Cowden CastleMuckart PerthshireScotlandAlterations and additions (including picture gallery)
Item 36 of 471907Achara  ArgyllScotlandRemodelling of 19th century farmhouse
Item 37 of 471910Geographical Institute  EdinburghScotlandIncorporating portico of Falcon Hall
Item 38 of 47c. 1910Dungavel HouseStrathaven LanarkshireScotlandEnlargement to form permanent ducal seat
Item 39 of 47c. 1911Stranraer Parish Church, Memorial to Rev H P CharltonStranraer WigtownshireScotland 
Item 40 of 471912College of Domestic Science  EdinburghScotlandConversion of terrace to College.
Item 41 of 471912Large house near Connell FerryConnell Ferry (near) ArgyllScotland 
Item 42 of 47c. 1912Hamilton Palace Mausoleum and keeper's lodge  LanarkshireScotlandStone repairs, probably arising from mining subsidence
Item 43 of 471913Squash Court, Dean Village  EdinburghScotland 
Item 44 of 47c. 1913Kames House, also Kames Cottages and estate buildings  BerwickshireScotlandReconstruction and additions - perhaps also responsible for cottages etc
Item 45 of 471914House near Taynuilt  ArgyllScotland 
Item 46 of 471914Nicolson Square Methodist Church , Epworth Halls  EdinburghScotland 
Item 47 of 471916MacDuff InstituteBirchcraig, near Ballinluig PerthshireScotlandConversion and extension of house as home for boys


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 2British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914  Middle name misspelt 'Ramsey'; original sources confirm, however, that 'Ramsay' is the correct spelling.
Item 2 of 2Post Office Directories     

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this :
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Scotsman7 December 1906   

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 2National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSHarry Ramsay Taylor's Newsaper Cutting Book (report on Charlton monument has a biography & joblist)  
Item 2 of 2RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers F v18 p29 no1188 (microfilm reel 12)