1800s

1859 - Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811-1878)

St Pancras Chambers, Hotel and Railway Station, Euston Road, London

Designer: Scott, Sir George Gilbert (1811-1878)
Copyright: Architectural Press Archive/RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection (1930s)

Born the son of a clergyman, Sir George Gilbert Scott founded a dynasty of architects which continues today. As a child, Scott was in the habit of sketching churches which his father recognized as a love of architecture. After being article to James Edmeston, Scott moved on to work for Henry Roberts training under Robert Smirke.

Scott was introduced to the Gothic style via the Cambridge Camden Society high-church organisation and the writings of Augustus Welby Pugin. Scott’s first significant work was the Martyrs’ Memorial at Oxford (1840) which showed off his talent for the Gothic.

 

By 1849, Scott was appointed Architect to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster and was able to add that building to his list of restored cathedrals. In addition, a significant part of Scott’s architectural work was the restoration of English cathedrals, including Peterborough (1855), Salisbury (1859), Chichester (1861), Bangor (1866), Chester (1868), Exeter (1870), Rochester (1871) and Canterbury (1877). Scott also designed a completely new cathedral in Edinburgh between 1874-9.

 

Foreign Office, Whitehall, London

Designer: Scott, Sir George Gilbert (1811-1878)
Copyright: Joe Low/RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection (1994)

In the competition for the Foreign and Colonial offices in 1856, Scott’s Gothic design only merited third prize, but discussions at the time brought Scott’s design back into play, if only it could be adapted away from Gothic and into the Italian style. During a long and public disagreement, Scott fought for the designs to retain the Gothic flair but was defeated.

 

Scott also designed the Albert memorial in London (1864), entered by royal invitation and winning the limited competition. In addition to the memorial, he also submitted schemes for the Albert Hall which were not accepted.

Scott was 'an architect whose numerous works ... procured for him a reputation, not confined to his native country, as the architect of the Martyr's Memorial of Camberwell and Doncaster churches, of the restoration of Ely Cathedral and Exeter College, among numerous other buildings, sacred and secular.'

 

His later work at St Pancras Chambers in London (1865) was built in the true Gothic spirit to show that the style could be adapted for modern business uses.