George Gilbert Scott

The Royal Gold Medal was established by the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1848, and is still awarded and celebrated today. Sir George Gilbert Scott was winner of the award in 1859



St Pancras Hotel and Chambers, Euston Road, London © Janet Hall / RIBA Library Photographs Collection


St Pancras Hotel and Chambers, Euston Road, London © Janet Hall / RIBA Library Photographs Collection

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 which showed off his talent for the Gothic. 

© RIBA Library Drawings & Archives Collections © RIBA Library Drawings & Archives Collections  

Born: 1811 (-1878)
Nationality: British

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 between 1855 and 1877, including Salisbury, Chester, Exeter and Canterbury. Scott also designed a completely new cathedral in Edinburgh.

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, 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.

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


  • Royal Gold Medal, 1859

Buildings by Scott:  

  • Martyrs’ Memorial, Oxford, 1840
  • Albert Memorial, London, 1864
  • St Pancras Chambers, London, 1865
  • Chester Cathedral, 1876
  • Edinburgh Catherdal, 1879


St Pancras Hotel and Chambers, Euston Road, London: the main staircase © Janet Hall / RIBA Library Photographs CollectionCompetition design for the Episcopal Cathedral Church of Saint Mary, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh © RIBA Library Drawings & Archives CollectionsAlbert Memorial, Kensington Gore, London, seen from the south © Janet Hall / RIBA Library Photographs CollectionAlbert Memorial, Kensington Gore, London © Edwin Smith / RIBA Library Photographs Collection