Thomas Lumsden Taylor

Architect; JHKM employee

Architect Thomas Lumsden Taylor (1881–1944) was born in Glasgow, second surviving son of Thomas Taylor, master wood- and ivory-turner, and his wife Jane Lumsden, an Edinburgh tailor's daughter. Taylor was educated at Kelvinside Academy and King William's College, Castletown, Isle of Man. 1 Both Taylor and his younger brother Frederick N. G. Taylor (1884–1958) chose allied professions, with Frederick becoming a civil engineer and tunnelling specialist in London. Taylor was articled to John Honeyman & Keppie in 1897 and enrolled at the Glasgow School of Art the same year. 2 He attended the School until the session 1901–2, and also studied at Glasgow Technical College.

One record survives of his work for John Honeyman & Keppie. On 23 January 1902, Honeyman wrote to the representative of the Brechin Cathedral restoration committee, that he was sending 'Mr T. Taylor on Saturday morning by the early train' to resolve a problem with the layout of the pews. 3 Taylor was last paid by the practice in March 1904, after which he joined the office of James Miller (1880–1947), Blythswood Square, as assistant. The following year, Taylor moved to Rowand Anderson & Paul, before spending an extended period in 1906 travelling and studying French architecture. That same year he set up a partnership at 212 Bath Street, Glasgow, with David Bateman Hutton (1880–1959), another former assistant from Miller's practice. 4

Hutton & Taylor undertook various industrial and educational projects, including factory extensions at the North British Bottle Works, Shettleston (1912–13), and the London & Glasgow Engineering Co.'s Lancefield Street works, Glasgow (1913). 5 In May 1907, the organisation of the Glasgow Institute of Architects was 'considerably altered', and Hutton and Taylor both joined under the newly-formed 'associate' [having completed three years' training] membership class in 1907–8. Taylor became a licentiate and then a fellow of the RIBA (in 1910 and 1915 respectively) and 'for several years served ... on the Council of the G.I.A.' 6 In 1914, Taylor married Agnes C. Millar, whose late father's company 'William Robertson' of Glasgow were steamship owners and limestone merchants. Around this time, Thomas painted a ceiling with the moon and stars at his father's home, Letrualt, a large turreted villa at Shandon, on the Gareloch. 7

In 1919, Hutton & Taylor's tenement designs were awarded a £10 premium in the Local Government Board for Scotland's housing competition. This was probably Hutton's entry, as Taylor was still in the army, but the intent was to provide 'specimen plans ... to local authorities for their guidance ... [The] need for housing is ... urgent [to] provide immediate employment for men ... on demobilization'. 8 Hutton & Taylor submitted perspective drawings for the American Chicago Tribune newspaper offices, in the 'Tribune Tower' competition of 1922, which attracted around 180 entrants. Of the foreign entries, 'as a courtesy, one in each country was given an honourable mention', including Hutton & Taylor, although one critic considered that the Europeans had little concept of 'what our skyscraper ... could be'. 9

Hutton & Taylor designed a Gothic memorial pulpit of Austrian oak for Hillhead Church (now Kelvinside Hillhead) in 1924, and on a larger scale, were on the shortlist of eight for the Scottish Legal Life Assurance Building, Glasgow, in 1927. The assessor was John Keppie, but fellow Glasgow architects Wright & Wylie secured the contract for what became an iconic ten-storey American-style office block in Bothwell Street. 10

A few of Hutton & Taylor's designs were built. Taylor designed a house, 'Drimard', Helensburgh (1925 and 1929) for his brother Douglas H. Taylor, who had taken over the family bowling green equipment business. 11 After yet another premiated, but unbuilt design, this time for Dumfries Town Hall (1929; awarded to rival James Carruthers), the practice obtained work through the Church of Scotland extension scheme. This provided new church buildings, in the 1920s and 30s, in municipal housing schemes and other locations which lacked an Established Church presence; over 40 such churches were underway by the outbreak of the Second World War. 12

Two of their churches have become admired local landmarks in Glasgow. King's Park Church, in Castlemilk Road, Glasgow, was 'designed in 1931 as a prototype' for later such extension churches, being 'an innovation in church design specially evolved through [Glasgow Presbytery's] competition'. Opened in 1932, it was red-brick and rather Byzantine in style, with a triple-arched entrance and a white-painted, barrel-vaulted interior. 13 Their other major 1930s church was mistakenly hailed by the press as 'The first church to be erected [in Glasgow] under the ... Extension Scheme' (this title belongs to King's Park Church). The description was correct, however: '[It] will be in Helenvale Street, Parkhead ... of multi-coloured bricks in a free treatment of the Romanesque style', with two halls. Newbank Church, now designated Calton Parkhead, has an arched, raised chancel and barrel-vaulted, arcaded interior. 14

Taylor retired due to ill-health in 1943, and died in August the following year. 15

Notes:

1: Glasgow Herald, 3 August 1944, p. 2; Mrs Heather Taylor, family relative, personal communication, 14 April 2014.

2: U.K., Civil Engineer Lists, 1818–1930, and F. N. G. Taylor, c. 1958, 'A Record of Achievement in the Field of Civil Engineering', Taylor Family Tree (uploaded 2 September 2009, owner: H. Taylor), www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 12 April 2014]; Student Registers, information kindly provided by the Glasgow School of Art Archives, 12 March 2014.

3: John Honeyman to Alexander Philip, 23 January 1902, Brechin Cathedral archive.

4: The Hunterian, University of Glasgow: John Honeyman & Keppie / Honeyman, Keppie & Mackintosh / Keppie Henderson cash book 1889–1917, GLAHA 53079, p. 82; 'James Miller', 'Thomas Lumsden Taylor' and 'David Bateman Hutton', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 12 April 2014].

5: John R. Hume, The Industrial Archaeology of Glasgow, Glasgow: Blackie & Son, 1974, pp. 181, 236.

6: Glasgow Herald, 3 August 1944, p. 2; Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1908–9, p. 1713; Scottish Architects' and Measurers' Companion for 1911, Glasgow: Hoxton & Walsh, 1911, p. 17.

7: Glasgow Herald, 10 June 1914, p. 1; 'House, Letrualt, Shandon', Dunbarton County, Valuation Roll 1915–16, VR96/61/104, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 15 April 2014]; Mrs Heather Taylor, family relative, personal communication, 14 April 2014; Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1901–2, pp. 442, 526.

8: Scotsman, 13 February 1919, p. 3; 24 February 1919, p. 3.

9: F. W. Fitzpatrick, 'The Chicago Tribune Comptetition', The Architect and Engineer [San Francisco], 72, no. 1, January 1923, pp. 99–103.

10: 'The Pulpit', The Full History of Kelvinside Hillhead, www.kelvinside-hillhead.org.uk [accessed 14 April 2014]; Scotsman, 1 January 1927, p. 11; Dundee Courier, 7 January 1927, p. 10; Morag Cross, Wylie Shanks Architects: A Centenary Retrospective 1912–2012, Glasgow: Wylie Shanks Architects, 2012, p. 4.

11: Mrs Heather Taylor, family relative, personal communication, 14 April 2014; 'Taylor, Douglas Henry, 1965', England & Wales, National Probate Calendar, 1858–1966, www.ancestry.co.uk; 'Thomas Lumsden Taylor', Dictionary of Scottish Architects, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 12 April 2014].

12: Scotsman, 21 December 1929, p. 13; J. H. S. Burleigh, A Church History of Scotland, Oxford: O.U.P., 1960, pp. 411–12; Frank Bardgett, 'Missions and Missionaries: Home', in C. MacLean and K. Veitch, eds, Scottish Life and Society: Religion, Edinburgh: John Donald, 2006, pp. 505–6.

13: E. Williamson, A. Riches and M. Higgs, The Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1990, pp. 78–8, 528–9; 'King's Park Parish Church: Overview', Scotland's Churches Trust, www.scotlandschurchestrust.org.uk; '242 Castlemilk Road, King's Park Church', Historic Scotland Building I.D. 50119, British Listed Buildings Online, www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk, [both accessed 13 April 2014].

14: Glasgow Herald, 1 December 1934, p.10; E. Williamson, A. Riches and M. Higgs, The Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1990, p. 470; 'Calton Parkhead Church of Scotland', East Glasgow History, www.glasgowhistory.co.uk [accessed 13 April 2014].

15: Glasgow Herald, 3 August 1944, pp. 1, 2; England & Wales, National Probate Calendar, 1858–1966, www.ancestry.co.uk; Statutory Marriages, Deaths, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 13 April 2014].