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The Architecture of Andrew Thomas Taylor

The Architecture of Andrew Thomas Taylor: Montreal's Square Mile and Beyond

Susan Wagg
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    The Architecture of Andrew Thomas Taylor
    Book Description:

    By the year 1900, architect Andrew Taylor had designed Bank of Montreal branches across the continent and much of McGill University, helped found the McGill School of Architecture, and played a critical role in creating the first professional organization for Quebec architects. In The Architecture of Andrew Thomas Taylor, Susan Wagg presents a groundbreaking study of the life and work of a major figure in nineteenth-century Canadian architecture. Born in Edinburgh and trained in Scotland and England, Taylor spent two decades in Canada between 1883 and 1904, designing some of Montreal's most iconic landmarks. Wagg places his career amidst the wealth of opportunities provided by Canada's high society and captains of industry. Taylor's Canadian relatives, Montreal's powerful Redpath family, brought him into contact with the small group of financiers and entrepreneurs who controlled Canada's destiny. With the support of such influential patrons as Sir William Macdonald and the Bank of Montreal, Taylor successfully confronted dramatic changes in building technology as iron and steel were increasingly used and buildings grew ever taller. He innovatively adapted English and American styles to the Canadian environment, designing structures distinctively suited to their place in history. Positioning Taylor's extensive designs within the context of his time, The Architecture of Andrew Thomas Taylor firmly establishes his work as a cornerstone of Canadian architecture.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8837-0
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xx)
  6. Foreword
    (pp. xxi-2)
    Harold Kalman

    Andrew Thomas Taylor certainly left his mark on Canadian architecture. A Scot who practiced in Montreal for twenty years (1884–1904) before returning to Britain, Taylor benefitted from good training, an excellent sense of design, powerful family connections, and an instinct for seizing a good opportunity when he saw it. His many accomplishments include a portfolio of fine homes in Montreal’s elite Square Mile, some of McGill University’s most distinguished buildings, a series of banks across Canada for the Bank of Montreal, and a variety of other private, public, and institutional commissions in Canada and Great Britain. Taylor was also...

    (pp. 3-5)

    By 1900 Bank of Montreal branch banks designed by Andrew Taylor spanned the country, McGill University boasted the finest set of science buildings in the British Empire, Quebec architects had formed a professional organization, and McGill had a school of architecture. In all of these Taylor played a critical role. Yet to date no study of Taylor’s life and work has been undertaken, and the part he played in Canada’s development following the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway has gone unremarked. This book aims to fill this gap and to add to the woefully few monographs devoted to Canadian...

  8. CHAPTER ONE Apprentice and Architect in Britain (1864–1883)
    (pp. 6-26)

    Andrew Thomas Taylor was born on 13 October 1850 in Edinburgh’s New Town. His father, James Taylor, was a printer with a business at 21 George Street. His mother, Agnes, was the daughter of George Drummond, a builder-contractor who specialized in house and horticultural building. The Taylors lived at 21 Broughton Place, a few blocks northeast of James’s printing establishment, but by 1852 they had moved to a new block of flats at 14 St Vincent Street, not far from 4 Henderson Row, on the northern fringe of the New Town, where Agnes’s father had his home and business. A...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Homes for Montrealers (1884–1902)
    (pp. 27-73)

    Taylor’s decision to open an office in Montreal in 1883 – the year he turned thirty-three – may have been a response to encouragement from his stepcousin Peter Redpath (1821–1894), then living in the Old Manor House in Chislehurst, Kent. Redpath was still a governor of McGill University and would be a major client, entrusting Taylor with the design of McGill’s Redpath Library in 1891.

    While Taylor’s solid training and varied experience doubtless aided his success in Canada, his Redpath connections were crucial, for this family had long been leaders among Canada’s business and social elite. His mother’s sister,...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Bank of Montreal: From Sea to Sea (1884–1904)
    (pp. 74-108)

    While Taylor prepared his first plans in Canada for a series of private houses, very soon – in 1884 – he embarked on a significant corporate endeavour: renovate and redecorate the head office of Canada’s powerful and rapidly expanding Bank of Montreal.¹ He would design branches for that institution throughout his two decades in Canada, and its competitors too eagerly sought his services. These commissions for the Bank of Montreal arose surely from family connections, since Taylor’s uncle George Drummond had become a director in 1882 when his brother-in-law Peter Redpath retired. Moreover, with his known taste for art, Drummond...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Building McGill, Building Canada (1890s)
    (pp. 109-132)

    The Redpath family had been involved with McGill College long before Andrew Taylor arrived in Montreal. As a building contractor, patriarch John Redpath had constructed the institution’s first buildings in the 1830s and 1840s. He also contributed to the first endowment fund. His eldest son, Peter, who joined the governing board in 1864, became one of McGill’s greatest benefactors, paying for the museum, library, and chair of mathematics that bear his name. Even after moving to England in 1880, he remained active, serving as a governor until his death in 1894.

    Taylor carried out all of his considerable work at...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Architect for All Institutions (1889–1905)
    (pp. 133-157)

    The British citizens of Montreal following the Conquest had had to provide for their own. James McGill was a prime example, bequeathing £10,000 and his Burnside estate to found a college. In Taylor’s time, the Anglo-Protestant elite still took responsibility, both financial and as board members, for the institutions and organizations that served the English-speaking community. Hospitals, schools and colleges, the art gallery – all fell under the purview of this group, much as the Catholic Church looked after the welfare of its flock. Taylor’s patronage group were leaders in this realm, their interlocking directorships of companies echoed by their...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Launching an Architects’ Association (1890–1904)
    (pp. 158-168)

    The two decades that Andrew Taylor spent in Canada were a time of dramatic change in building materials and technology and in the country’s architectural profession. Taylor had received his training in the traditional way, through pupilage and work in several architectural offices, learning to build with traditional, load-bearing materials. After his arrival in Canada in 1883, however, iron and steel came into increasing use, while buildings grew ever taller. As Taylor’s colleague the Montreal architect A.C. Hutchison observed in 1893: “There is so much steel and iron entering our buildings that an architect requires a knowledge of the quality,...

  14. CHAPTER SEVEN Public Life in London (1904–1937)
    (pp. 169-184)

    In February 1904 the Canadian Architect and Builder reported:

    Mr A.T. Taylor, friba, has decided to remove from Montreal and take up his residence in England. The announcement will be received with regret by Canadian architects, among whom Mr Taylor was one of the recognized leaders. A thoroughly trained architect himself, he cherished high ideals, and constantly strove for their realization by seeking to provide improved educational facilities for students and advocating measures calculated to elevate the status of the profession. He did much valuable work in connection with the Province of Quebec Association of Architects, of which he is...

  15. List of Andrew Thomas Taylor’s Works
    (pp. 185-192)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 193-218)
  17. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 219-228)
  18. Index
    (pp. 229-246)