Learning · Notes from West London

Gilbert Scott

What do you know about Gilbert Scott, if anything? I can trace my knowledge of him (or rather them) to a conversation in the 1980s with a college friend who was studying architecture. He told me about two Gilbert Scotts, both architects, and both noted for creating things that you almost certainly know about. We were walking along the High Road in my corner of West London and he pointed out Christ Church on Turnham Green, designed by George Gilbert Scott, the Victorian who was also responsible for the Midland Hotel at St Pancras station. His grandson Giles Gilbert Scott (1880-1960) designed the tower at the nearby Catholic Church, Our Lady of Grace and St Edward. It’s the church where I was married in 2001, and earlier in life received my four sacraments (Baptism, Confession, First Holy Communion and Confirmation), but his work includes many buildings which you probably know a lot more about: Bankside Power Station (now the Tate Modern), Battersea Power Station and Cambridge University Library for example. He also designed the iconic red telephone boxes that you still see dotted around London.

I think often of these nuggets of information, which all trace their origin back to a passing conversation in the 1980s, and have passed on this knowledge dozens of times. There have been very few examples in my life of conversations that have passed on so much memorable information in such a short space of time. I wish there were more.



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