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Tait, Thomas Smith

Tait, Thomas Smith (1882–1954). Scots architect. Educated in Glasgow, he became chief draughtsman to J. J. Burnet in 1904, with whom he worked on Kodak House, Kingsway, London (1910–12), a spectacular and important essay in stripped Classicism, and the noble Neo-Classical extension to the British Museum (completed 1914). Burnet made him his partner in 1918, and the firm designed several important buildings, including the Graeco-Egyptian Art Deco Adelaide House, London Bridge (1920–5). For a time Tait was strongly influenced by American Beaux-Arts Classicism, but, with Frederick McManus (1903–85), he began to turn to the International Modern style with several flat-roofed houses (e.g. Silver End, near Braintree, Essex (1926–8), influenced partly by Behrens's house for Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke (1877–1953) at Northampton, and partly by the work of Dudok), which, with other houses at Tydehams, New-bury, Berks., and Aldbourne, Wilts. (all built 1927–30), were the first of their kind in Great Britain. In 1930, Francis Lorne (1889–1963), who, like Tait, had worked in the USA, became a partner, and several distinguished buildings followed, including the Royal Masonic Hospital, Ravenscourt Park, London (1930–3—where Dutch-American influences are obvious), and the very fine St Andrew's House, Edinburgh (1930–9). Tait was consultant architect for the Daily Telegraph building, Fleet Street, London (1927–9), which has Art Deco Graeco-Egyptian detailing. Tait was undoubtedly one of the first-ranking architects of the period 1910–39.


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Jane Turner (1996);
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