George Washington Browne’s architecture in Edinburgh

Tales of One City

Architectural Drawing of Central Library by George Washington Browne, 1888

In anticipation of Central Library taking part in Doors Open Day on Saturday, we decided to take a closer look at the life and legacy of the architect who designed our beautiful building on George IV Bridge. The name might not be familiar, but Scottish architect George Washington Brown’s buildings in Edinburgh will be more so.

George Washington Browne was born in Glasgow in 1853, and started his architectural career aged 16 as an apprentice to Salmon Son & Ritchie. Finishing his apprenticeship, he moved to London and worked for Stevenson & Robson and later church architect Arthur William Blomfield.

In 1877 he won a scholarship which allowed him to travel to France and Belgium which would later have a great influence in the style of his work. Central Library is said to imitate the French Renaissance style and to…

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