Frederick Thomas Pilkington (1832 – 1898) Salford-born architect who designed Trinity Church in Irvine.

Frederick Thomas Pilkington was born in 1832 in Salford, England. One of seven children, his father was Thomas Pilkington and his mother was Jane Butterworth. Frederick’s father Thomas was an architect and Frederick trained in the profession under his father. 

The family moved to Edinburgh in 1854 and in 1855 T. Pilkington & Son, Architects and Surveyors were operating in Edinburgh. Frederick would remain in Edinburgh working as an architect until 1883 when he moved to London. 

During his time in Edinburgh he would study mathematics at Edinburgh University, passing his exams in 1858 and being awarded the Hamilton prize in logic. He was married in 1858 however his wife died in childbirth in 1861. He remarried 5 months later to Elizabeth Cropley and together they had 5 children including Ernest Pilkington, an architect who died during WWI. 

What relevance then does this English architect have to North Ayrshire? 

Well, after exhibiting at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh he began to build geometrically planned churches with tall spires and focused his work on designing churches for the Church of Scotland. He developed a new style of church building which accorded with the fashionable Gothic style but was adapted for the worship needs of the Free Church of Scotland. 

His most notable work was Trinity Church in Irvine, which could accommodate 750 worshippers. It was opened on this day, the 29th of December 1863. The 170ft spire was not completed until 6 years later in 1869. It was estimated to have cost around £4,000 (around £434,000 today).