Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Laing, David (1774-1856)

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LAING, DAVID (1774–1856), architect, son of a merchant in the city of London, was born in 1774, and articled to Sir John Soane [q. v.] about 1790. In 1811 he was appointed surveyor of buildings at the custom house, and was directed to prepare designs for a new custom house on a site to the westward of Sir Christopher Wren's structure. In five years (1813–17) the building was completed and occupied, but in 1825 the beech piling and planking used as the substratum of the foundation decayed, and the front fell down. Much litigation followed, and ultimately, under Sir Sydney Smirke's advice, a new foundation was put in, and the whole building rearranged and altered.

Tite, one of Laing's pupils, laid the foundation of his reputation as joint architect with Laing of the church of St. Dunstan-in-the-East in 1817–19. Laing, who was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, died at 5 Elm Place, West Brompton, London, on 27 March 1856, aged 82. He was the author of ‘Hints for Dwellings, consisting of Original Designs for Cottages, Farmhouses Villages, &c,' 1800, new edit. 1841, and of 'Plans. Elevitions, and Sections of Buildings. Public and Private, executed in various parts of England, &c., including the new Custom House, London,' &c., 1818.

[Builder, 5 April 1856, p. 189; Gent. Mag. 1856, i. 650.]

G. C. B.