Born in Huntingdon, Edis was educated at Huntingdon Grammar School and Aldenham School before being articled to William Gilbee Habershon and Edward Habershon, architects, in London. He became chief assistant to Anthony Salvin, and joined the Architectural Association in 1859. He was admitted an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1862 and a fellow of the association in 1867.
Although his early work was Gothic, Edis later became a proponent of the Queen Anne Style of baroque revival architecture. He worked mostly on private houses and public buildings, although he did design a few churches.
He later became involved in the Aesthetic Movement of decorative arts and in furniture design, and delivered a series of Cantor lectures on the subject at the Royal Society of Arts. These formed the basis of two books: Decoration and Furniture of Town Houses (1881) and Healthy Furniture and Decoration (1884).
Edis had a long association with the Volunteer Force and its successor the Territorial Force. In 1868 he received a commission in the Artists Rifles. He went on to be the regiment's commanding officer in 1883, and held the office of honorary colonel from 1909 until his death. In January 1889 he was elected a member of the first London County Council, representing St Pancras South for three years as a member of the Conservative-backed Moderate Party.
Edis had homes at Ormesby Old Hall, Great Ormesby, Norfolk and Regents Park, London. He was a justice of the peace and Deputy Lieutenant for Norfolk. He was created a Knight of the British Empire in 1919 for his military services.
Edis died suddenly at his Norfolk home in 1927, aged 88.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Paul Clerkin, Edis, Sir Robert William (1839-1927)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Obituary: Sir R. W. Edis". The Times: p. 14. 25 June 1927.
- ↑ Architects and Artists D-E  Sussex Parish Churches. A primary source of information on churches in East and West Sussex
- ↑ Robert William Edis
- ↑ London Gazette, Issue 23346, 24 January 1868, p.340
- ↑ London Gazette, Issue 25251, 17 July 1883, p.3588
- ↑ London Gazette, Issue 28287, 10 September 1909, p.6815
- ↑ "The County Councils - London Polls". The Times: p. 9. 18 January 1889.
- ↑ Antonia Brodie, Directory of British Architects 1834-1914: A-K, 2001, ISBN 9780826455130|, p.588
- ↑ Supplement to the London Gazette, Issue 31395, 16 June 1919, p.7426