Edwin Laidlaw was born in Wavertree near Liverpool, England, on 13 Aug 1842 and baptised in the parish church of St Peter, Woolton, Liverpool on 2 Oct 1842. His parents were William Laidlaw (1816-1871) and Elizabeth Louisa Hughes (1815-1895). Edwin had three younger sisters: Hannah, Mary and Louisa. The family came to Melbourne in 1863 when Edwin was 21 years of age. He married Louisa Elizabeth Amelia Henricson in 1868. They don't appear to have had any children.
On 12 Feb 1884 the couple arrived in Launceston. Edwin, an architect, was engaged by Messrs Reed, Henderson and Smart of Melbourne to superintend the erection of the Bank of Australasia building on the corner of Brisbane and St John streets. Other Launceston buildings Edwin supervised were the Commercial Bank, Granite Pillars Insurance (now Commonwealth Bank), Princess Theatre and National Theatre. As an architect, he built the Presentation Convent, Barclay's Building, Paine and Sons motor works, John Hart's Cameron Street terrace, Percy Hart's George Street terrace, James Barclay's private residence and other shops, residences and warehouses.
Edwin attended Chalmers Church and assisted with improving the church buildings. He was a supporter of the Launceston Bowling Club and supervised the laying out of the tennis courts at Royal Park. His wife Louisa died on 23 Jul 1920 aged 76 and Edwin died on 14 Jun 1925 aged 83 at his residence 7 Wellington Street. They were buried together at Carr Villa in Section F2 No. 195. Louisa's sister Caroline Dobson Henricson, who passed away on 10 Jan 1926 aged 79, was buried next to them.