Obituary: Schomberg Scott

SCHOMBERG SCOTT was the dominant historic buildings architect in Scotland in the 1960s and 1970s and, as consultant to the National Trust for Scotland, was responsible for the restoration of the Georgian House in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh. He also designed the trust's necklace of information centres, fashioning an identifiable architecture that seemed both modern and yet Scottish.

Many of his projects (Monteviot and Dupplin, for example) were for his own relatives, at a time when country houses were being retrieved from wartime misuse by the military, or from decades of neglect. He worked on Mellerstain, Abbotsford (which was sorely trauchled with dry rot), Drumlanrig, Monzie, Gordon Castle, Winton, Hamilton House, Lennoxlove, Pitmuies, Elshieshields, Stobo, Dalkeith Palace, Cleish, Pilmuir and Balmuto. He was also commissioned to design the largest post-war country house in Scotland, Dupplin in Perthshire (1970-76), along with Monteviot (1961-63), Membland, Haddington (1966), Gannochy Lodge, Edzell (1973), and a competition-winning church at Barrow in Furness.

Walter Schomberg Hepburn Scott (he dropped the Walter in the 1950s) was born in 1910; his father was the Chamberlain of the Duke of Roxburghe at Floors. He was educated at Radley, and studied architecture at the Edinburgh College of Art. In the early 1930s he entered the office of the craft architect Reginald Fairlie (whom he possibly met when Fairlie was creating the new lodges at Floors) before moving to the office of Sir Edward Maufe in London.

During the Second World War he rose to Captain in the Royal Engineers, serving among other places in India, where he designed a missionary chapel at Simla. A shy man, he proposed to Deborah Howard, later his wife, by telegram from Suez.

In 1946 he joined the Edinburgh architects Orphoot Whiting and Lindsay, later becoming a partner in Ian G. Lindsay & Partners, who were specialists in the conservation of big houses, heirs to the tradition of Edwardian craft architecture of Sir Robert Lorimer. But the dissonance between Lindsay's fastidiousness and Scott's impatience - particularly with things contractual - led to the partnership's being dissolved in 1961.

Scott's office in Forres Street remained small, although he appears also to have acted as partner in Lorimer and Matthew, the inherited practice of Sir Robert Lorimer. For three years, he was bizarrely joined as virtual partner by the ex-footballer Ron McKinven, who fed his parrot grapes in the office, and who added barber shops and night-clubs decorated with rubber hoses to the practice's portfolio of country houses. In 1974 Schomberg was joined by Anthony Dixon as partner, who strengthened the practical side of the partnership.

From 1965 Schomberg was retained by the National Trust for Scotland. He had sat on their Architectural and Artistic Advisory Panel since 1953, and gone on to be Adviser on Architecture and Furnishings, Architect and Design Consultant, and finally Consultant for Architecture, Design and Furnishing. His work for the NTS eventually took up three- quarters of his time.

He was repeatedly requested to join their staff, but was unwilling to relinquish his practice. Major trust projects included Culzean, Falkland, the speedy rebuilding of the Queen Anne wing at Crathes in Aberdeenshire after a ferocious fire, and the Georgian House in Charlotte Square.

He designed plain, harled Scots-style information centres at Falkland, Inverewe, Glenfinnan, Killiecrankie (he parodied a Scots song with an ode to the "Lats of Killiecrankie") and an octagonal one at Culloden - after which he remarked that he would like to be remembered as "Octagon Scott". In 1970, he relinquished his part-time post and remained architect only for specific projects thereafter.

Schomberg was a small-scale designer, much more at home with detail and craftwork than the grand conception - as may be inferred from the rather blank and unmodulated facades of Dupplin and Monteviot. From Fairlie he had imbibed a feeling for ironwork, exemplified in stair balusters at Dupplin, and the gates at Pitmedden and Malleny. He made curtains for trust property on his kitchen table, tapestry for the chairs at Leith Hall and at Northfield, his 16th-century villa, and furniture and wallpaper for Monteviot. Absorbed by drawing, which he did brilliantly and speedily, he was also an excellent photographer with an informed eye.

As oblivious to his own appearance as to his commensurately shambolic office, this wiry short-fused architect liked leaping up ladders in preference to the bureaucratic and contractual side of architecture. He eventually retired in 1979.

The National Trust for Scotland is currently seeking an old file in their archives entitled "Odd Odes", consisting of subversive ditties decorated with tiny drawings which indicate how Scott mastered NTS executive meetings. One began:

A tumble-down house with a second-

rate garden

Is just what the trust needs on Mull.

He had a wide circle of friends, who particularly prized a car trip with him for his conversation, vivid humour, and arcane if not outrageous knowledge of aristocratic preferences and peculiarities. A "social" at Northfield might easily end with dancing in the garden. His manner bore as easily with the sorority of the trust's Council as with the Prestonpans miners whom he persuaded to assist him in the rescue of the garden at Northfield.

His drawings and photographs are held at the National Monuments Record of Scotland to intrigue future generations.

Walter Schomberg Hepburn Scott, architect: born 14 September 1910; married Deborah Howard (died 1992; one son, and one son deceased); died Leith 11 February 1998.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment