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Howstrake
Baillie Scott  1865 - 1945

 

The architect Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott was born near Ramsgate, Kent, in 1865.  He arrived in Douglas, newly-wed, in 1889 and it is said that the couple stayed on in the Island because they were not able to face the return sea journey. However, a similar tale is told of the artist William Hoggatt and both may be apocryphal. On his arrival in the Island, Scott attended the School of Art in Douglas and in 1891 he gained an Art Class Teacher's Certificate with first or second places in all subjects. It was whilst at the School that he met Archibald Knox, who was a teacher there, and the stained glass, copper fireplace hoods and iron grates in many of Scott's Manx projects stem from the influence and co-operation of Knox. In 1892 Scott designed a new carved timber pulpit for St. Peter's Church in Onchan. The altar rails of St. Peter's are also to Scott's specifications.

Scott worked at first in Frederick Saunderson's office at 7, Athol Street in Douglas but in 1893 he set up his own practice along the street at number twenty-three where he remained until his own house, The Red House, in Victoria Road, Douglas, was completed later in that year.

On the Howstrake estate Scott designed View Park Mansion, which eventually became The Hotel Majestic, and the Leaside and Braeside villas on the new Onchan Marine Drive, or King Edward Road as it was later named. These villas were described on a Deed Plan of May 1903 as Parkview Villas. Another building by Scott in Howstrake is St. Peter's Church Hall in Royal Avenue, on which he repeated the pagoda-like roof ventilator, although on a larger scale and without the weathercock, which he had used on the Gate Lodge of View Park Mansion.

Other buildings by Scott on the Island include The Red House in Victoria Road,Douglas, designed for his own occupation, Ivydene in Little Switzerland, the tile-hung Oakleigh on Glencrutchery Road, and the Castletown Police Station.

Mr Peter Kelly, architectural historian and enthusiast of Scott's work, has a theory, now generally accepted without question, that the Groudle Glen Hotel was also designed by Scott. At the same time in 1892 that Richard M. Broadbent was having his hotel built in readiness for the coming of the tramway to Groudle, he engaged Scott to design Ivydene, as a dwelling house for him. What would be more natural than to engage the same architect for both projects! In a broadcast by Manx Radio of the programme "Kelly's Eye" in 1992 Mr Kelly is on record as saying "..Now, if one looks at the Groudle Glen, it has a red roof, which no other property in Onchan had at that time. It has corbells on the corners, which you can find on Oakleigh, and it has dormer windows, with a flat top to them, which you find on other Scott properties. It has an overhang and I am strongly convinced that, in fact, the Groudle Hotel was also the work of Baillie Scott..".

Scott continued to work from The Red House until leaving the Isle of Man in 1902. During this period he undertook about 20 commissions for architectural and interior design work within the Island but even whilst living in Douglas a large proportion of his work was in the United Kingdom with a few commissions from Germany. On the Island, many of his buildings were either half-timbered and tile-hung, or roughcast, notable exceptions being View Park Mansion, built in brick dressed with Bath stone, and Castletown Police Station which was in limestone.

Professor J.D. Kornwolf, in his book on Scott, states "...Baillie Scott's houses.....remain the most important works of modern domestic architecture to be seen on the island..", and in Howstrake this view was confirmed in 1990 when Leafield and Braeside became officially registered as buildings of architectural merit.

After his return to England he worked near Bedford until 1914 and from 1919 at Gray's Inn, London. He carried out over three hundred commissions, including some on the continent, in Russia and even as far afield as New Zealand. He died in 1945.