Basic Biographical Details

Name: George Beattie & Son
Designation: Architectural practice
Started: c. 1860
Ended: 1926
Bio Notes: George Beattie was born in 1810, the son of William Beattie, Senior, wood merchant, sawmiller, and building contractor and his wife Helen Hamilton. Together with his brothers William and Adam, he was taken into partnership in the 1830s under the title of William Beattie & Sons, their yard and houses being on Bread Street, Edinburgh. Of the three brothers William was the timber merchant and sawmiller, Adam the builder, and George the architect.

On 11 August 1837 William Beattie Senior died aged fifty-four, William Junior then becoming senior partner. In 1843 a further house was acquired at 5 Lothian Road which became George's home and office from 1844. He was presumably in charge of the drawing office from that time although his first recorded works as an architect were workmen's houses in Leith walk and Pleasance in 1851. By the mid-1850s, the Beattie's were collaborating with the Peddie family in opening up Chalmers Street followed by the development of Lauriston Park and Glen street on their own account, William Beattie having moved to Lauriston Place by about 1850.

By 1862 there was a schism in the partnership which was probably related to the return of George's son, William Hamilton Beattie, on the completion of his articles with David Bryce. George Beattie then formed the separate partnership of George Beattie & Son, initially trading only as builders, with a house at 13 Grove Street and an office at number 17. In 1875 the partnership became architects and builders and in 1867 architect, ordained surveyors and valuators, George having obtained appointment as valuator to the City Improvement Trust. The building side of the partnership was then given up with probably healed any breach there may have been with his brothers.

With William's arrival the architecture became more up-market with the Greek revival 16 Princes Street (1864) and a Venetian Gothic warehouse in West Register Street, both for Cowans, the papermakers. The practice achieved national prominence by winning the competition for the huge City Parish poorhouse in 1867, their scheme being submitted under the pseudonym 'Comfort for the Poor and Care for the Ratepayer'. The assessor was David Bryce, which may have helped them win, but their five pavilion scheme with linking corridors was very up-to-date in terms of segregation and probably had strong appeal for the City's Medical Officer, Sir Henry Littlejohn. Within a few years the architectural practice had moved to the more up-market address of 10 George Street with a branch office at 94 Constitution Street in Leith.

In 1870 Beattie began his career as a hotel architect with the reconstruction of the Royal Hotel on Princes Street where he superseded David MacGibbon. Work went on until 1875: it ended in a lawsuit with the client Don R MacGregor but it made his name and resulted in the commission for the original Central Hotel (1873), the Clarendon (1875) and the giant Morningside Hydropathic (1879).

George Beattie died on 11 June 1872 and was buried in St Cuthbert's churchyard. He was survived by his wife Anne Leitch who lived until 10 February 1898. George's role as a valuator to the City Improvement Trust was taken on by his son William. In 1878 his much younger son George Lennox Beattie (born 1862) joined the firm as an apprentice and took classes at the University. Educated at the Edinburgh Collegiate School and the Government School of Design, he was an ordained surveyor and civil engineer as well as an architect. He became a partner in the family firm in 1890. His interests seem to have been mainly sporting in the earlier part of his career: he 'played football and was engaged in foot racing was for ten years a rugby football referee and for some years a member of the executive committee of the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association.'

Engineering was in fact an important element in the practice's business. In 1883 William Hamilton Beattie and ____ Mann SSC, with John Waddell as chairman and Beattie as engineer promoted a bill for a cable tramway from Hanover Street to Leith via Canonmills, Inverleith Row, Goldenacre, Trinity and Newhaven. The system had been developed by a Scot in San Francisco Andrew Smith Halidie (born Andrew Smith) and introduced to London by E S Eppelsheimer at the Highgate Hill line in London in May 1884. The firm behind the scheme was Dick Kerr who built colliery winding engines and was to provide the equipment. The bill failed but an amended bill with Trinity as its terminus and a separate route from Frederick Street to Comely Bank was duly passed on 7 August 1884. The Beatties supervised the laying of the track and designed the engine house and car shed at Henderson Row, the line eventually being opened for traffic on 28 January 1888.

Valuation and arbitration were also important elements of the Beattie practice. He was chief advisor to the North British Railway on valuations and his evidence at the parliamentary hearing into the Caledonian Underground Railway in Glasgow is said to have defeated the original proposals. He also figured importantly in the Edinburgh North Bridge arbitration and advised on the sites first proposed for the Usher Hall.

In 1893 Charles Jenner entrusted the Beatties with the rebuilding of the Princes Street department store in a mixed German and Bodleian early Renaissance. Jenner died later that year but it was reputedly through the influence of his partner and successor James Kennedy as a director of the North British Railway that Beattie won the limited competition for the North British Station Hotel in 1895, although Beattie was already well known to the Directors as their valuer; the result brought an angry protest from Rowand Anderson. Following the win Beattie made a study tour with the North British Railway's general manager John Connacher and several of the directors, taking in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Budapest; and engaged Andrew Robb Scott (1849|50-1914) as chief assistant to see the project through to completion.

William Hamilton Beattie died at his home, 13 Douglas Crescent, of a cerebral haemorrhage while the hotel was under construction on the evening of 29 November 1898 following a business trip to North Berwick. He was buried in Dean Cemetery. At that date he was a widower, his wife Iona Mary McCaskie (born 16 August 1847) having predeceased him on 30 December 1889. He was survived by an only son at Rugby. His estate was the largest of any Scottish architect at that date at 42,176 17s 3d, with an eke of 1,236 4s 7d in 1910. The completion of the North British and Carlton hotels fell to Scott who then went into partnership with George Lennox Beattie. Scott was Edinburgh-born, educated at the Royal High School and had been articled to David Bryce. In 1874 John Albert Rennison of Paisley took him into partnership. In the following year they won the competition for the George A Clark Town Hall in Paisley but the Clarks increased the budget and appointed William Henry Lyon of Belfast. Although this practice had some success in the later 1870s by 1884 it had run out of work and the partnership was dissolved, Scott becoming a leading draughtsman with Burnet Son and Campbell where he is said to have had a hand in Barony and Shawlands churches. Around 1890 he was based in Westminster. He was premiated in the Victoria (British Columbia) Cathedral Competition of 1892 but did not receive the commission and it was probably lack of business in London which induced him to join Beattie. With William and George, Scott designed most of the east side of North Bridge in a style markedly influenced by Burnet's competition design for the North British, the plans being approved just before William's death. By 1904 Scott's partnership with George had been broken. The Beattie practice does not seem to have undertaken any significant work thereafter, although George Lennox Beattie was elected FRIBA on 3 December 1906, his proposers including Hippolyte Jean Blanc and Alexander Hunter Crawford. By 1916 he withdrew from the practiceto his house at Lauriston. By 1923 he had closed the Edinburgh practice, latterly at 105 Hanover Street, and settled at 7 Edith Grove, Chelsea. Andrew Robb Scott died at Rothesay on 3 May 1914: John Robb Scott, the Southern Railway's in-house architect, was his son.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architectural practice:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 813, Grove Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandPrivate1862c. 1865 
Item 2 of 817, Grove Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness18621872 
Item 3 of 894, Constitution Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness18721875 
Item 4 of 810, George Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness18731876 
Item 5 of 868, George Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness18771894 
Item 6 of 8136, George Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness18951912 
Item 7 of 8105, Hanover Street, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness1913 *1915 
Item 8 of 8Lauriston House/5A, Lauriston Gardens, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness19161923Last entry

* earliest date known from documented sources.


Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this architectural practice (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 15George Beattiec. 18601872Partner 
Item 2 of 15William Hamilton Beattiec. 18601898Partner 
Item 3 of 15John Coulson Nicol18731876AssistantWorked under william Hamilton Beattie
Item 4 of 15John Melvin (junior)Before 1874 Assistant 
Item 5 of 15George Lennox Beattie18781882(?)Apprentice 
Item 6 of 15George Lennox Beattie1882(?)1890Assistant 
Item 7 of 15George Lennox Beattie18901926Partner 
Item 8 of 15James Forbes Smith1891c. 1896Apprentice 
Item 9 of 15David McLeod Craik18941896Assistant 
Item 10 of 15Andrew Robb Scottc. 18951898Chief Assistant 
Item 11 of 15Alexander McRae18961898Assistant 
Item 12 of 15John Sidey18981900Assistant 
Item 13 of 15Andrew Robb Scott18981904Partner 
Item 14 of 15John Sidey19001901Senior Assistant 
Item 15 of 15John Watt19091913Apprentice 

Buildings and Designs

This architectural practice was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 751862Springwood House and lodgePeebles PeeblesshireScotlandAttribution by HS/Neil Brown
Item 2 of 75186416 Princes Street  EdinburghScotland(Buildings of Scotland says this is by W Hamilton Beattie)
Item 3 of 751864Warehouse for Cowan & Co, West Register Street  EdinburghScotlandOriginal building
Item 4 of 751865City PoorhouseCraiglockhart EdinburghScotlandWon competition to secure job (150 premium) - William Hamilton Beattie responsible
Item 5 of 751867Houses, Greenbank Drive, The Steils and Mid Steils  EdinburghScotland 
Item 6 of 751868Villa at DeanDean EdinburghScotland 
Item 7 of 751869Melrose District AsylumMelrose RoxburghshireScotlandCompetition designs
Item 8 of 751870Buildings (new) for Kennington & Jenner  EdinburghScotland 
Item 9 of 751872Edinburgh City Club  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction
Item 10 of 751872Grove Street Mission Church  EdinburghScotland 
Item 11 of 751872Grove Street Mission Church, West Fountainbridge Hall  EdinburghScotland 
Item 12 of 75187338-50 Shandwick Place  EdinburghScotland 
Item 13 of 751873Lanark LodgeDuns BerwickshireScotland 
Item 14 of 751873Tenement block with shops at ground floor  EdinburghScotland 
Item 15 of 751873Tenement block, Canongate, Jeffrey Street and Cranston Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 16 of 751873Tenements and shops, 7, 9, 11 High Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 17 of 75c. 1873Central Hotel  EdinburghScotland 
Item 18 of 751874Tenement, GrassmarketOld Town EdinburghScotland 
Item 19 of 75c. 1874Tenements, 1-5 Argyle Park Terrace  EdinburghScotland 
Item 20 of 751875Castle BreweryOld Town EdinburghScotland 
Item 21 of 751875Clarendon Hotel and Shopping Arcade  EdinburghScotland 
Item 22 of 751875Easter Duddingston House  EdinburghScotland 
Item 23 of 75March 1875Hydropathic InstitutionNorth Berwick East LothianScotlandOriginal building
Item 24 of 751876Albert Buildings  EdinburghScotland 
Item 25 of 751876Royal Hotel and cinema  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction
Item 26 of 751876Young Men's Christian Association  EdinburghScotland 
Item 27 of 75187751 George Street  EdinburghScotlandNew ground floor
Item 28 of 751877Dalry Road SchoolDalry EdinburghScotland 
Item 29 of 751877Houses, West Mayfield DevelopmentWest Mayfield EdinburghScotland 
Item 30 of 751877Warehouse for Cowan & Co, West Register Street  EdinburghScotlandAlterations
Item 31 of 751878Canongate School  EdinburghScotland 
Item 32 of 751879Dowell's Rooms  EdinburghScotland 
Item 33 of 751879Goldenacre tenementsGoldenacre EdinburghScotland 
Item 34 of 751879Morningside Hydropathic HotelMorningside EdinburghScotland 
Item 35 of 751879Plewlands FeuingMorningside EdinburghScotland 
Item 36 of 751880sBlock of tenements, Chamberlain Road to Forbes Road  EdinburghScotland 
Item 37 of 7518808-11 Hillside Crescent  EdinburghScotland 
Item 38 of 75188240-44 Elm Row  EdinburghScotland 
Item 39 of 751885Edinburgh International Exhibition of Industry, Science and Art, 1886  EdinburghScotlandCompetition design - premiated but did not win
Item 40 of 751885Paton's Art Galleries and Central Hotel  EdinburghScotland 
Item 41 of 751885Tenement, Elm Row and Montgomery Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 42 of 751885Turkish BathsLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 43 of 751885Villa, 63 and 63A Colinton Road  EdinburghScotlandDoubled the villa in size
Item 44 of 751886Braid Hills Hotel  EdinburghScotland 
Item 45 of 751886Northern Cable Tramway Engine House and Sheds  EdinburghScotland 
Item 46 of 75c. 1886Hydropathic InstitutionNorth Berwick East LothianScotlandAdditions
Item 47 of 7518872-10 Braid CrescentGreenbank EdinburghScotland 
Item 48 of 751887Grand HotelLerwickMainlandShetlandScotland 
Item 49 of 751888Hall and Shops, Morningside DriveMorningside EdinburghScotland 
Item 50 of 751889Block of tenements, 176-196 Bruntsfield Place  EdinburghScotland 
Item 51 of 751889Houses on south side of Braid Crescent (numbers 36-40)Greenbank EdinburghScotlandUnexecuted proposals
Item 52 of 751889J G Stewart House, BroomieknoweLasswade MidlothianScotland 
Item 53 of 75c. 1890Milton Road East Lodge, gates and scaliger railing  EdinburghScotlandProbably - HS
Item 54 of 751891Houses on south side of Braid Crescent (numbers 36-40)Greenbank EdinburghScotlandSecond set of proposals - only numbers 36-40 executed
Item 55 of 751892Tenement, Dalry RoadDalry EdinburghScotland 
Item 56 of 751893Jenners Buildings  EdinburghScotland 
Item 57 of 751894Nenthorn HouseKelso BerwickshireScotland'Buildings of Scotland' say Beatties responsible
Item 58 of 751895North British Railway Hotel  EdinburghScotlandWon competition to secure job
Item 59 of 751895Tenement, Howard Street  EdinburghScotland 
Item 60 of 7518981-5 Glenisla Gardens  EdinburghScotland 
Item 61 of 751898Carlton Hotel  EdinburghScotland 
Item 62 of 751898Commercial Bank of Scotland, North Bridge Branch  EdinburghScotlandNorthernmost section - see notes
Item 63 of 751898New North Bridge Buildings  EdinburghScotlandBegun by W H Beattie and Scott, completed by G L Beattie and Scott
Item 64 of 751898Royal Insurance Offices  EdinburghScotland 
Item 65 of 75After 1898HotelGullane East LothianScotland 
Item 66 of 75Before 1898Bonded stores, BonningtonLeith EdinburghScotland 
Item 67 of 75Before 1898Waterloo Hotel  EdinburghScotlandReconstruction as offices of railway company
Item 68 of 751900J & G Cox's Glue WorksGorgie EdinburghScotland 
Item 69 of 751902Jenners Buildings  EdinburghScotlandFurther work, northern section of St David Street frontage and corner with Rose Street
Item 70 of 751903Messrs Widnell & Stewart offices and worksBonnyrigg MidlothianScotland 
Item 71 of 751904Garden Colony for the North British RailwayBainsford, Falkirk StirlingshireScotland 
Item 72 of 751904House for Dr JerdanColinton EdinburghScotland 
Item 73 of 751905Block of shops and offices for John W Blackadder, SolicitorGrahamston Station, Falkirk StirlingshireScotland 
Item 74 of 751905John Wight & Co premises  EdinburghScotland 
Item 75 of 751905Villa for Dr JerdanColinton EdinburghScotland 

References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architectural practice:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 2Eddington, A1904Contemporary BiographiesEdinburgh and the LothiansWT Pike and Co., Pike's New Century Series, no. 12p269 (George Lennox Beattie) and p284 (George James Beattie of William Beattie and Sons)
Item 2 of 2Hunter, D L G1992Edinburgh's Transport: The Early Years   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architectural practice:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Scotsman1 December 1898