Basic Biographical Details

Name: Scott Morton & Co (later Scott Morton & Tynecastle Co Ltd; finally Scott Morton Ltd)
Born: 1872
Bio Notes: The company of William Scott Morton, initially called Morton & Co became Scott Morton & Co in the 1880s.

William Scott Morton was born at Carluke on 16 March 1840, the son of William Morton and his wife Anne Scott. His father was a wheelwright and joiner who also undertook cabinet and violin making and painted pictures in the back-shop.

About 1854 Scott Morton was articled to James Smith in Glasgow and took classes at the Government School of Design. In Smith's office he worked with William Leiper and John Moyr Smith on the interior work of Overtoun House at Dumbarton, and in 1857 William Forrest Salmon, son of the Glasgow architect James Salmon, joined Smith's practice as an apprentice. All four were to remain lifelong friends, Leiper Morton and Salmon being particularly close.

In or about 1859 William and Ann Morton moved from Carluke to London taking their family with them. From the age of nineteen William Scott Morton was successful in selling designs to carpet and lace manufacturers and within a few years he somehow obtained an entrée to Royal Academy circles, being employed by William Powell Frith to draw out the architecture in 'The Railway Station' 'The Marriage of the Prince of Wales' and other pictures from 1861 onwards. Similar work came his way from Sir Edwin Landseer and John Phillip. Thereafter he found employment with the interior decorating and furnishing house of Johnstone, Jeans & Co. in New Bond Street, and by 1867 he had prospered sufficiently to marry Eliza Alexander, daughter of Hugh Alexander of Arrat Mill, Brechin, and move back to Scotland. Eliza was then a schoolteacher in Berwick and it is not known how they came to meet. William Forrest Salmon, who had been an assistant in the office of George Gilbert Scott in London in the mid -1860s was to marry his Jessie sister in 1872.

In 1870 Scott Morton and his younger brother John, born 1842, and a mechanical engineer, set up their own business. By 1871 or early 1872 they had settled at Dalry House, William practising as architect and designer and John in charge of the workshops of the cabinet-making, wall-paper manufacturing and interior design business of Morton & Co. In 1877 Dalry House was bought for conversion to a school and the business was moved to Tynecastle with a city centre office at 34 St Andrew Square by 1878 or early 1879. No new buildings are known from these years, much of the business being designs for carpets for Templetons of Glasgow, grates and fire-irons for the Falkirk Iron Company and other ironfounders, and stained glass, tiles and ceiling design for Shrigley & Hunt of Lancaster.

By 1881 Scott Morton had ceased to practice architecture as such. In July of that year he became the Scottish agent of Shrigley & Hunt, and late in that year and early in 1882 he undertook a short study tour of Italy where he became impressed by Spanish and Italian leather hangings. By chance an elderly London leatherworker had turned up at Tynecastle seeking employment. After much experiment, in 1882 Morton & Co patented Tynecastle Canvas or Tynecastle tapestry, an embossed leather-like material compound of canvas and paste which could be both given the appearance of age and tinted and gilded. This had first been used at 12 Park Circus, Glasgow, in a major scheme of redecoration and enlargement carried out for Alexander Stephen and at the library at Chelsea House, Cadogan Square, London in 1874-78, where there had been insufficient old leather to complete the planned scheme of decoration. Its success at the latter resulted in a huge order for Young's Glasgow City Chambers and another for the redecoration of the picture galleries at Grosvenor House for the Duke of Westminster. To meet the demand for this material and for the embossed canvas plaster friezes patented in 1885, John and James Templeton became partners in a new company, The Tynecastle Company, for which the four storey Albert Works at Tynecastle was built to Scott Morton's designs in at least two stages, the premises being shared with the original company, by now called Scott Morton & Co. Structurally it proved less than adequate for his brother John's printing rolling and moulding machinery: Robert Scott Morton recalled that he could remember his grandmother shaking her head over it, regretting that he had not brought in a more experienced architect to build it.

Throughout the 1880s and 1890s demand grew for private houses, steam yachts and railway carriages, particularly for Egyptian, Argentinian and South African railways. Offices and showrooms were opened in London, Manchester and for a short time around 1890, Melbourne, Australia; and in the summer of 1889 Scott Morton's eldest son, William Stewart Morton, born 1868 and then aged twenty-one sailed for New York to explore the possibility of marketing Tynecastle Canvas in the United States. By November of that year he had opened a showroom at West 23rd Street and made contact with the leading interior decorating houses in Detroit, Michigan, Cleveland Ohio and Philadelphia and other cities. Although he successfully exhibited at the Boston Architectural Exhibition in 1890 and business was immediately obtained from Cornelius Vanderbilt and John Sloane, his proposal to manufacture in the United States to overcome the problem of a sharp increase in import duty was not taken up as the Templetons were not prepared to provide the £10,000 of additional capital which would have been required. On 24 December 1890 Stewart Morton sailed for home, having established a network of agents across America and Canada.

On his return, Stewart joined his father and uncle John in the management of the Tynecastle Works, his brother Robert, born 1870, taking charge of the London showrooms. Scott Morton moved to London in 1895, having bought The Cedars in Highgate where the stables were converted into a studio. He remained the lead designer for both companies until his sudden death while on holiday at Newtonmore on 18 April 1903. At that date his Edinburgh residence to which he returned fairly frequently was 14 Merchiston Gardens. Eliza survived him, dying on 11 August 1917.

The businesses were continued by his sons, but Robert died early in 1905. The surviving sons, Stewart who died in 1933 and the much younger Alexander (Alec), born 1877, died 1965, concentrated on the Edinburgh businesses, which operated separately as Scott Morton & Co and Tynecastle Co until 1920 when they appear in Post Office Directories under a single entry of Scott Morton & Tynecastle Co Ltd. Business was severely affected by the 1931 recession at the time of Stewart's death. As Stewart's son, Robert was then a student at Edinburgh College of Art and preferred to practice as an architect, his place as a director was taken by David Ramsay who had been an apprentice in the early years of the century. After the retirement of Alec Morton and of David Ramsay in 1948 the business was continued by the exceptionally able Peter Miller who had been apprenticed to the firm in 1931 at the age of sixteen. The remaining activities of the Tynecastle Company were merged with the parent company in 1958, the firm becoming Scott Morton Ltd, and the continuing decline in demand for high quality work resulted in the firm going into receivership in 1966 when it was taken over by Whytock & Reid.

The firm's records survive but differentiating between commissions for which they made the designs and those executed for others is not always possible. William Scott Morton's own abilities as an architect are best seen at 25 Learmonth Terrace, Edinburgh where he was wholly responsible for the interior work within a shell designed by the Leith architect, James Simpson, in 1893.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this :
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1Tynecastle, Edinburgh, ScotlandBusiness   

Employment and Training

Employees or Pupils

The following individuals were employed or trained by this (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 11William Scott Morton1872 Partner 
Item 2 of 11John Ednie18981903  
Item 3 of 11Thomas Johnston Beveridge1903 Draughtsman 
Item 4 of 11Colin L M (or S M ) Swanson1904 Draughtsman 
Item 5 of 11William Brindle Halley1905 Draughtsman 
Item 6 of 11George Reid19101915Apprentice 
Item 7 of 11Ernest John Weir1 January 1922c. 1927Apprentice 
Item 8 of 11George HayFebruary 19261928Apprentice 
Item 9 of 11Ernest John Weirc. 1927Early 1931Draughtsman 
Item 10 of 11John Innes19301935Draughtsman 
Item 11 of 11William Innes Thomsonc. 1935c. 1938Assistant 

Buildings and Designs

This 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 92 11 Gloucester Place  EdinburghScotlandInterior work - date unknown
Item 2 of 92 AbbotsfordMelrose RoxburghshireScotlandInterior work - date unknown
Item 3 of 92 Ardencaple HouseHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandInterior work instructed by McCulloch, architect - date unknown
Item 4 of 92 Biggar KirkBiggar LanarkshireScotlandInterior work, instructed by James Inch Morrison - date unknown
Item 5 of 92 CleevePerth PerthshireScotlandInterior work - date unknown
Item 6 of 92 Craigentinny House  EdinburghScotlandInterior work, instructed by J McLachlan - date unknown
Item 7 of 92 Cunnoquhie House  FifeScotlandInterior work, instructed by Swanson, architect (of Gleneagles?) - date unknown
Item 8 of 92 Duncow House  DumfriesshireScotlandInterior work, instructed by Swanson - date unknown
Item 9 of 92 Dunlossit IslayArgyllScotlandInterior work - date unknown
Item 10 of 92 Dunsmuir    Interior work, instructed by Johnston, architect - date unknown
Item 11 of 92 F J Gould's house  ParisFranceInterior work - date unknown
Item 12 of 92 Fairway    Interior work - date unknown
Item 13 of 92 Franciscan Church and FriaryHutchesontown GlasgowScotlandInterior work, instructed by architect W C Mangan(?) of Preston - date unknown
Item 14 of 92 GlenmayneGalashiels SelkirkshireScotlandInterior alterations, instructed by Tait of Galashiels - date unknown
Item 15 of 92 Haystoun HousePeebles (near) PeeblesshireScotlandTimber staircase in hall - date unknown
Item 16 of 92 House in Kinnear Road  EdinburghScotlandInterior work, instructed by Kininmonth - date unknown
Item 17 of 92 Inveresk LodgeInveresk MidlothianScotlandInterior work, instructed by Mears - date unknown
Item 18 of 92 Jenners Buildings  EdinburghScotlandInterior work - date unknown
Item 19 of 92 Keavil HouseDunfermline FifeScotlandInterior work, instructed by Ramage - date unknown
Item 20 of 92 Killellan Parish ChurchHouston RenfrewshireScotlandInterior work, instructed by Balfour Paul - date unknown
Item 21 of 92 Kinlochmoidart House and east and west lodge  Inverness-shireScotlandInterior work in hall landing etc
Item 22 of 92 Knockderry Castle and lodge (Knockderry Cottage)Cove DunbartonshireScotlandInterior work - date unknown
Item 23 of 92 Manderston House, including service court and motor houseDuns BerwickshireScotlandInterior woodwork - date unknown
Item 24 of 92 Monksford   ScotlandInterior work, instructed by Ebenezer Simpson - date unknown
Item 25 of 92 Mount Melville HouseSt Andrews FifeScotlandInterior work - date unknown
Item 26 of 92 Moy HallMoy and Dalarossie Inverness-shireScotlandInterior work, instructed by Swanson - date unknown
Item 27 of 92 New Inverawe HouseNew Inverawe, Tirvane ArgyllScotlandInterior work, instructed by Dobie, architect - date unknown
Item 28 of 92 NewlistonKirkliston West LothianScotlandInterior work, instructed by Balfour Paul - date unknown
Item 29 of 92 Newton HouseElgin MorayshireScotlandInterior work, instructed by A Hunter Crawford - date unknown
Item 30 of 92 Norwood  AberdeenScotlandInteriors - date unknown
Item 31 of 92 Rentons, 10-15 Princes Street  EdinburghScotlandInterior work - date unknown
Item 32 of 92 Robertson Memorial Church  EdinburghScotlandInterior work, instructed by H F Kerr - date unknown
Item 33 of 92 Roderick Tweedie's premises   ScotlandInterior work, instructed by J Jerdan - date unknown
Item 34 of 92 St Fillan's ChurchAberdour FifeScotlandFurnishing/interior - date unknown
Item 35 of 92 St Francis of Assisi RC Church  EdinburghScotlandInterior work, instructed by 'Ingram', architect - date unknown
Item 36 of 92 St Michaels and All Angels Episcopal ChurchHelensburgh DunbartonshireScotlandInterior work, instructed by Balfour Paul - date unknown
Item 37 of 92 Whitchester HouseDuns BerwickshireScotlandPerhaps responsible for interiors (B of S attribution) - date unknown
Item 38 of 92c. 188012 Park Terrace  GlasgowScotlandInternal remodelling and extension
Item 39 of 921883Cowdenknowes  BerwickshireScotlandCarried out interior decoration to the designs of Colin Swanson
Item 40 of 921884(?)Mansion House of EriskaLedaig ArgyllScotlandInterior work - date uncertain
Item 41 of 92c. 1889(?)Glasclune HouseNorth Berwick East LothianScotlandInterior work
Item 42 of 921893Learmonth HouseDean EdinburghScotlandInterior decoration
Item 43 of 92c. 1898Greyfriars Church and ConventElgin MorayshireScotlandScreen panels using remains of older screen - designed by David Morton (unclear who this is)
Item 44 of 921900(?)Straiton Parish ChurchStraiton AyrshireScotlandCraftsmanship for porch, belfry, tower and restoration, for John Murdoch and/or John Kinross - attribution by D C Mays
Item 45 of 92c. 1900Gladsmuir Parish ChurchGladsmuir East LothianScotlandWoodwork throughout - instructed by architect 'Ingram'
Item 46 of 92c. 1901(?)Auchentroig HouseDrymen StirlingshireScotlandInterior work, instructed by Ebenezer Simpson - date unknown, but presumably around the time of his own work on the building?
Item 47 of 92190213 Rothesay Terrace  EdinburghScotlandExecution of interior work to the designs of R S Lorimer.
Item 48 of 92c. 1902Rowallan Castle and Rowallan HouseKilmaurs AyrshireScotlandFitting in Library and elsewhere in house
Item 49 of 92After 1903University of Edinburgh, Medical School and McEwan Hall  EdinburghScotlandInterior work on reconstruction of Medical School, instructed by Balfour Paul
Item 50 of 92c. 1903Hallyburton HouseCoupar Angus AngusScotlandWoodwork
Item 51 of 921903 or 1932New North Free Church  EdinburghScotlandInterior work, instructed by A Lorne Campbell
Item 52 of 921904The PeelClovenfords SelkirkshireScotlandInterior woodwork
Item 53 of 921905Braehead HouseSt Boswells RoxburghshireScotlandInterior work
Item 54 of 921905The GlenInnerleithen PeeblesshireScotlandGothic woodwork and carving, for Lorimer's remodelling of interior
Item 55 of 921906Wemyss HallCupar (near) FifeScotlandDid the woodwork in the salon and stairs
Item 56 of 92After 1906FairnalieSelkirk SelkirkshireScotlandInterior alterations, instructed by Alfred Grieg
Item 57 of 92c. 1908Ardtornish House, mansion and clocktowerArdtornish ArgyllScotlandOak panelling in drawing room. Executed by Thomas Beveridge.
Item 58 of 921909Fyndynate HouseAberfeldy PerthshireScotlandWoodwork
Item 59 of 921910(?)Pattishall House  NorthamptonshireEnglandInterior work, instructed by H O Tarbolton - presumably at this date
Item 60 of 921910St Baldred's Episcopal ChurchNorth Berwick East LothianScotlandCarving of woodwork
Item 61 of 92After 19106 Oswald Road  EdinburghScotlandInterior work, instructed by Jamieson & Arnott
Item 62 of 921911St James the Less Episcopal ChurchPenicuik MidlothianScotlandAltar rail
Item 63 of 921914GattonsideMelrose RoxburghshireScotlandInterior decoration for Lorimer's additions
Item 64 of 921914Hawick Savings BankHawick RoxburghshireScotlandInteriors
Item 65 of 92c. 1914MidfieldRosewell MidlothianScotlandWoodwork throughout
Item 66 of 921918Hutton Parish Church and ChurchyardHutton BerwickshireScotlandExecuted communion table and enclosure at east end (designed by Reginald Fairlie)
Item 67 of 92After 1918Donaldson's Hospital, War Memorial  EdinburghScotlandInterior woodwork
Item 68 of 921920Morrison's AcademyCrieff PerthshireScotlandMemorial Hall re-fitted
Item 69 of 921922 or 1936St John's Episcopal ChurchGreenock RenfrewshireScotlandInterior work, instructed by H O Tarbolton
Item 70 of 92Before 1923The Merchant Taylor Company's Hall  LondonEnglandInterior work, instructed by J J Burnet
Item 71 of 921925(?)House at Pinner for W H Dickens EsqPinner MiddlesexEnglandInterior work, instructed by J B Dunn - presumably at these dates
Item 72 of 92After 1925Dupplin CastleForteviot PerthshireScotlandInterior alterations, instructed by Wimperis, Simpson & Guthrie
Item 73 of 92Before 1928The DunesGullane East LothianScotlandInterior work, instructed by J B Dunn - date unknown
Item 74 of 921929(?)Legal and General Assurance Society Ltd, Charlotte Square  EdinburghScotlandInterior work, instructed by J B Dunn, presumably at this date
Item 75 of 921930(?)Commercial Bank of Scotland  GlasgowScotlandInterior woodwork - date uncertain
Item 76 of 921930(?)Villa, 18 Lauder Road  EdinburghScotlandInterior work, instructed by J B Dunn - presumably during his work there in 1930?
Item 77 of 92c. 1930Commercial Bank of ScotlandHawick RoxburghshireScotlandInteriors
Item 78 of 92c. 1930Commercial Bank of Scotland, Glasgow Branch  GlasgowScotlandFurnishings
Item 79 of 92c. 1930(?)Hampton Lovett Church, Westwood Estate vault, Doverdale MemorialDroitwich WorcestershireEnglandInterior work, instructed by J F Matthew - presumably at this date
Item 80 of 921933GreenacresMurrayfield EdinburghScotlandInterior work, instructed by John Donald Mills
Item 81 of 921933(?)Linnwood HallLeven FifeScotlandInterior work, instructed by Matthew - probably during his work here in 1933
Item 82 of 921935Slamannan Parish ChurchSlamannan StirlingshireScotlandExecuted chancel furnishings
Item 83 of 921935St Columba's ChurchBlackhall EdinburghScotlandExecution of furnishings for Waddell & Young
Item 84 of 92c. 1935Peebles Union PoorhousePeebles PeeblesshireScotlandInterior work
Item 85 of 921936St Columba's ChurchBlackhall EdinburghScotlandExecution of chancel screen and panelling for Dick Peddie, Todd & Jamieson
Item 86 of 921937Royal BankKilmarnock AyrshireScotlandJoinery work
Item 87 of 921937St Ninian's Parish ChurchStirling StirlingshireScotlandInterior work, instructed by Simpson, McMichael & Davidson
Item 88 of 921938St John the EvangelistDumfries DumfriesshireScotlandOrgan case to designs by H O Tarbolton
Item 89 of 92Before 1938(?)Cowan House  EdinburghScotlandInterior work, instructed by Balfour Paul - date uncertain
Item 90 of 921943Colmonell ChurchColmonell AyrshireScotlandFont and communion table. (Not as yet clear who were the partners involved).
Item 91 of 921950Alvie Parish ChurchAlvie Inverness-shireScotlandMinister's chair and elders' chairs
Item 92 of 921961Aberlady Parish ChurchAberlady East LothianScotlandCommunion table


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this :
Item 1 of 4Cruft, Kitty, Dunbar, John and Fawcett, Richard2006Borders (The Buildings of Scotland) New Haven and London: Yale University Pressp62
Item 2 of 4Hardie, Elspeth1988William Scott Morton, Artist Craftsman and Decorator Antique Collector, March 1988 
Item 3 of 4Hardie, Elspeth1990Tynecastle Tapestry in the United States Antique Collector, May 1990 
Item 4 of 4RCAHMS2004Creating a Future for the Past: the Scottish Architects' Papers Preservation Project Edinburgh: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotlandp97-100

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this :
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material List of jobs by Scott Morton & Co