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29 Sep 2017

Beatrice Sharp of Hill of Tarvit

Beatrice Sharp of Hill of Tarvit
The early life of Beatrice Sharp sheds some light on why Robert Lorimer was tasked to turn an old house into a modern mansion.

Beatrice White was born on 29 February 1864 at Castle Huntly, around 7 miles west of Dundee. She was the fifth child of eight – two boys and six girls. Around 1880, her father bought Balruddery House (demolished in 1964), 2 miles to the north. The family moved in the following year, after extensive renovations. Beatrice’s brother Martin had installed electricity using hydropower from a dam on the estate, and the house had a new oil-fired dynamo. This was one of the first houses in Scotland to have full electric lighting.

Beatrice White

Beatrice White, aged about six Copyright: H S Cockrell and S G S Wenley

Balruddery House

Balruddery House, Beatrice White’s family home, c1881 Copyright: H S Cockrell and S G S Wenley

Beatrice lived at Balruddery until she married Frederick Sharp, a wealthy jute manufacturer, in 1895. She was 32 and a well-travelled woman of independent means, presumably used to thinking for herself. Having lived surrounded by state-of-the-art technology, she would have been well placed to work with her husband in designing their new home.

They bought the estate of Wemyss Hall in 1904 and asked Robert Lorimer to remodel the 17th-century mansion. The result was a light-filled, modern home – the mansion house of Hill of Tarvit – which included the latest hot water plumbing, electricity and an internal telephone system.

Beatrice Sharp with her son Hugh

Beatrice Sharp with her son Hugh, at Hill of Tarvit in 1907 (a year after the house was completed) Copyright: H S Cockrell and S G S Wenley

Beatrice Sharp

Beatrice (reclining front centre) at a tennis party at Balmuir with the Sharp and Ogilvie families. Hill of Tarvit was designed as a pleasure ground for family and friends, who enjoyed sports like golf, tennis, croquet and riding. Copyright: H S Cockrell and S G S Wenley

Hill of Tarvit Servery Hill of Tarvit Servery – note the three taps, providing hot, cold and rain water. The telephone was added to communicate with the main bedroom and installed 15 years before the National Grid was established in the 1920s.

Copyright: National Trust for Scotland


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