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21 Oct 2020

The Hill House: the library

Written by Taylah Egbers, Visitor Services Supervisor, The Hill House
Two bookshelves filled with hardback books. There is a photo of Charles Rennie Mackintosh to the right.
The library at the Hill House
The library at the Hill House was used by Walter Blackie as both a study and a business room.

Walter would often work late into the evening as well as entertaining guests and clients here. The Blackie family owned a successful publishing business, Blackie & Sons, that began in 1809 and finally ceased publishing in 1991.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed the Library as a masculine space, with dark-stained oak shelving, along with coloured glass inlays and embedded organic motifs, reflecting Walter’s interest in science and nature. When it came to implementing these ideas, local joiner and glazier William Jack was paid £92.13.0d in 1902 to complete the library.

A writing desk covered in papers in the library of a house. Bookshelves line the walls and are filled with books.
Walter Blackie’s writing desk, which was donated back to the Hill House in 2019

In this room, we also have the original writing desk that belonged to Walter Blackie. Complementing Mackintosh’s style for the room, this late Victorian oak desk helps to bring the library to life. It was generously donated back to the Hill House in 2019.

Our library is home to over 1,000 books, many of which were published by Blackie & Sons. These books tell all sorts of stories, from daring adventures to practical engineering – and everything in between! We hope that you’ll be inspired by these titles the next time you visit the Hill House.

Side view of bookshelves filled with old hardback books in a room.

See more photos of the library on our instagram page.

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