Spring Gardens (from 1838)
Spring Gardens is now a dingy service backwater between St. James's Park and Trafalgar Square, which since Scott's time has been mutilated by various additions to the Admiralty, and in 1910, the eastward extension of The Mall into Trafalgar Square cut the street into two parts. The street takes its name from the Spring Garden which was formed out of St. James's Park as an extension to the pleasure gardens of Whitehall Palace, in the late sixteenth century. The somewhat romantic sounding name, according to Peter Cunningham, refers to a spring activated contraption which squirted water on the unwary visitor, much to everyone else's amusement!
A map produced in 1746 shows the garden completely built-over, with Spring Gardens as a street following round the backs of the houses facing Charing Cross and a new access point opposite the statue of King Charles I. This famous landmark stands on the site of the last of the Eleanor Crosses and was erected in 1675. Scott repaired the pedestal in 1855-6, and it was reproduced on the title page of various volumes of the Spring Gardens Sketch Book, as a sort of office emblem.
Number 20 was on the east side and was one of the less desirable houses in the street. It was probably built in 1765. It had no basement area, and apparently no means of access to the rear except through the front door. It was a ‘second rate’ house of three stories with an attic and a cellar. Its special architectural features were a fine open-well stair and a huge fan-light over the front door. This was in the form of a petalled oval of delicate leadwork, over which was an elliptical arch carried on two Doric columns either side of the wide doorway. The great fan-light was a most unusual feature and must have flooded the entrance hall with daylight. The house stood until 1929 when it was demolished, along with the Ship Tavern in Whitehall, to make way for the Whitehall Theatre.
When the Scotts’ arrived the area was in physical turmoil. Trafalgar Square was still being laid out, and although the National Gallery was completed in 1838, it was not until 1840 that Barry designed the terrace on the north side of the square and Nelson’s Column was not completed until December 1843. The square was finally opened to the public on 1 May 1844. At the other end of Whitehall, in the midst of the ruins of Westminster Palace, Grissell and Peto were starting work on the great foundations that were to bear Barry's new Houses of Parliament. The completion of this work and the changes which took place during the rest of Scott's lifetime, made the area into very much what it is today.
At first, when Scott rented 20, Spring Gardens
from John Britton, the antiquary, it was the Scotts’ home as well as the office of the partnership, which employed at least one clerk. Perhaps it was because of this potentially awkward situation that soon after they had moved to Spring Gardens, Scott and Moffatt drew up a formal partnership agreement, although they still seem to have been able to carry out work under their individual names. The practice of uniting one's professional offices with one's home was common in those days, and in many ways it was an ideal situation for Scott. He was in the midst of the country's architectural activity, with the Royal Academy now relocated in the newly completed east wing of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, The Institute of British Architects installed in rooms at 16, Lower Grosvenor Street only ten minutes walk away, and the Society of Architects, slightly further away at Lincoln’s Inn Fields. From the point of view of family life, it was also ideal, or so perhaps it seemed at first. Although there was no garden, St. James's Park on the doorstep more than compensated for this deficiency, and across the square was the church of St. Martin's in the Fields, which the Scotts’ started to attend every Sunday.
As their parish church, it was the obvious choice, but architecturally it seems strange that Scott was so happy with this as his place of worship when he clearly saw a strong connection between the act of worship and its setting. St. Martin's is arguably the finest eighteenth century church in Britain, and it is certainly the most influential having been a model for many new churches in Colonial America, particularly with its grand Corinthian entrance portico, surmounted by a steeple which Pevsner calls ‘an excellent piece of design’. It was built between 1722 and 1726 by James Gibbs in a classical style, which owes much to Wren. It is a completely Protestant church, with no proper chancel, galleries on three sides and box pews. Scott's conversion to the need for full chancels came soon after he started worshipping at St. Martin's, and it is extraordinary that at a time when he was adding chancels to other churches, his own devotions were carried out in such a starkly Protestant setting.
Scott successfully ran his office from Spring Gardens taking over various parts of the street throughout his career. After his death his sons took over the practice but by 1885 John’s establishment was so reduced that parts of 31, Spring Gardens were let off to others including a solicitor and two architects. By 1895 John had moved to two doors along Spring Gardens to number 35 but this was demolished in 1902 to make way for an extension to Cocks, Biddulph’s bank, so John then moved to 2 Dean’s Yard. The original bank building faces onto Whitehall and was rebuilt between 1873 and 1874 by Scott’s former assistant, Richard Coad. In 1902 John was commissioned to build a large rear extension on the sites of numbers 33 and 35 Spring Gardens which the bank owned. This is an extraordinary building for John to have designed. It was completely out of scale with his old office building next door and it is in a style which is more like genuine Queen Anne than the ‘barbarities’ of thirty years before. It is very ornate with small pediments over projecting end-bays but for a rear extension, it is extraordinarily elaborate.
After John moved out of number 31 it was taken over by the London County Council’s Public Contract Department and it was eventually demolished in 1929 to provide the back-stage area of the Whitehall Theatre. The site where beautiful godly works were conceived became the dressing rooms of showgirls! When John died in June 1913, his seventh son, Charles Marriot Oldrid Scott, who had joined his father in 1902, succeeded to the practice with Charles Baker King still in attendance. The office moved from Dean’s Yard in about 1934 to Victoria Street and then to Queen Anne’s Gate and finally to Grosvenor Place.
That was the actual end of Scott’s great practice although the name stayed in the public eye with the work of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, George’s fourth son, who came to prominence in 1901 when he won the competition for the Anglican Cathedral at Liverpool. He died in 1960 after a highly successful career. C. M. O. Scott had to live in the shadow of a brilliant cousin while coping with the then much maligned legacy of his grandfather.
Avenue Road, St John’s Wood (1844-56)
With the expanding practice and the increased staff at Spring Gardens, it is not surprising that Caroline, with the boys aged five and two, was finding life increasingly uncomfortable. Scott wrote ‘I fear it was wrong towards my dear wife to subject her to such disturbances particularly as her health, after the birth of my second boy John was very indifferent’ so they moved to 12, Avenue Road, St John's Wood, where in August 1844 ‘a few days after our removal from Spring Gardens’ their third son, Albert Henry was born. If the removal did take place at that time, it would have been between the visit to Calais and the decision to enter the Hamburg competition.
Avenue Road is a long straight tree-lined avenue stretching north from the northern side of Regent's Park to Swiss Cottage. The earliest development took place along the road between 1828 and 1834 on land owned by the Duke of Portland at the southern end. The Scotts' new home was one of the few semi-detached houses in this development, and it was situated on the west side about two hundred yards from the North Gate of the park. It existed until about 1900, when, with its two neighbours to the south, it was demolished and its site enlarged to accommodate the detached house, now numbered 23 Avenue Road, that still stands there. The few original houses still existing indicate that the development consisted of stuccoed Regency villas with low slate roofs and a few Greek ornamental details. Spring Gardens, at two-and-a-half miles from Avenue Road, was an easy ride or walk through Regent's Park and then along Regent Street. Why Scott wanted to move there is not clear. In spite of the present enthusiasm for John Nash's masterpiece of town planning and landscape, Scott would certainly not have acknowledged that this great scheme gave him any enjoyment on his journey to and from work.
Clearly it was not the architecture of St John's Wood or Regents Park which attracted Scott to Avenue Road. It is more likely that the attractions were social and the accessibility to public transport. With a growing reliance on the railways, Scott, at Avenue Road, would have been less than half-an-hour's walk to both the main-line termini at Euston and at Paddington. Also, St John's Wood had an excellent omnibus service ‘that provided genteel transportation to and from both the City and West End, and made the maintenance of a private carriage unnecessary’. The social attraction of St John's Wood was its exclusiveness. No mews or stabling was required and therefore there was not the need for the poorer members of the population who usually tended the horses in inner urban areas. In fact it provided social homogeneity with withdrawn seclusion. A writer in 1850 stated that for the most part its inhabitants were ‘the opulent and industrious professional men and tradesmen of London’. Spring Gardens was an insignificant congested side-street, hemmed in by pubs and offices, with all the noise and smell of the centre of the world's biggest city. The house there was inconvenient and gave Caroline little privacy and very little dignity. Avenue Road could provide all the things that Spring Gardens lacked, including a garden which was most important to Caroline, and was also where Scott could carry out experiments on the concrete foundations for his Hamburg church. Here the Scotts had room to bring up a young family, with accommodation for the necessary nurse, cook, house maid and nurse maid, as well as his young pupil, Bodley.
They stayed there for twelve years. Albert Henry arrived very soon after they moved into the house, Alwynne Gilbert in 1849 and, after a gap of five years, Dukinfield Henry in 1854. But the continual problem ‘has been my dear wifes delicate health’, since John was born in 1842.
The Grove, Hampstead (1856-64)
It was out of consideration for his own family, and perhaps the need to express his new status, that prompted the move from suburbia of St. John’s Wood to Hampstead. By 1856 the Scotts had lived at 12, Avenue Road for twelve years. It was presumably to get away from the increasing urbanisation of St. John's Wood, which Scott complains about, that they decided to move and find somewhere healthier for Caroline. He had already written about the salubrity of the atmosphere of Hampstead, its remarkable scenery and, something that always interested Scott, its geology.
If the geologist makes a section through London from the Menai Straits to those of Dover, he will find that the highest stratum (in the language of his science) is the little cap of sand on Hampstead Heath. If he confines his observations to the tertiary basin of London, he finds this is the central spot from which its whole breadth can be surveyed, from the Surrey Downs on the south to the Chiltern Hills on the north. The lover of fine scenery will see here, within four miles of London, views which would be difficult to surpass within a hundred …
He must have been delighted to discover, soon after he had written the above passage in the Remarks
, that a house on the exact spot that he had described was available. This was The Grove at Hampstead, which has since been renamed Admiral's House. It is a very large rambling old house of some importance, and much more in keeping with the Scotts' status in society. It was built in 1700 by Charles Keys, as a three-storied symmetrical house, with an attic and a basement, overlooking a walled garden on the south side. This was somewhat reduced in the 1790s when a large extension was added to the house.
The house is particularly famous as being the subject of at least four paintings by John Constable, who could see it from an upper window of the house that he rented between 1821 and 1822 in Lower Terrace, just to the west of The Grove. One of these paintings, which he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1832, Constable entitled ‘A Romantic House in Hampstead’. Clearly it was the informal appearance of the house caused by the various appendages, which appealed to Constable, but is difficult to see what architectural appeal, if any, it had for Scott. Although less than a mile away, The Grove was a world away from Avenue Road. Hampstead was, and largely still is, an attractive jumble of streets and houses, set on the side of the hill which leads up to the Heath. In Scott's time it was considerably more haphazard and isolated than it is today. As a countryman by birth, Scott may have had an urge to live close to the rural delights of Hampstead Heath but, because of her ambitious nature, Caroline was probably the real instigator of the move. Her health was the obvious factor, but there could well have been social reasons. A report, made in the late 1890's, found that there was evidence of deterioration to a lower social level in St John's Wood, and that ‘The best families go to Hampstead’ and in 1856, the Scotts were going up in the world.
In spite of the short distance of the move, transport to and from Spring Gardens was much more difficult and would have necessitated keeping a carriage. A Hansom cab could have been hired to take Scott to a main-line station, but it would have cost him, or rather his client, as travelling expenses were extra to his fees, the large sum of five shillings to get to Paddington. The Scott household was also undergoing change. In 1856, John Oldrid was at boarding school at Bradfield, but George Gilbert left Eton at the age of seventeen to become a pupil in his father's office where he stayed for seven years, before going to Cambridge to study moral sciences.
By 1861 the Scotts had five living-in female servants at The Grove. Dukinfield still had a nurse, and there was also a cook, a housemaid, as well as a waiting maid and a parlour-maid. But it was perhaps in their religious practices that the move to Hampstead brought the biggest change to the Scotts. The difficulties of travelling meant that it was now impossible for the family to get to St. Martin's in the Fields, twice every Sunday. So, after eighteen years of regular attendance, the Scotts left their friend Sir Henry Dukinfield, and the grand classical church where all five boys had been baptised. Rather than going down the hill to the Parish Church of St. John, which according to Jackson was ‘mildly high in an old fashioned way’, they changed to nearby Christ Church, where the vicar was Edward Henry Bickerstaff, another member of that formidable low-church family. Christ Church had only just been completed when the Scotts started to attend. It is a dull Gothic-style building, designed by Samuel Whitfield Dawkes (1811-80), but Scott became its consultant architect and, in 1860, contrary to his usual practice, added, rather than removed a gallery.
Although The Grove has splendid views in every direction, it is very exposed and Scott felt that it was ‘too cold for our younger boys’. Alwyne and Dukinfield were only seven and two years old, when they first moved there so consequently Scott rented a house at St. Leonards-on-Sea in Sussex, for Caroline and the two younger boys each winter, ‘which led to the painful break up of our party every year’. When they first started to go to St. Leonards, ‘we had bitter experience of fevers during two succeeding years’. But Caroline seems to have found the sort of social life in St. Leonards, which in artistic Hampstead it was difficult for her to gain acceptance, while Scott and the eldest boys, with their servants in attendance, remained at home to endure the rigours of winters at The Grove. It must have been quite a revelation for him to discover that the house that he thought was so special was, in fact, most unsuitable for his family.
The Manor House, Ham (1864-9, 1872-5)
During the summer of 1864, when Scott first became involved with Tewkesbury, he made a real attempt to be more sensitive towards his family’s feelings. He conceded to Caroline’s dislike of The Grove by starting to look for a new house and after ‘many disappointments & difficulties we found a suitable residence at Ham’. In the autumn of 1864, they were able to move in before ‘the commencement of our Hampstead winters’.
This was the Manor House which Scott rented from the Earl of Dysart, who owned nearby Ham House, one mile south of Richmond in Surrey. The Scott’s new home could hardly be in a more different situation than The Grove. It stands on flat land within a bend of the river Thames and has no distant views. Scott described it, in 1872, as ‘an old Georgian house founded on one of much earlier date It has extensive & beautiful gardens & My dearest wife much enjoyed it’.
It has a much grander appearance than The Grove, as would have befitted Scott’s improved status, although about the same size. The previous occupants were a family of four with six living-in servants and a gardener’s family of six in a separate cottage. There was obviously ample room for the seven Scotts and their five servants and Scott converted the gardener’s cottage into a drawing office so that he could work closer to Caroline.
It is a classic Georgian house in brown and red brick with symmetrical three-storied, five bay front from which the three centre bays project forward under a pediment. A central porch is supported by Doric columns and was connected to a gate on the outside road by a covered way. Scott may have provided this to enable Caroline to have a sheltered route to awaiting carriages but this and the central gate, have now gone and have been replaced by a pair of carriage gates with a drive up to the front door. In the twentieth century, the rear of the house was transformed into a two-storied building with new wings projecting from either side of the old house.
Scott’s own architectural ideas may have been at odds with the philosophy of Georgian architecture but when it came to choosing his own accommodation, he clearly appreciated the simple elegance of the style and its appropriateness for his own purposes. He seems to have tried to ensure that the house would be suitable for his physically impaired wife and certainly Caroline liked the house and its garden. Here she would not have to negotiate the steps and slopes of the Hampstead heights, and here she was to find more congenial companionship. But the quest for a healthier environment for the children was soon to have tragic consequences with the death of his son Albert. The following Christmas vacation Albert:
availed himself of its facilities for boating and nearly every day went on the river with Alwyne for a row in a boat he had hired for the vacation. Alas! how little did we think that this harmless recreation would be the cause of so much grief!
It was on Sunday 22 January 1865, that Albert first complained about feeling stiff but Scott, as usual, seems to have been busy, and knew nothing of his son's condition until the following Wednesday. The next day, ‘alas that it should have so happened!!’
He did not recover and died in the afternoon of Monday 30 January 1865. The house at Ham was never the same for the family and by 1869 were on the move again, albeit temporarily.
The three-year lease on Rooks Nest expired in October 1872 and the sadly depleted Scott family moved back to Ham. He wrote:
I had on my dear wife’s decease at one time thought that My sister in law Helen Oldrid might keep house for me – but My sons thought it would be dull for them & other arrangements were made.
Helen Oldrid was the spinster member of the Oldrid cousins and lived in the family home at South Place Boston, which she had latterly shared with her brother John Oldrid and his wife Euphemia. When John became the vicar of Alford in 1863, she sold the old house at Boston and moved into a cottage opposite the vicarage at Alford. But she must have felt somewhat isolated when John remarried so soon after Euphemia’s death and it may have been a kindly gesture by Scott to suggest that Helen should move in with his family at Ham.
Dukinfield had obtained a place at Christ Church Oxford and with Alwyne still an undergraduate there the boys would only be at Ham during the vacations. The ‘other arrangements’ which Scott implemented as a result of the boys complaints appear to have been that their brother John, with his wife and rapidly growing family, would move in instead, a much more lively arrangement!
Rooks Nest (1869-72)
At the age of fifty-nine, after forty years of unremitting activity, Scott suddenly found that there was a limit to his physical powers. While inspecting the cathedral at Chester on 19 October 1870, he was struck down with a massive heart attack. He was carried across the Abbey Square to the Deanery where he was attended by Dr Dobie of Chester. Caroline soon arrived to nurse him and nine days later Frater, the Clerk of Works, wrote to Irvine saying that ‘Mr. Scott is getting on very nicely’, and that ‘Mr. John is here with him’. But on 11 November, three weeks after the attack, John Oldrid wrote to Irvine saying that his father was ‘extremely weak and totally unfit for any business’. From then on Scott seems to have made good progress, as on 16 November Caroline discussed Scott's travelling clothes with Irvine, and on 25 November he returned home by train. He was seen off from Chester Station by the Marquis of Westminster, who was so shocked at Scott’s appearance that he ‘scarcely expected to see him again’. Caroline and Dr Dobie accompanied him all the way back to the Scotts' new home in Surrey. It reflects Scott’s position in society that William Dobie (1828-1915), a leading physician in Chester, should desert his own patients and accompany him home. The fact that a few days before the journey Scott arranged a loan of £1,500 from his bankers Cocks Biddulph suggests that he wanted to be assured that Dobie would be well rewarded for his efforts.
The Scott’s new home was Rooks Nest, near Godstone, to where they had moved the year before. Writing in March 1872 Scott said that:
After 1869 we fancied that Ham did not suit our Younger boys & tried long to get a nice furnished house else-where: failing vexatiously, at length however we took a gaunt place called Parkhurst high up in Leith Hill While we lingered at home My dear Wife & Dukinfield were simultaneously affected by Scarlet Fever & our stay (when we could so) at Parkhurst was a melancholy & solitary time though in the midst of noble scenery …
Parkhurst is an isolated spot, some six miles south-west of Dorking on the fringe of Abinger Common. It is on the west side of Leith Hill and is hemmed-in by woodland, which in Scott's day was even more extensive than it is today and, no doubt, contributed to the ‘melancholy’ atmosphere.
The Scotts did not return to Ham, but following a visit to Worthing and Brighton, they decided to rent ‘a charming place’ called Rooks Nest for three years. This is a huge mansion on the lower slopes of the North Downs, on the Pilgrims Way and in the parish of Tandridge. Although he says that it was ‘a Elysium to my dearest wife’, Scott would have liked its association with the medieval trackway, and in 1874 he contributed an article entitled ‘The Pilgrims Way, as it passes through the parishes of Godstone and Tandridge’ to the Surrey Archaeological Society’s Collection. More important is Rooks Nest’s proximity to the railway stations at Godstone and Redhill with good services to central London fourteen miles away. But, as a piece of architecture, it was another strange choice for Scott.
Rooks Nest is a fine Regency house designed around 1818 by John Shaw senior, the father of the architect of Wellington College. It has stuccoed elevations with a low slate roof behind a parapet. The main front is seven bays long and two storeys high, with a central portico. It has none of the simple dignity of the Manor House at Ham but it obviously appealed to Caroline's taste for grandeur. Scott was now a person of considerable importance and it was appropriate that he should live in a setting that reflected his status. Although it occupied ‘a good and commanding position’, with excellent views to the south, Rooks Nest falls woefully short of the other criteria that Scott says in the Remarks
would provide a ‘dignity proportioned to the position of its owner’. Its materials are condemned and it particularly lacks height. However, it is set in 170 acres of parkland with a lake and boathouse. Close to the house were several outbuildings including a gasworks and an icehouse, and attached to the house was the stable block and a big conservatory. Particularly useful to both ailing Scotts would have been the wide south-facing terrace across the front of the house which enabled carriages to be driven up to the front door. Inside there is a magnificent entrance hall, seven reception rooms, thirteen bedrooms and nine staff rooms.
On census night, 2 April 1871, Scott, Caroline, Dukinfield and Alwyne, who was on vacation from Oxford, were in residence, along with ten servants, most of who were locals and probably came with the house. But the senior servant, the thirty-seven year old butler, John Pavings, was a native of Bedford and part of the Scott entourage, as probably was the coachman Charles Barnett, from Kingston, who lived with his wife in the coach house. Among the indoor staff was a forty-two year old nurse. She may have been appointed to nurse Scott, but it is just as likely that she was already looking after Caroline before Scott's heart attack. Caroline, who ‘had repeatedly been threatened with heart disease’, had another ‘very alarming attack’ in the spring of 1871, at the same time Scott said that he was ‘sufficiently restored to resume my usual engagements’. His preliminary work at Rochester had been progressing for some time before his collapse at Chester and, at his resumption of work he received his formal commission to restore the cathedral. By April he was able to submit his proposals to the Dean and Chapter but he was never the same man again. On 24 February 1872 Caroline died, ‘snatched away from us during sleep!!!’ Scott was distraught.
Caroline was buried on 29 February 1872 in the churchyard of the parish church, St. Peter's at Tandridge, about one mile from Rooks Nest but visible from the house. The three-year lease on Rooks Nest expired in October 1872 and the sadly depleted Scott family moved back to Ham.
Courtfield House (1875-8)
During the autumn of 1875, perhaps hastened by the Gold Medal affair, Scott was in a depressed mood. He wrote:
I became painfully impressed in the costliness of my mode of living & the falling off of My practice - & as My Son & Daughter in Law did not care for Ham determined to remove to London whether wisely or not God knows!
We did not however move till a year later. I am now a Londoner & have much lost in position May God bless the change! I fear it was not well considered.
It was probably after he stood down as President that Scott bought the lease on two new houses in the area to the west of South Kensington which was being developed at the time. John Oldrid, with his wife and children, and Dukinfield moved in with him. The houses are at the junction of Collingham Road and Courtfield Gardens, then on the newly built Gunter Estate between Gloucester Road and Earl’s Court Stations. Scott lived in the larger of the two houses, Courtfield House, which faces Courtfield Gardens. The estate surveyor was Scott’s friend George Godwin, the editor of The Builder
, who in partnership with his brother Henry, laid out the estate and designed its three Gothic-style churches. One of these, St Jude’s, is opposite Courtfield House. It is a hall church and was completed in 1870. But the great rows of tall terrace houses which make up the bulk of the estate were designed and built by William Jackson, a speculative builder.
Jackson started building on land adjacent to the South Kensington Commissioners’ estate in 1855 and, because of this, the design of his development required the approval of Prince Albert. Inevitably the houses are in an Italianate style echoing Osbourne. Jackson continued building westwards in the same style over the next twenty years and erected the Courtfield Gardens houses in about 1874. The Building News
, perhaps in view of the involvement of its rival’s editor, was scathing about the development. In 1876 it said that it:
May be called the haut ton architecture of the day … There is a meretricious unentertaining character about it that would only suit the humdrum or the wearied follower of fashion, and would be almost agony to the genus irritable of poets and painters.
Scott had possibly met Jackson through Hunt, who had acted for Jackson in 1855, and Jackson may have been relieved to obtain someone of Scott’s wealth and prestige to take one of his largest mansions. Although the area was well served by the Metropolitan District underground railway, with direct connections to the mainline stations, it never became as fashionable as its developers had hoped. As early as 1878, The Estates Gazette
reported that the builders were finding it hard to attract purchasers for their big houses and were subdividing them for multiple occupation. When the Scotts' moved in there were still large tracts of open land to the south and west of Courtfield House waiting to be developed.
Scott had demonstrated the broadness of his taste in his choice of previous homes which all had particular virtues. The Grove has an unrivalled position on Hampstead Heath, The Manor House at Ham is a fine Georgian house and Rooks Nest is a magnificent Regency mansion. Courtfield House was very different to any of these. It was a brand-new, over-blown, double-fronted five storied house on a road junction. Although it has accommodation for a family of ten and ten living-in servants, it has no external space. However, the gardens of St Jude’s could be seen from the windows, which to Scott, a countryman at heart, was his ‘sole remaining joy’. It is hard to understand why Scott decided to move to Courtfield House, although Spring Gardens is only three miles away and the closeness of St Jude’s may also have been a factor. Its first vicar, the Reverend Robert Forrest, was appointed in 1870. He was a great Bible scholar, an outstanding preacher and was awarded a Doctorate in 1877, just the type of incumbent Scott would have felt at home with. St Jude’s was a new church in the old parish of Kensington and the grand mother church of the parish, St Mary Abbots, which Scott was rebuilding at the time, was only ten minutes walk to the north.
Scott’s move to Courtfield House was at the instigation of John Oldrid and his wife. It seems that after the loss of Caroline with her business like approach to his affairs, he increasingly placed John Oldrid in a special position of trust. On 28 November 1876, Scott signed what became his final will in the presence of his assistants, Charles Baker King and William Niven. It was drawn up by his nephew John Henry Scott, who was a solicitor in the City of London, and who seems to have taken the leading part in settling Scott’s affairs after his death. He was one of the executors, along with Scott’s youngest brother Melville and another nephew, Thomas Scott, the Vicar of West Ham. Scott stipulated that his personal effects should be divided between his four surviving sons and that George Gilbert and John Oldrid would have his architectural books and his practice, divided equally between them, and that they should continue his practice in partnership within twelve months of Scott’s decease. If they did not enter into partnership during this period, John Oldrid was to be given the option of taking over Spring Gardens and the practice. The loyal Pavings was awarded £200 for his years of service, the same as each of the three executors, and Dukinfield £3,000. Loans to his brother, William Langston Scott, and to his cousin William Henry Scott, were to be paid off and the residue of his estate was to be divided equally between his four sons. He made elaborate arrangements in case of a dispute between his sons, with an arbitrator to be appointed and, if necessary, an umpire.
Throughout his career Scott had constantly justified his professional decisions by referring to the needs of his wife and family. Now, with Caroline gone, the will shows that he was anxious to ensure that the benefits of his practice would pass to his remaining family. The meagre legacies and the loan from his bank to pay his medical expenses seem to indicate that he was not aware of the full extent of his wealth. In fact he left £120,000. After the loan was paid off the residue would make the four sons into very rich men. The two sons who were his companions at Courtfield House were to gain the most. Dukinfield’s £3,000 was a handsome legacy in 1876 for a young man of twenty-two, while John Oldrid would probably inherit the practice. When Scott drew up his will, John Oldrid was working alongside him at Spring Gardens while George Gilbert had his own office and was producing work very different to that of Scott’s. Scott must have known that a partnership between his two architect sons would not succeed and that John Oldrid would eventually take over the whole practice.
Scott lived another sixteen months at Courtfield House after he made his will, but during these months he was being increasingly attacked for his restoration methods.