Monthly Archives: July 2019

Visit to Marchmont House

The July outing of the Society saw members visit Marchmont House near Greenlaw in the Scottish Borders.
The house is one of Scotland’s finest country mansions. It is an imposing Grade A listed Palladian masterpiece built in 1750 by Sir Hugh Hume- Campbell, 3rd Earl of Marchmont.
The last Hume to live at Marchmont was Sir John Hume- Campbell. He sold it in 1913 to Robert Finnie McEwen who commissioned Sir Robert Lorimer to extensively extend the property with a new top floor and a music room with organ.
During the 1980s the house saw life as a Sue Ryder Nursing Home. However, after the closure of the care home the house fell in to disrepair.
Marchmont House was bought in 2005 by the Burge family who already owned surrounding farmland. They have spent considerable time restoring the property and gathering together a collection of fine artworks from across the centuries. Hugo Byrne also has a great interest in rush seated furniture and it is intended to open a workshop to continue the tradition in the near future.
In 2018 Marchmont House was the winner of the Historic Houses Association/Sotheby’s Restoration Award.
Members were escorted on their visit by House Curator, Francis Raemakers.
Following the visit Vice President, Jacquie Bell, thanked him for his interesting talk and the opportunity for members to see such an outstanding collection of artworks. She noted how good it was to see the house, which she had last visited when it belonged to Sue Ryder, as a much loved family home.
During tea and biscuits members were briefly joined by Hugo Burge. Mrs Bell again thanked him for the opportunity to visit.

Outing to Portmore Gardens

Members enjoyed their first outing of the summer with a visit to Portmore Gardens at Eddlestone near Peebles.
Once part of the Blackbarony Estate, Portmore was purchased by the Earl of Portmore in the 18th Century. It was later sold to the Mackenzie family and the house was built by William Forbes Mackenzie in 1850.
The property and gardens were in disrepair when bought by the current owners Mr and Mrs Reid in 1987. Since that time they have lovingly restored them.
Members were guided by Ken Kennedy, the Head Gardener, who has worked at Portmore since the earliest days of the restoration project. They were able to see a wide range of plants and magnificent trees outdoors as well as in a number of glasshouses. One glasshouse has a grotto built for a past owner, Mrs Robertson, to remind her of her home in Italy. Members were able to buy plants before afternoon tea. Mr Kennedy answered a range of questions about the garden and its flora.
Vice President, Jacquie Bell, gave thanks to Mr Kennedy for his informative input to an enjoyable outing.
The Society’s next outing will be to Marchmont House on July 13th.