Hill of Tarvit mansion was originally built in 1696 by John Wemyss of Unthank possibly using Sir William Bruce as the architect, and was known as Wemyss House. In 1906, Frederick Sharp, a wealthy businessman from Dundee, bought the house and employed Sir Robert Lorrimer, an architect and designer, to completely rebuild and modernise the front two thirds of the house, to create the ‘Hill of Tarvit’ Mansion.
This amazing house was the ultimate of modern in 1906, with electricity throughout the house, central heating and an internal telephone system. To my mind it’s well worth a visit just to see the upstairs bathroom!! The designer, Sir Robert Lorrimer wasn’t very happy with the final design, and in the porcelain bowl of the toilet, his name is stamped backwards just above the water level – ‘Remirrol’. The bath in this room was also ultra modern for 1906, as it included a built in shower. The tap end of the large free standing bath has semi circular walls, which go right up to the shower head, and must be full of pipes and holes that will create jets of water all over the body of the person showering!!
(Unfortunately, I was unable to take any photos of the interior of the house because I’d forgotten my tripod 😦 and no flash photography is allowed – quite understandably because of all the old books, paintings and tapestries inside Tarvit House)
The rest of the Tarvit House is a time capsule of life for a wealthy Edwardian family in Scotland from 1906 – 1948. A complete inventory of all the items in the house was carried out at some point during this time, so the National Trust for Scotland has been able recreate the house exactly as it was over a hundred years ago.
Below is a selection of photos I took of the gardens and the stable complex, which was built to serve Wemyss House in the early 1800s.
The rear of Hill of Tarvit Mansion has been adapted to look like the front of the house, but is in fact part of the original structure built in 1696.
From the back of the house you can walk up into the back lawn, which has a very impressive set of wrought iron gates leading into the woodland and to Tarvit Hill beyond.
Above, and to the north of the Hill of Tarvit Mansion and gardens, lies the Hill of Tarvit itself. It’s possible to walk to the summit from the gardens, but be advised, it’s quite a sharp incline! But the views from the top are stunning, the summit is marked by a cross, which was built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee, in 1897.
For more information on the opening times and entrance fees, see the National Trust for Scotland link below.