South Scotland

Architect Walter Newall's Dumfries and Galloway legacy examined

Moat Brae Image copyright Graeme Robertson
Image caption The talk is being held at Moat Brae in Dumfries which was designed by Newall

The legacy of an eminent south of Scotland architect is being examined in a historic mansion he designed.

Walter Newall's work during the 19th century can still be seen across Dumfries and Galloway.

Photographer Margeret Elliot is giving a talk on the architect's life and times at Moat Brae in Dumfries which was designed by Newall in 1823.

Moat Brae is believed to have helped inspire Peter Pan author JM Barrie who lived in the town.

Work is currently ongoing at Moat Brae to turn it into a national centre for children's literature.

Ms Elliot has embarked on a project to document all the existing buildings in the region which Walter Newall was involved with.

Who was Walter Newall?

Image copyright Dumfries Museum

Walter Newall was born at Doubledyke, New Abbey, on 3 April 1780. He was the son of a farmer.

He began his career as a cabinet-maker but that business later failed and he began to practise as an architect.

There is no information to suggest what kind of formal training he had but his buildings show that he had a knowledge of contemporary thinking in the Greek Revival and the Picturesque Gothic styles.

He tackled a varied range of work including churches, country houses, villas and farmsteads, many of which were on Buccleuch estates. He was also responsible for the development in and around George Street - the New Town of Dumfries - and the conversion of a windmill in Maxwelltown into an observatory which became one of the town's landmarks.

He never married and died at Craigend, New Abbey, on Christmas Day 1863. He is buried in St Michael's Churchyard, Dumfries.

Source: Dictionary of Scottish Architects

Ms Elliot said: "I have lived in Dumfries all my life and now realise that very few people look up and take note of the beauty in these buildings when entering and leaving them, even me until now.

"This project has opened my eyes and I now recognise a Walter Newall style.

"The history that comes with the buildings makes them even more intriguing, as are the people I have met who share their love of the buildings and allow access to them."

Her talk is at Moat Brae, Dumfries on Thursday 25 August at 18:30.

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