Anthony Scott

Source: Dictionary of Irish Architects, 1720-1940

Architect, of Navan, Drogheda and Dublin. Anthony Scott was born in Easkey, Co. Sligo probably circa 1844.(1)  He attended the Royal Dublin Society's School of Art, winning at least one silver medal and gaining a Second Grade Certificate of the Science and Art Department in freehand drawing, practical geometry, linear perspective and model drawing on 6 May 1870.(2)

According to his obituary in the Irish Builder, he 'subsequently had a wide and varied experience of building work in all its branches in many parts of Ireland' before entering the service of the Board of Works; however it seems more probable that such experience would have been gained in the Board's service.

After THOMAS NEWENHAM DEANE had been appointed the Board's Superintendent of National Monuments in 1875, Scott became his clerk of works, thus acquiring a practical knowledge of ancient Irish architecture.

According to Byrne Costigan, he was the first person to 'cap' an Irish round tower.(3)  He described the excavations at the round tower of Kilmacduagh in a letter to the Irish Builder of 28 December 1878.(4)  By the end of 1888 he had established a private practice at Navan, Co. Meath,(5) and in 1892 or 1893 he purchased the practice of PATRICK JOSEPH DODD  of Drogheda, where he opened a second office with his eldest son WILLIAM ALPHONSUS SCOTT  under the name of ANTHONY SCOTT & SON.(6)

The Navan office appears to have have been given up at some point before 1902, when Scott transferred the practice from Drogheda to Dublin.  A notice in the Irish Builder in December 1902 announcing the move,(7) names the firm as 'Anthony Scott & Sons', which, if correct, suggests that ANTHONY COLMAN SCOTT was by then also working with his father.  In fact William Scott, who had been in London for three years, remained in his father's office only very briefly after his return,(8) so that the name of the practice reverted again to Anthony Scott & Son.

Scott's busy practice was largely devoted to work for the Catholic church and to improved housing schemes.  According to his obituary in the Irish Builder, he 'probably designed and superintended the building of far more houses for the working classes than any other architect in Ireland'.  He was architect for a labourers' cottage scheme for South Dublin Rural District Council in 1900.(8)

In 1906 he was elected architect and engineer to Balrothery RDC at a salary of £100 per annum(9) and thus became responsible for the £35,550 housing scheme initiated in the autumn of that year.(10)  He was reappointed to the post for a further five years in 1911.(11)  He was also architect for labourers' housing in Dunshaughlin(12) and Navan Rural Districts and worked for the local authorities in Kells and Drogheda.(13)  As a member of Pembroke Urban District Council he was active in promoting improved housing schemes in the area for which it was responsible.  He was also a member of the council of the Dublin Town Tenants' Association.  In 1905 he succeeded Deane as architect to Board of Governors of Sligo and Leitrim Asylum.(14)

His obituarist in the Irish Builder cites Scott's 'extraordinary love of work' as one of his main characteristics.  He was also active on behalf of his profession.  He was an early member of the Society of Architects and in 1901 was appointed the Society's Honorary Secretary for Ireland.(15)

'It was an illustration of his wonderful vitality and energy that…even when fairly advanced in years, he seldom or never missed a Council meeting, travelling regularly every month, year after year, to London, often in the depth of severe winter weather, in time snatched from the over-work of an exceptionally busy practice.  Many a time he journeyed all night to London, attended the Council meeting, returned to Ireland, travelling all the following night, and resumed work as usual in his office, or immediately undertook a long and fatiguing journey to some remote part of the country to inspect work in progress.'

He was also a founder member of the Architectural Association of Ireland when it was revived in 1896.  In 1899 Scott, RUDOLF MAXIMILIAN BUTLER and Herbert Curtis bought the Irish Builder from the editor and proprietor, Peter Roe, hoping to develop it into 'a modern technical journal, fully representative of the interests of the architectural and engineering professions and the building trade in Ireland'; however the three men sold their interest to J.T. Rae the following year.(16)

Ethna Byrne Costigan remembered her grandfather - a widower by the time she knew him - as an austere and rather distant figure, who corrected his grandchildren's grammar and pronunciation and sometimes told them stories from Irish history.  'Never a jolly, joking sort of man, it seemed to me that he wore solitude like a cloak, that his face was shuttered and remote, though the shutters could fly open, the eyes flash, the rare smile gleam.'(17)  She once peeped into his bedroom 'and saw his prie-dieu, shelf of holy books, several stautes such as you saw in church, a large crucifix , and a stuffed squirrel in a glass case'.(18)  Her mother much later confided in her that she thought he had brought up his sons too strictly.  He was a frequent visitor to Rome, where a connection of his wife's owned and ran the Pensione Hayden in the Piazza Poli, assisted by one of his daughters.(19)

Nationalist in his sympathies, he does not appear to have been actively involved in politics, although he is recorded as designing the platforms for the Home Rule demonstration of the spring of 1912.(20)

Scott died on 17 February 1919, aged seventy-four,(21) not long after he had gone to live in Rathgar with his eldest daughter, May, who was married to his former pupil THOMAS JOSEPH BYRNE.  He left an estate of £5,879, which included six houses in Navan, his house in Dartmouth Square, and property in Donnybrook.(22)  He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery with his wife, Catherine Mary, née Hayes (c.1850-1904).(23)  He was survived by four sons and four daughters.  His practice appears to have come to an end with his death.  Besides his sons William and Anthony Scott, and his future sons-in-law T.J. Byrne and ARTHUR EDWARD WILLIAMS, Scott's pupils and assistants included THOMAS WALSH.
AAI: founder member of revived association, 1896; arranges first annual excursion, 1897; delivers lecture on Mellifont Abbey, 1898;(24) delivers lecture on 'Round Towers of Ireland', 21 November 1899.(25)
Society of Architects: member by 1896;(26) appointed honorary corresponding secretary for Ireland, 1901;(27) speaks at meeting, 19 May 1905;(28) re-elected member of council, 1911.(29) RSAI: elected member, 16 July 1894, having been proposed by ROBERT COCHRANE  ;(30) elected fellow, 2 May 1911.(31)

Addresses: Work: Navan, Co. Meath, 1888;(32)  Ludlow Street, Navan, 1890;(33) 16 William Street, Drogheda, 1894(34)-1902;(35)34 Sackville Street Lower, 1902-1908;(36) 49 Sackville St Upr, 1908(37) until death.
Home:(38) Paradise House, Drogheda;(39) 55 Leeson Street Upper, 1907; 50 Dartmouth Square, 1915; 1 Victoria Terrace, Rathgar, 1918 until death.

All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from the obituary of Scott in IB 61, 26 Feb 1919, 95 (reproduced inJournal of the Society of Architects, see IB 61, 22 Mar 1919, 140, and summarized in Building News 116, 26 Feb 1919, 133). A delightful account of the family life of the Scotts and Byrnes during her childhood is given by Anthony Scott's granddaughter Ethna Byrne Costigan [Ethna Bee Cee] in Ethna Mary Twice (1989).
Photographs of Scott appear in IB 43, 30 Jan 1901, 606 andIB 53, 15 Apr 1911, 231; he appears in family snapshots in Byrne Costigan, op. cit., 80,94. Three portrait photographs of Scott as an elderly man and a postcard showing him standing beside the Fontenoy memorial are in IAA (Acc. 87/110, filed under Personal Miscellanea).
(1) In his return for the 1911 Census, which was taken on 2 Apr 1911, Scott gives his age as 67, indicating a birth year of 1843 or 1844; however both his memorial in Glasnevin Cemetery and his obituary in the Irish Builder state that he was 74 at the time of his death on 17 Feb 1919,indicating a birth year of 1845 or 1846, while Byrne Costigan gives his date of birth as 1847.
(2) According to Byrne Costigan, loc. cit., he won four medals; curiously he is not listed among the Dublin Society's students and award winners. His certificate is in IAA, Acc. 87/121.
(3) Byrne Costigan, loc. cit.
(4) IB 21, 1 Juan 1879, 14.
(5) See IB 31, 1 Jan 1889, 15.
(6) See IB 36, 15 Feb 1894, 47.
(7) IB 44, 18 Dec 1902, 1515.
(8) According to Paul Larmour, '"The Drunken Man of Genius": William A. Scott (1871-1921)', Irish Architectural Review 3 (2001), 31, William Scott returned to Ireland in June 1902 'following an offer of partnership in his father's office'.
(8)   Irish Times, 21 Dec 1899;   IB 42, 1 Feb,1,15 Mar,15 Aug,1 Sep 1900, 261,293,309,452,467; photographs of his houses are in IB 52, 20 Aug 1910.
(9) IB 48, 10 Feb 1906, 120; Building News 90, 23 Feb 1906, 296.
(10) IB 48, 8 Sep,20 Oct 1906, 730,848; 49, 26 Jan 1907, 60. Further references to labourers' housing in the district are in IB 49, 12 Jan 1907, 5; 50, 22 Feb,2 May,31 Oct,28 Nov 1908, 117,266,653,671,739; 53, 10 Jun 1911, 397; Building News 107, 18 Sep 1914, 365.
(11) Freeman's Journal, 24 Mar 1911;  IB 53, 1 Apr 1911, 221.
(12) IB 49, 12 Jan 1907, 5; 51, 20 Mar 1909, 177.
(13) IB 49, 21 Sep 1907, 646.
(14) IB 47, 2 Dec 1905, 845; in 1904 he had acted as arbitrator in a dispute between the Council of Management and a contractor, John Clarence, see IB 46, 12 Mar 1904, 138.
(15) IB 43, 16 Jan,24 Apr 1901, 597,702.
(16) IB Jubilee Number (1909), 6.
(17) Byrne Costigan, p.77.
(18) Byrne Costigan, p. 49.
(19) One of these visits is noted in IB 49, 16 Nov 1907, 805.  He designed a chilice with Irish motifs which was presented to Pius X on the occasion of his episcopal jubilee (Freeman's Journal, 5 Feb 1910).
(20) IB 54, 13 Apr 1912, 216.
(21) See note 1, above.
(21) IB 62, 3 Jan 1920, 16.
(23) The burial of this 'kindly and highly respected lady'is reported in IB 46, 30 Jan 1904, 46.
(24) IB 40, 1 Feb 1898, 20.
(25) IB 41, 1 Dec 1899, 201.
(26) Directory of British Architects 1834-1900 (RIBA, 1993), 809.
(27) IB 43, 16 Jan,24 Apr 1901, 597,702.
(28) IB 47, 3 Jun 1905, 365.
(29) IB 53, 11 Nov 1911, 741.
(30) JRSAI 24 (1894), 278.
(31) JRSAI 41 (1911), 197.
(32) IB 31, 1 Jan 1889, 15.
(33) Irish Times, 27 Dec 1890.
(34) See note 30, above.
(35) IB 44, 27 Feb 1902, 1060.
(36) IB 50, 7 Mar 1908, 133.
(37) IB 50, 22 Aug 1908, 528.
(38) From Thom's and Post Office directories unless otherwise attributed.
(39) Byrne Costigan, 200.