Summary

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Brief description of site

Muirfield Gate is a two acre Arts and Crafts-style villa and garden created by architect Sydney Mitchell at the turn of the century as his own home. Recent restoration works to both house and garden have included the reinstatement of Mitchell's 'flower corridor', a structure unique in Scotland. Some additional housing has been inserted into the landscape in the mid-20th century.

Brief history of site

The site was designed by architect Sydney Mitchell in the late-19th and early-20th centuries as his own house and garden. Alterations were undertaken to both house and garden in the mid-20th century, including the construction of additional houses in the landscape. Some of the amendments were the work of garden designer Kate Hawkins. Part of the original design has since been restored including the reinstatement of Mitchell's flower corridor which is thought to be unique.

Location information:

Address: Duncur Road, EH31 2EG

Locality: Gullane

Local Authorities:

East Lothian; Aberlady/Gullane/Dirleton

Historical County: East Lothian

OS Landranger Map Sheet Number: 66 Grid Ref: NT489835
Latitude: 56.0416 Longitude: -2.82178

Directions:

Muirfield Gate is located on the northern edge of the village of Gullane, adjacent to Muirfield Golf Course.

Key information:

Form of site: garden

Context or principal building: villa

Site Style : Arts and Crafts

Site first created: 1897 to 1915

Main period of development: Early 20th century

Survival: Extant

Site Size (Hectares): 0.39

Description

The Pleasance and its gardens were designed and constructed by architect Sydney Mitchell for his own use. Although largely completed by 1897 he undertook successive changes to both house and gardens throughout his life, one such addition being the unique flower corridor constructed in 1907. This was demolished in the 1950s when a new garden and driveway were laid out by garden designer Kate Hawkins, the property by now known as Muirfield Gate. In the 1970s the four acre gardens were subdivided and four additional houses constructed. Between 2011 and 2013 the flower corridor was rebuilt and restoration of the core landscape around Muirfield Gate undertaken. 

Further details about Muirfield Gate are available on the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland website:

http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/346333/details/gullane+duncur+road+the+pleasance/

http://orapweb.rcahms.gov.uk/wp/00/WP003807.pdf

REFERENCES

 

1. MAPPED SOURCES

Unless otherwise stated all maps referenced are from the online National Library of Scotland Map Collection

http://maps.nls.uk

Ordnance Survey Second Edition & Later Editions 25 inches to One mile Haddingtonshire Sheet 003.13 Revised 1892, Published 1894

Ordnance Survey Second Edition & Later Editions 25 inches to One mile Haddingtonshire Sheet 003.13 Revised circa 1906, Published 1907

Ordnance Survey Second Edition & Later Editions 25 inches to One mile Haddingtonshire Sheet 003.13 Revised circa 1938, Published 1945

 

2. PRIMARY & DOCUMENTARY SOURCES

National Records of Scotland (formerly National Archives of Scotland):

Sydney Mitchell diary from 1930 GD492/51  

Letters sent by Arthur Mitchell from house 7 August 1899, further letters to Lord Bute, and letters dated 8, 10 August GD 492/117

Will of Sydney Mitchell 1930 p251 SC40/43/16 page 251

Inventory 1930 SC40/40/45 page 548 

Sale of land 1897 RS100 138/58 & 140/115

Piece of land along Duncur Road solely for garden use 1911 RS 100 229/73

Completion of land purchase up to 4 acres including rights to take seaware from the shore 1915 RS100  252/48          

Royal Commission on the ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS):

Plans for ground floor of house DP 081175   25/8/1897, DP 081177   25/8/1897  PA 229/2/46/1    

Image of the doocot on garage roof 4/1970

East Lothian Council Planning Archive: 

Heightening of wall at Muirfield Gate (MG) boundary 162/1967   

Erection of a house at Muirfield Gate – no plans 240/1967   

Alteration to Muifield Gate cottage 43/1968      

Muirfield Green demolition & replacement of greenhouse 47/1975    

Planning permission in principal for 2 houses to be erected 533/1976  

Muirfield Wood  erection of new house 517/1978  & 233/1979  

Lawn Cottage in grounds of Muirfield Wood 97/1983    

Muirfield Gate cottage new conservatory over a swimming pool 602/1985   

Rebuilding and restoration of house and garden walls 11/00129/LBC, 11/00129/P,  12/00084/LBC, 12/00138/P, 12/00692/LBC, 12/00692/P

 

3. HISTORICAL ILLUSTRATIONS & PICTORIAL SOURCES

RCAHMS:

1904 Bedford Lemere images RCAHMS BL 15083, 15082  (SC 680153 & SC 680155)   

1911-12 Country Life images RCAHMS COL 81051-8    (835354-60 & 853334)

RCAHMS Vertical Aerial Photograph Collection: 

TARA RCAHMS OS 62033 0145 1 May 1962

TARA RCAHMS 540/0718 3191 1952

TARA RCAHMS 106G UK 0020 5306 1946

National Library of Scotland: 

Muirfield Golf Club Archive ACC 12739  #51, # 52, #58, Aerofilms aerial (part) circa 1954 with 1 May 1956 on back

Scran www.scran.ak.uk: 

Image of Harold Macmillan at Muirfield Golf Club 2 June 1954 The Scotsman 000-000-060-118R: 050104816,050140818 

Three images of Muirfield Wood House 1980. Private collection

 

4. BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PUBLISHED SOURCES

McWilliam, Colin Lothian Except Edinburgh: The Buildings of Scotland Series 1978 Pevsner Architectural Guides page 230 

Muthesius, H Das Englische Haus 1905

Biography of Sydney Mitchell on RCAHMS website

Taylor, Kristina Muirfield Gate, Duncur Road, Gullane (formerly the Pleasance) History and Significance 2010 Lodged in the John Gray Centre, Haddington.

Principal building:

Villa Created 1897 to 1902 by Sydney Mitchell

2-storey rambling plan Arts and Crafts-style house.

Designation status: Historic Environment Scotland Listed Building Grade Category A Reference Ref:1385

History

Muirfield Gate, formerly The Pleasance, was Sydney Mitchell's own house and garden built into existing woodland and developed in stages between 1897 and 1915, with additions and changes to both the house and garden over this period and accretions of land. Principal views to the north and north-west are to the Forth railway bridge. The flower corridor built in 1907 is unique in garden history and was exotically planted.

In the 1950s the flower corridor and north-east wing were demolished and a garden, with a new driveway to the house, was laid out by Kate Hawkins, a pupil of Brenda Colvin and well-known Scottish designer.

In the 1970s the original grounds of four acres were divided up and four new houses built on the original land holding retaining the nine foot original outer walls along Duncur Road. The Nymphaeum in the south garden was removed and probably the stone recycled in new walling.

Between 2011 and 2013 the new owner re-built the flower corridor (without plants) and north-east wing of the house using Lindsay Buchan architects. A garden restoration designed by Kristina Taylor and Liz Dorrian was completed. Full details of the history of the Muirfield Gate and its garden are contained in ‘Muirfield Gate, Duncur Road, Gullane, Formerly The Pleasance: History and Significance' by Kristina Taylor (2010) in the John Gray Centre, Haddington.

People associated with this site

Architect: Sydney Mitchell (born 01/01/1856 died 13/10/1930)

Features

conservatory

Feature created: 1897 to 1902

Creator: Sydney Mitchell (born 01/01/1856 died 13/10/1930)

A glazed flower corridor probably unique in garden history. Created around 1899 and demolished in the 1950s, it was reinstated in 2013.

Plantings

Garden restoration undertaken

Planted: 2011 to 2013

Design and layout by Sydney Mitchell

Planted: 1897 to 1915

References

Contributor or Recorder Kristina Taylor

Images

  • Muirfield Gate

    Muirfield Gate

  • Muirfield Gate With Restored Flower Corridor

    Muirfield Gate With Restored Flower Corridor

  • Flower Corridor

    Flower Corridor

  • Muirfield Gate Cherry Avenue

    Muirfield Gate Cherry Avenue

  • Muirfield Gate Curved Bench

    Muirfield Gate Curved Bench

  • Muirfield Gate Entrance

    Muirfield Gate Entrance

  • Muirfield Gate Old Planting

    Muirfield Gate Old Planting

  • Muirfield Gate Path

    Muirfield Gate Path

  • Muirfield Gate Iris Bed

    Muirfield Gate Iris Bed

  • Muirfield Gate Fence

    Muirfield Gate Fence