Brighton College, Brighton

The death of his brother, Samuel King Scott, on 9 June 1865 was a tremendous blow to Sir George Gilbert Scott. He was seven years younger than Scott and after serving his articles with William Stowe at Buckingham, stayed with the Scotts’ at Spring Gardens while he continued his training at a London hospital. It was probably due to the Hull Scotts’ friendship with ‘a highly respected Physician’ in Hull, Dr. William Hulme Bodley, who had moved to Brighton, that Samuel Scott obtained a post as surgeon at the public dispensary there. Maybe there was a deal between the Scott and Bodley families as it was shortly afterwards that Bodley’s son, George Frederick, entered Scott’s office and lodged with the Scotts’ at Avenue Road. But the two families became even closer linked in 1846 when George Frederick’s sister, Georgina Bodley, married Samuel Scott, who eventually bought his way into general practice in Brighton.

Georgina and Samuel had fourteen children, one of whom, Bernard, was the father of Elisabeth Scott (1898-1972), who was the architect of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1928. Samuel was a ‘stout man’, who worked hard ‘early & late – Day & night for eleven months in the year’. Scott first became aware that Samuel was not well in April 1865, when he had what seems to have been a heart attack. He died two months later and was buried in Hove Churchyard near to their sister’s grave. He had provided Scott with contacts in Brighton that would lead to some of his most important works.

In 1848 Scott won a competition for the first buildings of Brighton College which was founded as an Evangelical public school in the previous year. Samuel was a member of the original Committee of the school, which was set up in 1845, and probably persuaded Scott to enter the competition. His attractive design in the ‘Collegiate Gothic of the fourteenth century’ was selected by the school authorities, but lack of funds meant that they could only afford the central structure shorn of much of its architectural interest.

On 27 June 1848 Scott assisted Bishop Gilbert of Chichester, the Patron of the College, in laying the foundation stone and the building was completed by August 1849 at a cost of £6250.

As well as his introduction to Bishop Gilbert, which may have led to the Chichester commission and his work for the College, Scott was to find that his main professional debt to his brother would be for obtaining his introduction to Dr Cotterill, who gained him commissions in South Africa and Scotland.

Scott’s Recollections, III 44, 51-2, 56.
Dictionary of National Biography (G. F. Bodley).
RIBA Biography file.
Jones, M. D. W., Brighton College 1845-1995 (Chichester, Phillimore and Co. Ltd, 1995), pp. 12, 20.
The Builder, VII, p. 185.

Brighton College additions, Brighton

The appearance of the school buildings was enlivened in 1852, when the new Principal, the Reverend Henry Cotterill (1812-1886), provided the funds for Sir George Gilbert Scott to add a large block at the east end containing a house for himself and a boarding house with a large dining hall and a staircase tower on the junction with the earlier building at a cost of £5000.

Jones, M. D. W., Brighton College 1845-1995 (Chichester, Phillimore and Co. Ltd, 1995), pp. 21, 44.

Brighton College Chapel and Hall, Brighton

In 1859 Sir George Gilbert Scott added a small chapel and hall to the west end of the original block at a cost of £3000, providing the school with something like the architectural dignity that he had proposed in his first design. Jackson, a former pupil of the school, later built an enormous brick and terracota pile along the road completely hiding his old master’s work.

Jones, M. D. W., Brighton College 1845-1995 (Chichester, Phillimore and Co. Ltd, 1995), p. 50.
Jackson, Sir T. G., Bt. R. A., Recollections, The Life and Travels of a Victorian Architect (Unicorn Press, London, 2003), p. 15.
Pevsner, N., and Nairn, I., Sussex, Buildings of England (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1973), p. 443.