Remembrance Day and the Birthday of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott
This week has been filled with history. Today is Remembrance Day and— despite limits from the pandemic— it is still a day brimming with emotion and appreciation for our service members. We spoke in last week’s blog about the impact of the World Wars on our operations here at Watts, which nearly brought the company to collapse. We will speak more in our upcoming blogs about how Watts was saved (here’s a hint: the story involves the Queen!), but in the meantime we want to express our sincerest gratitude for those who sacrificed so much. The company’s struggle through these hardships certainly pales in comparison to that of service members, their families, friends, and the larger community alike.
Along with Remembrance Day, this week also marks the 140th birthday of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the son of our founder George Gilbert Scott (Middle Scott). Giles is known as one of the most renowned architects of the 20th century, and he designed the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral when he was just 22 years old. King Edward VII laid the foundation stone for the cathedral in 1904; and 38 years later, Giles himself placed the final stone at the top of the cathedral tower. Along with the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral— which is the largest in the UK and the fifth largest in the world— Giles also completed the Battersea Power Station, the building that is now the Tate Modern, and the rebuilt Chamber of House of Commons after the original was destroyed in the Blitz.
Left: Sir Giles Gilbert Scott placing the final stone atop the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral tower
Right: Sir Giles Gilbert Scott with Watts founder GF Bodley
Giles is, however, perhaps most known for designing the quintessentially British red phone booths that still dot our streets to this day. Interestingly enough, the curved top for the phone booth was inspired by the curved top of a tomb.
Google also recently honoured Giles by featuring phone booths on their search engine homepage, and you can see Google’s design by clicking here. You can also learn more about Giles and the entire family tree by taking a look at the family's website. Through all of these accomplishments, Giles also managed to find time to steer Watts through the difficult financial period after the war alongside his brother Adrian.
Perhaps more importantly, though, Giles was a beloved member of the Scott family and continues to influence their design efforts to this day. His great-great nephew and niece, Robert and M.S., continue on the legacy as directors of the ecclesiastical Watts & Co and the secular Watts of Westminster, respectively. They recall many fun stories being shared about "Uncle Giles," and they want to extend a very happy birthday in his honour.
On this Remembrance Day of our service members and birthday of dear Uncle Giles, we want to honour those who paved the way for us in the past as history continues on. Do you have any family members you want to honour? Tell us your favourite stories about them by commenting on our Instagram post.
Watts of Westminster is a leading editor of textiles, wallpapers, Tableaux Scéniques, and passementerie since 1874.
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