Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811-1878)
The internationally famous Victorian architect George Gilbert Scott called Boston his 'third home'. He married his Boston cousin Caroline Oldrid in St Botolph's in 1838 and from that moment stayed in the town for part of every year. The house that was their Boston home is the large white house at the end of South Street where it joins John Adams Way. Scott was a passionate advocate of the Gothic Revival and thought that the Gothic style was the only suitable style for both secular and ecclesiastical buildings. Author Simon Jenkins has called Scott the 'unsung hero of British architecture'. A very successful English Gothic revival architect, Sir George has over 800 buildings in the United Kingdom which were designed or altered by him, including the Albert Memorial and the Midland Grand Hotel, now the London Renaissance Hotel fronting St Pancras Station.
George Gilbert's architectural connections with Boston were many. In 1837 he designed the Skirbeck Workhouse with a neo-classical façade. Known today as 'Scott House', it can still be seen set back from the Skirbeck Road. From 1845 onwards he undertook the restoration of St Botolph's, transforming the interior. His book, A plea for the faithful restoration of our ancient churches written shortly afterwards may have been inspired by his work at the Stump.
Between 1846 and 1848 Scott designed Holy Trinity Church in Spilsby Road Boston; a wonderful Victorian building that deserves to be better known and includes a complete set of Victorian pews. Between 1869 and 1875 he restored St Nicholas' Skirbeck; the oldest of Boston's churches which has a special numinous interior. Other churches in the area designed by Sir George include the beautiful St Paul's, Fulney, near Spalding and the masterly All Saints, Nocton. Scott's first church, St Nicholas, was built at Lincoln in 1838.
His son, John Oldrid Scott, restored and extended Shodfriars Hall in 1873 and another son, George Gilbert Scott jnr, restored St Leodegar's, Wyberton in 1880. Sir George's grandson, Giles Gilbert Scott continued the architectural dynasty into the next century, with designs ranging from the magnificent Liverpool Anglican Cathedral to the iconic red public telephone box.
Out of favour for many decades, George Gilbert Scott's reputation has in recent years enjoyed a surge in admiration. His work on old buildings was, on the whole, based on scholarly attention to detail, and it is no exaggeration to say that he changed the way in which the country's architecture looked. Boston's collection of buildings by George Gilbert Scott is representative of the range of his work that repays careful study. He died in 1878 and is buried in Westminster Abbey.