A commemorative plaque celebrating the life of Robert Stevenson, the famous Scottish lighthouse engineer and the grandfather of ‘Treasure Island’ author Robert Louis Stevenson, has been unveiled by his great, great, great grandson, James Will.
The plaque, which was awarded by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) appears on the external wall of 1-3 Baxter’s Place, Edinburgh, Stevenson’s former family home, which was recently renovated and re-opened last year as a contemporary new hotel, Courtyard by Marriott.
At the unveiling, Mr Will was joined by Mike Bullock, CEO of the Northern Lighthouse Board and the Courtyard’s general manager, Douglas Winfield, who all worked with the hotel’s designer during the building’s refurbishment to ensure that the spirit of Robert Stevenson was retained.
The hotel, along with the Lantern Room restaurant and bar, includes images of Stevenson’s famous Bell Rock Lighthouse, technical drawings and maps that appear in the public areas and in every room. A bust of the engineer sits in the foyer and the hotel’s boardroom is called The Stevenson Room.
Receiving the plaque from HES is an endorsement of their work to maintain the links between the building and the life and work of Robert Stevenson and will encourage visitors to find out more about the man who devoted himself to saving the lives of mariners.
Mike Bullock, Chief Executive of the Northern Lighthouse Board said: “We are delighted and proud to see the unveiling of this plaque at Robert Stevenson’s former home. Stevenson made a huge contribution to the safety of mariners in Scottish and Isle of Man Waters, and it’s only right we continue to remember and celebrate the life of this amazing engineer and recognise the historical significance of Baxter Place.”
James Will added: “Robert and Jean Stevenson brought up five children in this house – three of those children Alan, David and Thomas went on to become famous lighthouse engineers themselves. They were a quite remarkable family and it is very fitting that the new hotel commemorates their contribution to Scottish History and the building’s origins as a family home.”
Courtyard by Marriott is a 240-room, 4 star hotel which opened in December 2016 following the £30m restoration of three derelict townhouses on Baxter’s Place by Edinburgh-based real estate company Chris Stewart Group (CSG). As part of the refurbishment CSG was determined to maintain the building’s heritage within a contemporary context.
Douglas Winfield, General Manager said: “It is fitting to mark our first anniversary with the unveiling of the official commemorative plaque to Robert Stevenson. To be awarded this plaque is something we are all very proud of.
“The blend of heritage and modern is extremely important to us and the history of the building is captured throughout the hotel.”
Martin Ross, Policy and Projects Manager for HES who heads up the Commemorative Plaque Scheme in Scotland, said: “By running this scheme, we are placing a spotlight on the social and human stories behind Scotland’s local and national architecture and the different contributions of those who helped to shape Scotland’s story.”