William F. Beattie, sculptor of the 1514 Memorial

William Francis Beattie was born in Hawick on the 23rd November, 1888, the only son of Thomas and Annie Kate. Thomas Beattie was an accomplished sculptor whose list of fine work included the ornate decoration incorporated into the Buccleuch Memorial Hall, the Coat of Arms from which was saved and is now built into a wall at the West Port Day Centre. Unable to obtain regular work of this stature locally, the Beattie family moved to Edinburgh where they found a modest home in Haymarket Terrace. One of his Thomas’s most notable commissions there was to create decorative work for the interior of the Usher Hall.

 

William F Beattie

Displaying a natural aptitude for art inherited from his father and grandfather (one of the earliest pioneers of photography in Hawick where he combined the trades of stockingmaker and photographer), William was educated at George Watson’s College before advancing to the Edinburgh College of Art where he later became a member of staff. In his spare time, he played rugby for the Brunstane Rugby Club and was also a member of the Portobello Amateur Rowing Club. In 1910, he joined a Territorial Yeomanry Regiment, the Lothian and Border Horse, as a trooper.

 

Just prior to the start of the Great War, William went into business for himself as a sculptor. News of his prowess reached his old home town of Hawick from where he received a commission to design and sculpt a monument to commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of the skirmish at Hornshole in which a band of young Hawick Callants had routed a troop of English horse and stolen their flag.

 

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