FROM a mere ruin in 1996 the local community and other interested parties raised over £1.2 million to first buy and restore the Estate.
BUILT in 1775, with the farm square to the rear complete by 1790; together they form “Miniature Palladian Classical Groups with Flanking Pavilion Wings” (ref. Buildings of the Land: Scotland’s farms 1750–2000, by Miles Glendinning and Susanna Martins, ed. Piers Dixon; RCAHMS 2008). Surrounding enclosures including the stone walled garden grounds form a regular layout running down to the sea and beach. These include rare orchids and Daffodils on the centre quadrangle. The house and adjacent farm square are designated category A, (Grade 1 England) and the grounds are included on the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland.
ORIGINALLY the house was built for Thomas Mouat, whose father William was Laird of the Garth estate in Shetland. Thomas visited Lothian to gather ideas on contemporary architecture and may have been influenced by Hopetoun House. Among the many original features, dental cornice and Trompe l’Oeil Marble can be easily seen in most of the rooms.
THE staircase is an original spiral design by Thomas Chippendale.
THE early 19th century saw the east wing added to the house (now demolished), but otherwise, it has remained completely unaltered. The Mouat family continued to occupy the house until the mid-20th century. It was then sold and became derelict.
IN 1996 the Trust was established to oversee the restoration of the house. Over the following 15 years works were carried out, largely by local craftsmen, to bring the building back into use. The Trust operated as self-catering accommodation and as a venue for hire until 2021.
THE property was sold in 2022 and is now largely operating as a home by the Wilsons, ancestral Norse Vikings and also hereditary natives of the North Islands who feel that they are “returning home”. The original interiors are described by Historic Scotland as “a particularly remarkable survival.”
BELMONT House has won over 8 prestigious architecture awards which are proudly exhibited in the house.
THE Wilsons have taken advice from the Georgian Group of London and the Georgian Society to replicate as authentically as possible the décor and ambience of the original House. Largely redecorated in a mid-Georgian palette, it is our intention to restore as fully as possible the purist view of a Georgian home. Old photographs have been used to determine the colour and position of the paints, all brushed by hand.
THE house is still under minor refurbishment with the knowledge of the Shetland Islands Council, to repaint the interior in authentic Georgian colours using Distemper Heritage paints from:
ALL profits from Bed and Breakfast accommodation at Belmont House are reinvested for maintenance purposes and to ensure that it is kept for the future benefit of the community.