The proprietrix of Beaverbank Villa from 1899 – 1925 was Ann Reid, spinster (born 1853 in England) who died in Beaverbank Villa in February 1927 aged 84. She inherited the house from her father, John Reid, a retired Bootmaker, who was born in Queensferry, and was a previous Lord Provost of Queensferry, from 1884 – 1899.
John died in Beaverbank Villa in November 1899, aged 87. In the 1891 census the address is listed as Back Braes. However in the 1881 census it is named Beaverbank Villa and this is the first time John is listed as living there, although he may have been there before this date, but he does not appear in the 1871 Census..
John’s loyal housekeeper, Mary Kerr, also mentioned in the Census lists from 1881, was given lifetime accommodation in the house, until her death in September 1937 aged 61. The house then came up for sale.
A fountain sits at Rosebery Gardens, dedicated to John Reid.
The Courier reports on the 11th March 1938, that – “it was announced at a special meeting of the Committee of South Queensferry branch of the British Legion on Friday night, that two local gentlemen had jointly purchased clubroom premises for the Branch. The benefactors are Admiral Whitehead of Ashburnham House and Mr Ivor Grove of Inchgarvie House. Both are honorary vice-presidents of the branch.
Admiral Whitehead has been a member and office bearer for some years and has always manifested a keen interest in local affairs. Mr Grove, who joined the Legion this year, took up residence in South Queensferry a few months ago.
The property, known as Beaverbrook Villa and once the residence of the late ex-Provost John Reid is a two story building standing in its own grounds in a central part of the town. There are seven large rooms and slight alterations to the interior structure will render the building ideal for clubroom purposes. Hot and cold water and electricity are laid in and the spacious rooms make the house peculiarly suitable for social gatherings and meetings.”
The headquarters, a large, imposing building, standing in its own grounds, was gifted to the branch by its vice presidents Vice Admiral F Whitehead, Ashburnham, Dalmeny and Captain Shaw Miller, Newgardens, Dalmeny and Mr Ivor Grove, Inchgarvie House, Hopetoun.
Formerly a private residence, the building was acquired by the donors for £660 but a further expenditure of £360 was required.
Declaring the headquarters open, Lady Rosebery said that owing to the tenancy of the previous club-rooms expiring, the branch had been left without a meeting place. When the property known as Beaverbank Villa came into the market, Vice Admiral Whitehead, Captain Miller and Mr Grove had generously acquired it and gifted it to the branch. Lady Rosebery then declared the building open. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Lady Rosebery was cheered to her car”.
The building lay empty for some time, then was used as offices. It was put up for sale in 2016, for offers around £350,000 as a prime residential site. Planning application was submitted in 2016 for the demolition of existing building and erecting five town houses by Plumb Developments limited.
In 2017 this was first granted, then refused in 2018. The outcome was because the findings showed conditions had not been met as the development would have a detrimental impact on education infrastructure and no legal agreement had been signed within six months of the minded to grant date, to secure the required financial contribution to alleviate accommodation pressures in the local catchment area. The developers felt the cost was not viable.
The building continues now as the Beaverbank Business Centre.