A History of Eastwood
The first record of Eastwood House dates back to 1831 when it was occupied by a Miss Ogg who was ex-governess to the children of the 4th Duke & Duchess of Atholl who owned the Eastwood Estate. The house then was a modest two bedroom, two storey villa but in 1851 Lord James Murray, the brother of the 6th Duke of Atholl, moved into Eastwood and gradually over a number of years extended and developed both the house and gardens until his death in 1874.
Thereafter, until the early 1930’s, the house, fishing and shooting was rented out by the Duke & Duchess of Atholl and continuously occupied by those who came to Eastwood to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Scottish Highlands made fashionable during this period by Queen Victoria.
During the early 1890’s Eastwood was occupied by Atholl McGregor, a minor Scottish laird, and it was he that sublet the house to Rupert Potter and his family for their annual highland summer holiday in 1893. Beatrix Potter, then 27 years old, spent an incredibly productive few months at Eastwood where she met often with the local naturalist Charles Macintosh and produced some 60 drawings of fungi, many found in the gardens at Eastwood. On consecutive days in early September, sitting in the gardens by the river, Beatrix also penned the famous picture letters that would become The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Tale of Jeremy Fisher. Beatrix’s father Rupert, a keen photographer, took some beautiful pictures of Eastwood, the River Tay and Dunkeld during this holiday. He also captured some of their guests and in a picture titled ‘A Jersey Pair’ he photographed the actress Lillie Langtry with her, and Rupert’s, great friend Sir John Everett Millais sitting in the garden outside the morning room.
By 1917 John Stewart-Murray had inherited the title and became the 8th Duke of Atholl. Both he and his wife Katherine were active in political life, the Duke as the Member of Parliament for West Perthshire from 1910-1917 and the Duchess as the Member for Kinross & West Perthshire between 1923 and 1938. They were close to many of the significant politicians of this era and during the years between 1930 and 1940, when the Duke & Duchess lived at Eastwood, they welcomed both Lloyd George and Stanley Baldwin to the house on many occasions. In the early 1920’s a further wing was added to the house reflecting the growing use of the house for entertaining.
After the 8th Duke’s death in 1942 the Duchess continued to live at Eastwood until the house was put up for sale in the late 1950’s and thereafter became part of Pitlochry Estates.