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Henry Alexander Hepburne Scott


(10th Earl of Polwarth)

1916 - 2005

Businessman and politician. Born in Edinburgh, Scott was brought up in Bridge of Allan and on his family estate at Harden in the Scottish Borders. He was educated at Eton, King's College (Cambridge) and trained as an accountant in Edinburgh. He inherited the Earldom of Polwarth from his grandfather in 1944 (his father having died two years previously) and sat in the House of Lords from 1945. Between 1955 and 1972, he led the Scottish Council for Development and Industry and brought significant investment to Scotland, particularly from the USA. This included new docks at Greenock, expansion of steel capacity at Motherwell, the vehicle plant at Bathgate, Hoover in Cambuslang, Rolls-Royce at Hillington and building the Hillman Imp plant at Linwood. He pioneered innovations such as industrial estates and trade missions. In 1966, he became Governor of the Bank of Scotland. He worked to reorganise the Scottish banking system and brought about merger with the British Linen Bank (1971). He was also Chairman of General Accident and on the board of ICI.

A natural communicator and supporter of the European Union, Scott was appointed Minister of State at the Scottish Office in 1972. He was an effective politician, who delivered on his promises and promoted the benefits of North Sea oil while attempting to shore up declining heavy industries. When the Conservatives lost in 1974, Scott returned to business, joining the boards of Sun Life, Canadian Pacific, Halliburton (USA) and returned to the Bank of Scotland.

Continuing to farm at Harden, Scott remained at the centre of Borders society, serving as Vice Lord-Lieutenant (1975-91). He joined the Royal Company of Archers (1975), was Chancellor of Aberdeen University (1966-86) and Chairman of the Scottish National Orchestra (1975-79), working closely with conductor Sir Alexander Gibson (1926-95). He was awarded honorary degrees by the Universities of Heriot-Watt, St Andrews, Stirling and Aberdeen.

He died in Axminster (England).


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