Sir James Louis Fitzroy Scott Douglas

James Scott DouglasSir James Louis Fitzroy Scott Douglas, 6th Baronet, nephew of Sir George Brisbane, never resided at Springwood Park, the family home of 5 generations. 

Jamie Scott Douglas came from an important Scottish Border family and his multi-great, grandfather, Sir James Douglas was an Admiral who purchased some land at Bridgend, beside Kelso bridge, and built a wonderful house, Springwood Park, in 1750.

When he died the estate was left to his son George who had a career in the army but later became MP for Roxburgh. In turn George’s son Sir John James Douglas fought in the Peninsular war, married the heiress of Henry Scott of Belford and changed the family name to Scott Douglas. So it went on down the family tree until 1935 when the incumbent, Sir George Scott Douglas died with no issue.

At this the title moved sideways to be inherited by our Ecurie Ecosse driver Sir James Louis Fitzroy Scott Douglas who lived mostly in Wiltshire but occasionally visited Springwood Park. Indeed Jamie recalled a story about his uncle, who was a poet and prolific writer.He banned the cleaning lady from entering his dusty and unkempt study where he had a grand piano. One day there was a sound of tearing timber and the grand piano fell through the floor thanks to woodworm!

Jamie Scott Douglas was a bit of a playboy but he was a competent racing driver and had dabbled in a little racing with an MG, and on one occasion with an Alfa Romeo, mainly at Castle Combe, his local circuit. He also suffered from a congenital medical condition which made it difficult for him to keep his weight in check. Despite this, however, he had a happy season at Ecurie Ecosse with his Jaguar XK120 and recorded a number of good places for the team. For example in the British Empire Trophy race of 1952 he finished second to Ian Stewart in the over 3 litre sports car class then a month or so later finished 3rd overall at Reims in France behind Stirling Moss’ C-type Jaguar and Guy Mairesse’s Talbot.

Scott Douglas led a somewhat hedonistic life and when Ian Stewart bought a C type Jaguar in 1962 and David Murray persuaded Bob Sanderson and Bob Stewart to buy C type Jaguars for their sons Ninian and Jimmy, Jamie decided that what he needed was a C type. Trouble was that all the UK orders had been taken up. So, using his influence with the French distributors Delacroix in Paris, he was able to buy an “export” one, XKC 046 and was ready for the 1953 season.

He had a few results with the car but it was becoming clear that he was getting through his inheritance too quickly. It appears that he decided to go to Argentina and farm but to his absolute delight another relative died leaving him a second fortune with which he decided to continue his usual life style. By now he had somewhat tired of motor racing, sold his C-type Jaguar to Berwyn Baxter and retired from racing for good.

If anything, Jamie pushed his spending up a notch or two by buying an ex-Royal Navy destroyer kitted out as a luxury yacht that he kept moored in Monaco. Indeed my last meeting with him took place in Modena, of all places. I had been visiting the Ferrari factory and there was a beautiful metallic brown Europa being serviced. I was told it was owned by Sir James Scott Douglas and that he was living in the Palace hotel. I called in to the hotel and was welcomed with open arms. One got the feeling he was a very lonely person. However, he had not lost any of his madcap enthusiasm. He told an amazing story of how he had been told that he could make a lot of money if he bought some guns and smuggled them into Algeria on his boat – the Algerian war was on at the time. He explained he had done this but when he arrived in Algiers he couldn’t find anyone who wanted to buy them. Realising he could not return to France with them he ditched them over the side of the boat into the Mediterranean!

It was no surprise, therefore, when he returned to Britain a few years later with no yacht, no money and a job selling advertising space for the Daily Express. He used to come to Edinburgh as a judge at the Ecurie Ecosse Association Concours d’Elegance but he was not a well man and his weight was becoming a serious problem. It was no surprise, then, when he died of a heart attack leaving various debts. Sir James Scott Douglas was one of the most colourful of all the Ecurie Ecosse drivers, was great company and certainly enjoyed life and wealth whilst it lasted.

The mausoleum where the Douglas family lie still stands but is sealed and sadly dilapidated.

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