Margaret Thatcher’s secret retreat in the Scottish countryside, ‘Quarter’ near Denny in Stirlingshire, was once the home of legendary Conservative politician Betty Harvie Anderson, MP for Renfrewshire East, who took an up-and-coming female MP under her wing in the 1970s.
There would be hush-hush weekend summits, safe from prying eyes and ears, that resulted in both women being elevated to the highest offices of state – Mrs Thatcher as Britain’s first female prime minister and Mrs Harvie Anderson as the country’s first female deputy Speaker. Now the Georgian mansion and its 63 acres of parkland and woods are on the market for £1.5 million with estate agents Savills.
Owners Pippa and Robin Maclean bought the property 37 years ago from Mrs Harvie Anderson’s nephew.
Mr Maclean, 69, a retired businessman, said: “There are lots of stories we have heard about Mrs Thatcher’s time here.“The word was that Betty Harvie Anderson was one of the few people who could control Mrs T.
“We know what bedroom Maggie slept in and the specific walks she used to take in the grounds.” Secrecy was the order of the day and ‘Quarter’ was the perfect location as it is set in the middle of its own grounds.‘Quarter’ dates from 1776, the year the American Declaration of Independence was made. The listed country house comes with three cottages, one of which has been used as a holiday let.
The house boasts an elegant hall and stairway, drawing room, dining room and six bedrooms. The grounds, which are beautifully maintained, include an orchard and walled garden.There was a tragic ending to the two Tory ladies’ relationship. Mrs Thatcher stormed into Downing Street in 1979, elevating her friend to the House of Lords as Baroness Skrimshire of Quarter.
But within a week of becoming a peer, Betty Harvie Anderson was dead, the result of a sudden asthma attack.