History of Caldergrove House

1982 Caldergrove House

1982 Caldergrove House

I’ve been recently asked a few times about the large house that used to stand behind Bardykes Farm, across the river, behind modern Callaghan Wynd, most recently by Blantyre project reader Gillian Cunningham. I’ve never posted about this house previously for although it was accessed from Glasgow Road, it was officially in the Parish of Cambuslang. This may come as a surprise to a few people who will remember it prior to the 1980’s and i’m sure many readers will have thought this house to be in Blantyre. I’m using past tense as the house in question is no longer there.

Caldergrove House was a large detached villa in its own grounds by the Rotten Calder River. Situated just over the river in Cambuslang Parish, it was accessed by the private road, leading off Glasgow Road across the Priory Bridge and up into it’s own woodland. The closest buildings to the stone built house was the West End Bar and Bardykes Farm. It was built around 1830 as a private home and impressive it was too , with considerable land around it, sitting high up on the cliff ledge, overlooking the River Calder.

According to the 1859 Valuation Roll it was described as- “A superior and large dwelling house having offices a little last of it,

1859 Caldergrove map

1859 Caldergrove map

and surrounded by young fir plantation. The property of and occupied by Mr J, Mc Culloch.” Around the same time, a map existed of the property and it’s outbuildings, as shown here. You can see just how close it was to Glasgow Road and to Bardykes. The River created the boundary between Blantyre and Cambuslang and with Caldergrove House on the West side, it sat firmly in the Cambuslang side, right on the fringes.

In 1875 a mansard roof and Ionic-style porch were added to give the house a more imposing façade. The interior was elaborately decorated in 1875 and at the height of Victorian fashion, the house was given all modern facilities, including refits of bathrooms, water supplies to inside and architectural adornments that gave the house a “wow factor”.

Some of the Victorian features were photographed and appear near the end of this article.

By the end of the 1890’s, the house would have been a prominent feature in the area. The planted trees had grown to form the beginnings of the woodland we see today. The 1898 map gives us more clues as to what was happening there.

1897 Caldergrove map

1897 Caldergrove map

Ornate gardens feature on the map, a fountain is clearly marked, paths and a large Summer glasshouse are featured, as well as routes created for strolling down by the river. Caldergrove House had evolved into being one of the grandest estate homes in the area. It is unknown at this time what became of the owners, but what is recorded is what happened at the outbreak of WW1.

In more modern times, a cast metal plaque on the exterior of the building inscribed: ‘TO RECORD THE USE OF THIS BUILDING AS AN AUXILIARY HOSPITAL DURING THE GREAT WAR AND THE THANKS OF THE SCOTTISH BRANCH OF THE BRITISH RED CROSS SOCIETY TO THE GENEROUS DONORS APRIL 1919’. It would

1919 Plaque next to door

1919 Plaque next to door

appear that Caldergrove gave over it’s use during the war to be a local hospital. It was a convalescent home for wounded soldiers during those war years.

The requirements and equipment of the hospital were removed when the war ended and the interior was once again decorated in 1919, in a more “modern”, art deco era. It once again became a secluded, private home.

Pictured in the main photo on 12th March 1982 is the house with lamps on cast iron posts flanking the stone steps leading up to the Ionic-columned porch. Above this an advanced bay led the eye up to the mansard roof with its ornate cast iron balustrade, which protected the roof terrace. This fine house had two gate lodges also situated in leafy grounds. It would have been a pleasant retreat for its wealthy 19th and 20th-century owners from the hustle and bustle of Glasgow.

1982 Caldergrove House SE view

1982 Caldergrove House SE view

In the post WW2 years, it was owned for several decades by 2 elderly ladies.  Jenny & Bertha Waddell , daughters of Jeffrey Waddell were spinster sisters who ran a mobile Children’s theatre, known locally in the area. They filled the house with antiques including a a large collection of stuffed tropical birds.

Sadly, the house is no longer there. It’s demise was relatively recent in 1983 when it burned down amidst suspicion, speculation and rumour about missing children!  Rumours circulated soon after when one sister disappeared and the other was found dead, at the top of the cliffside one October morning. The interior of the house was completely gutted by fire, resulting in the entire demolition of the house.

So was just as well as these fine pictures were taken a year earlier in 1982, at least recording and preserving the grandeur of the Victorian and 1920s fittings.

Today, Caldergrove house is still there in name. However, it’s now a modern building on the site, no sign of the old one and is the modern head office of a successful Construction company.

4 Comments

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  1. Dear Paul,

    I emailed you last year when I found your site in my search for information on Caldergrove House, the WW1 Auxilliary Hospital which my father was transferred to from Springburn following his wounding by shellfire in France in August 1917. You kindly replied that you had heard that the nursing standard was very high.

    This year I decided that I would commemorate two events in my father’s service. On both occasions very good friends attended. In April we marked the opening of the Battle of Arras and followed the course of his battery into action on that day, noting that it was still in the field east of Athies when he was wounded four months later. We began with pate, soft cheese, smoked salmon and good wine, ie officers’ fare but dined on Machonachies, unsliced bread and jam, closer to that received by the ordinary soldier.

    Commemorating August 10 and my father’s wounding we met again, this time to follow his evacuation, using a power point and 20 slides from that field in France, westward to le Treport where 3 General Hospital was, to Rouen, Hospital Ship St George to Southampton and then British hospital trains to Glasgow. Incredibly, the internet provided the safe working for staff at the siding as hospital trains came across the main lines to enter Stobhill area and Springburn Woodside Hospital. The presentation ended with two photos from your site; Caldergrove WW1 with staff and patients and Caldergrove house, stark on the hill. From those photos we agreed to meet again next year, for the Armistice.

    As I commented last year your site is absolutely first rate and a wonderful credit to all those who have put in the effort, very often to remember the lives of ordinary folk whose time was so much harder than ours. Australians also died a plenty in colliery disasters, the worst being Mt Kembla in 1901 and the least necessary in Queensland in the 1970’s where basic measures such as stone dusting haulage ways was still not practiced.

    Anyway, thanking you and all others for the excellent detail on Caldergrove from the site and wishing all a very Happy Christmas and peaceful, satisfying 2018.

    Kind regards,

    George Cochrane

  2. Oft, love that staircase photo! I used to go up aswell to Willki’s ferm for hay for my rabbits 🙂

  3. When I have more time, there is much more to be told about Caldergrove and its neighbours and occupants, from the Waddles and Seggies to Jacksons and Lones.

    1. That would be great Sandy. Caldergrove was such a beautiful property and so hidden away. I’d love to meet up with you sometime and chat to you about it and of course Bardykes. I have an old Jacksons will, i’d always meant to copy for you.

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