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,
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.
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
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.
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.